The Trouble With Scale: Why Not All Growth Is Good
Over the course of the last two decades, Silicon Valley has committed itself to two interlocking beliefs.
One: Getting the maximum number of people online at the fastest rate possible will lead to good outcomes.
Two: You can give any user on earth the same product, and they’ll use it in the same way. Therefore, geography and culture don’t really matter.
Together, these two precepts form the nucleus of what we have come to call “scale,” the doctrine that businesses should put rapid adoption of their product above all other considerations, even profits. One year was enough for Facebook to acquire its first million active users, six years less than Apple took to sell its first million computers, eleven years less than Ford took to sell its first million cars, at least six centuries less than ancient Rome took to reach one million living inhabitants.