Technology scales. That’s why people get so excited about it. If you have one gadget that does one thing faster and better, the very nature of technology makes it easy for you to replicate that gadget and, in no time at all, you’ll have a million gadgets doing a million things faster and better.
Scaling can be a good thing or a bad thing. This is why there’s so much talk about adding “art” to STEM to make it STEAM. This is why there’s so much talk about the value of a humanities education. Artists and Humanities folks ask questions about scale, like, “What’s the potential impact of this scaling?” or “What about the unexpected outcomes?”
Another issue with scaling comes up when founders seek funding. If they take VC money, they are expected to scale to a specific size at a specific speed that is not a great fit for many companies. If your business doesn’t need to grow beyond 50 employees, then other types of funding might be better.
Check out this recent interview with DigiFab entrepreneurs Danielle Applestone and Bre Pettis. They are breathing new life into their company, Bantam Tools, and the future does not include a strategy for venture capital. They want to scale at their own pace.