Will it scale?
When posed with the question, “Will it scale?” the answer must always be a resounding and confident YES. This is the easy part. If the person on the other side of this conversation is very well versed in meeting etiquette he or she will ask the popular follow up question, “How?”
This is tricky. The truth, for the most part, is no one knows how to scale anything. If they did, everyone would be millionaires, and I’d have penned 11,000 of these musings instead of just this one and that other one about the old man that lives next door and the stupid questions he asks.
However, there are a few things that some people have occasionally managed to employ in order to scale operations. Let’s take a look at the basics.
Automation. This is where you take things people put effort into and make them more automatic. For example, if you put a shock collar on your dog’s neck and he clues in to the fact that he gets shocked when he walks too close to the invisible fence surrounding your yard, he starts automatically staying there. The biggest challenge with this scaling strategy is convincing employees to wear shock collars. Luckily people respond to incentives like stock options, performance based bonuses, and the option to bring their pets to work. And as a bonus, the pets enjoy the opportunity to roam in an environment that is free from invisible fence lines and take giant craps on the conference room floor.
Outsourcing. This is a method where you remove the source of the work from your immediate vicinity, i.e. taking it out (thus the clever name). It’s great because it’s cheap and you have no idea whether the work is actually being done. The challenge, however, is finding the right place to locate the work. Time zones, language barriers, and Donald Trump supporters will be the real issues here.
Robots. Now we’re talking. Simply hire robots to do more of the thing you wish to scale. Robots don’t need food or breaks, and can work all shifts. Also, it’s well known that robots commit only 12% of workplace sexual harassment.
Magic. The upside: If you can successfully implement magic, you’ll become a real life business guru. The downsides: magic demands elaborate costumes and props, requires acquisition of a second language, and involves sketchy relationships with demons and the like. In addition, magic isn’t real. However, most tech companies in existence today don’t make any money at all, and in fact lose millions each year, and have almost 0% chance of ever becoming profitable and spend all their money on team kayaking outings and beer carts. Yet they somehow manage to secure multiple rounds of funding and turn their founders into bajiillionaires. This certainly seems to defy reality or at least common business sense, so maybe magic is real after all.