Scaling the Plane Mid-Flight


There's an old saying in banking industry, that changing a core banking system is like replacing the engine of a Boeing aircraft mid-flight. A similar analogy can be made also for start-ups, which start as paper planes, become Cessnas after the seed round or first successful sales, growing into Gulfstreams once VC money starts flowing in, and finally maturing into big Jumbo Jets once the start-up becomes a successful enterprise. And all these should happen mid-flight, preferably at full speed, because if it doesn't the competition and other forces will crash the nascent start-up in no time. Scaling a start-up mid-flight is highly interesting, but also a very hard task. Every start-up scales in its own way, there are few proven recipes how to do scaling successfully, and the few resources available lack details and context. That's why I'm on my way to Budapest at the moment to attend Stretch Conference and to listen to leaders of Spotify, SoundClound, and other start-ups who have already walked the path that Zemanta is now taking. I hope to learn from them a lot about scaling companies, teams, people, and, perhaps most importantly, how to scale myself.

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