Doing things that don’t scale

From Paul Graham’s Do Things that Don’t Scale:

One of the most common types of advice we give at Y Combinator is to do things that don’t scale. A lot of would-be founders believe that startups either take off or don’t. You build something, make it available, and if you’ve made a better mousetrap, people beat a path to your door as promised. Or they don’t, in which case the market must not exist.

Actually startups take off because the founders make them take off. There may be a handful that just grew by themselves, but usually it takes some sort of push to get them going… The most common unscalable thing founders have to do at the start is to recruit users manually.

Wow, that brings back memories. In the early days of Seeking Alpha I remember personally reaching out to bloggers to ask whether I could republish their posts, and explaining to each one how it would get them a larger audience. It was a ton of manual work that wasn’t scalable.

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