Hyper-growth, and the power of doing more with less

David Poblador writes about The Pitfalls of Hyper-Growth: How Companies Can Do More with Less. Startups tend to operate more with a scarcity mindset at the onset, but as they grow…

As businesses grow, they often rely on flawed indicators of success that do not necessarily correlate with sustainability. One of the most common measures of success is headcount growth. Unfortunately, hiring lots of new employees can create inefficiencies, harm company culture, and reduce productivity. When hiring becomes the only tool to get the job done, it can detract from the most important things, like focusing on priorities and managing the company’s lifecycle.

David’s post led me to a fascinating interview with Jesper Kouthoofd, who is the founder of music-tech company Teenage Engineering. In the interview he talks about why they specifically avoid running after hyper-growth:

We only want to make great products and when you don’t focus only on making money and have reached a certain level, everything becomes about quality. Right now, there is a certain cultural fascination with fast growth, IPOs and so on, but I want to go slow, really slow and think long-term. It takes time to do good things. You see, this cultural phenomenon of speed and growth at all costs is displayed in every startup, they all look the same, it’s like fast food: it looks good, its taste is consistent but then you feel horrible afterwards.

This is obviously not desirable or true for all companies, but it’s worth noticing that there is more than one way to run a business.