Not a week goes by where there’s not some question of why a big company/author/etc. doesn’t do something innovative and transformative. Usually, it’s Disney, at least as of late, but I’ve been seeing this question for years.
Why doesn’t this big company/important person who could genuinely engineer culture do so for good?
Sure we’ve seen some good, along with a lot of evil from media companies. But they’re in a prime position to change the world for the better, and they don’t! That’s because sometimes being big and powerful is the very thing that keeps you from changing.
Giant organizations depend on many, many things – cash flow, supply chains, media deals, etc. Just keeping something like that running takes a lot of effort, but it also means that such organizations are risk-averse. When your entire giant communications colossus is a huge juggling act, the first thing to do is not drop any balls.
Changing the world means not just risking dropping the balls but throwing them.
Large organizations are also distributed. They’ve got multiple physical footprints, studios, deals, and clients. Distribution of resources is often a key to security and stability but may also make you vulnerable due to various dependencies. It’s hard to change the world when your world is so complex.
Stability can be stagnation.
Finally, imagine if a big media company decided to change the world and engineer a better culture – they’d probably have to work at their own destruction. Large, monolithic organizations with a lot of power controlling culture aren’t good for long-term social and cultural health. If they truly innovated and improved culture, the stockholders, board members, etc. might not go for the results.
Honestly, except for one or two Big Media Companies, we may be doing better than we could be due to constant activism, pushing, and some well-meaning people.
If you wonder what kind of media company landscape I’d want to see, I’d probably say “distributed network.” Many media organizations (sometimes cooperating) and multiple distribution systems (sometimes cooperating) to allow for innovation and opportunity. Such “best-sized” organizations could survive and prosper, but neither could seize control of too much, and the loss of one will see it replaced in time.
Perhaps someday. Until then, don’t let up on them.