“Scaling”

photo by Volodymyr Hryshchenko

I don’t believe in scaling.

What, did he just say that?! Yes, I work in and with start ups and scale ups and I don’t believe in scaling.

I see scaling as a figment of a certain economic ideology, usually one where the excess money that has been printed over the past 15 years is wasted on human and natural resources in an attempt to create monopolies. I have seen too many examples where, deceived by unit economics, scaling great projects resulted in negative consequences on a huge scale. Where scaling detached the decision makers from the impact of their actions and broke the feedback loops that could regulate these negative consequences. Where scaling replaced purpose and good intentions with nothing but growth.

The goal of scaling often overpowers the sensitivity and awareness for subtle effects, which would be required to mitigate the negative aspects of scaling. Especially when it turns into hyper- and blitzscaling and it glorifies inefficiencies and burning cash.

But I do believe in scale. In an appropriate dimension for a process or a project. Maybe your company works perfectly in a specific market and it’s not a failure if you don’t go global. Maybe it takes another year. Maybe your company has “only” 10 employees, but you can pay your bills and have the freedom you appreciate. I’m not against growth, I just wish we would talk more about scale and less about scaling.

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Interested in all ways to understand this world. Looking for questions, not answers. Curious about the human and the digital. — bjornb@mailbox.org

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Björn Behn

Björn Behn

Interested in all ways to understand this world. Looking for questions, not answers. Curious about the human and the digital. — bjornb@mailbox.org

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