Why It’s So Hard to Scale a Great Idea - Deepstash

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HBR

Why It’s So Hard to Scale a Great Idea

Why It’s So Hard to Scale a Great Idea

hbr.org

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The Challenge Of Scale

Why do some products, companies, and social programs thrive as they grow while others peter out? 

There are five causes:

1) False positives, or inaccurately interpreting a piece of evidence or data;

False Positives

When a seemingly promising idea loses efficacy or profitability as it expands, we call it a “voltage drop.” These failures to scale never happen because of one single reason.

False positives occur when you interpret a piece of evidence or data as proof that something is true, when in fact i...

Biased Representativeness of Population

All ventures must understand their potential audience. The first way to do this is by making sure your test samples in the small scale reflect the larger population at scale.  

To weed out biases, make sure your early adopters are a random sample. You should also make sure that your survey ...

Non-Negotiables That Can’t Grow or Be Replicated

For an idea or enterprise to hold strong at scale, you need to know whether your “non-negotiables” — the drivers of your success — can be replicated at scale. You can’t afford all the talent you need as you grow, so you hire fewer high-performers and quality suffers at scale — a cruel voltage dro...

Negative Spillovers

A spillover effect is the unintended impact one event or outcome can have on another event or outcome. A classic example is when a city opens a new factory, and the air pollution it produces impacts the health of nearby residents.

As you scale, the likelihood of spillovers increases dramati...

The Cost Trap

To scale successfully, you need to determine not only how many people like your idea, but also what they’re willing to pay for it and, crucially, how much it will cost to provide.

  • One strategy to escape the cost trap of scaling is to make sure you benefit from economies of scale, a ski...

LEO TOLSTOY

Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.

The Bottom Line

Just like Leo Tolstoy's quote, scalable ideas are all alike; every unscalable idea is unscalable in its own way.

The difference with scaling is there are only five main obstacles you face. And once you anticipate and avoid them, you can scale your idea for the highest volt...

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