On my drive in today I heard a piece on NPR entitled "Corporate Influence Seen Harming Entertainment Industry

Some analysts and producers say the entertainment industry is struggling because of the corporatization of movie and TV studios. The pressure to keep stock prices and revenues up contributes to less risk-taking on the screen.

And I kept thinking how true much of thepiece was about software too.  Which then reminded me of Paul Graham's essay "Made in USA"

[Here is a couple of snippets, but I am so tempted to paste almost all of it here]

... It sounds like making movies works a lot like making software. Every movie is a Frankenstein, full of imperfections and usually quite different from what was originally envisioned. But interesting, and finished fairly quickly.....

... But it's not just that software and movies are malleable mediums. In those businesses, the designers (though they're not generally called that) have more power. Software companies, at least successful ones, tend to be run by programmers. And in the film industry, though producers may second-guess directors, the director controls most of what appears on the screen. And so American software and movies, and Japanese cars, all have this in common: the people in charge care about design-- the former because the designers are in charge, and the latter because the whole culture cares about design...

 

In the NPR piece, Kim Masters compared movies with television and talked about how the issue of corporate influence is quite different for the two.  Since I work for a pretty big software company, I got to wondering if we make movies or television series. 

With movies you tell one good story in one sitting (sometimes two, but rarely in a triology).  On the other hand with a TV series, you take a context and then stretch out a series of stories that keeps the viewer coming back for more goodness.

If, like my company does, you version your software, then I am inclined to believe I in the TV series business, not the movie one.

So my question is, what is the best size for a software product team to produce a great series?  How big does your corporate parent have to be before it starts getting in the way between you and your loyal viewer?