Monday, October 11, 2004

Keep it small: Start small and stay small

From Jason Fried:

I keep hearing about “scaling” issues. Will this scale? Will that scale? Our software is scalable. Etc. But there’s another kind of scaling — human scaling. And that’s the expensive kind. A lot of these new companies that are springing up already have 10, 15, 20 people on board (or are headed there soon). Those are big payrolls for companies generating little to no revenue. And when you have little to no revenue and you have 10, 15, 20 people on board, you have to start borrowing. And when you start borrowing you start going into debt. And when you start going into debt, you can’t continue to innovate or take chances. And then decisions are made that aren’t in the best interest of your customers. It’s a slippery slope. A slippery downward slope.

Aren’t big payrolls and large head counts Web 1.0? Nothing is worse for a start-up than big fat fixed costs. They are like trying to sprint with 50 lb ankle weights. Isn’t Web 2.0 in a large part about agility and flexibility?

So, my advice to these new companies with their new products and fresh-faced enthusiasm… Keep it small. Start small and stay small. Borrow from yourself before you borrow from someone else. You can have an impact with just a few people. You can build great products with a small team. You can do it on your own. You can.