Age. It’s a terrible thing and it can do terrible things to you. Take the case of what is arguably the oldest company in the world. Kongo Gumi is a construction firm that operates out of Osaka in Japan. Certain Buddhist shrines that were constructed in 578 AD were said to have been built by them, and 40 generations passed and still a man with the surname Kongo presided over affairs. It was a very familial affair. When you consider the next four firms by age, they are also Japanese companies. And if you were to believe Yasuchika Hasegawa, chief executive of Takeda Pharmaceuticals (a company that was founded in 1781), 20,000 Japanese companies, maybe more, are at least a century old. That’s a lot of age packed into one corporate environment.
In a world where companies enter and exit [...]