The ability to scale: it’s one of the main differentiators between a startup and a small business, but does everything in your startup have to scale?
While the intuitive answer may be “yes”, there’s actually a lot to be said for doing things that don’t scale.
One of the foremost advocates for this approach is Y Combinator founder Paul Graham. In an essay penned in 2013, Graham points out that a lot of what allows a startup to grow comes from its founder doing things that don’t scale.
“Startups take off because the founders make them take off,” he writes, pointing out that “a good metaphor would be the cranks that car engines had before they got electric starters. Once the engine was going, it would keep going, but there was a separate and laborious process to get it going”.
Among the unscalable things founders can do to grow their startups are manually recruiting users, engaging with users, and having insanely great service.
The essay is well worth a read for any entrepreneur, but if you want to get a taste of what it says, check out the infographic below, which comes courtesy of Founders and Funders.