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Why It’s Hard to Fix Failing Tech Cos.

From time to time, I have a conversation with someone—usually from New York—about how to “fix” a Web-based company that seems to have lost its way. For years these conversations were about Yahoo, or more recently Twitter. I suspect the same conversation will soon be about some faltering private “unicorns.”

My answer uniformly is that they can’t be fixed.

I believe that much of what allows great technology companies to grow incredibly fast and become so valuable also makes them almost impossible to turn around when they falter in any sort of traditional sense. It also makes it extremely hard for the capital markets to strip and recycle their assets, as normally happens when big companies fail.

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