Here at Singularity University, we challenge people to “positively impact a billion people.” Not just a tall order but also the purest form of scaling wide — affecting the largest amount of individuals possible.
And there is a different type of scaling — what my wife and The Coaching Fellowship founder Jane calls “scaling deeply.” Instead of focussing your energy and efforts on scaling to as many people as you can, you concentrate on deepening your impact on fewer people.
Neither approach is inherently superior to the other. What I found, again and again, is that it’s mostly a question of choice. Take education, for example; You can scale by creating a widely distributed online course system. Or you can scale by working with only a handful of people but investing deeply into their education by one-on-one tutoring, mentoring and coaching. The impact is different, for sure — but one isn’t superior to the other.
Having had this conversation with hundreds of entrepreneurs over the years, I believe it comes down to you, your values and beliefs and what feeds your energy. Some people are built for scaling wide (often the systems thinkers amongst us), others are wired for profoundly impacting fewer people (typically the deeply empathetic people).
Failure typically happens when one tries to do the other — which more often than not is change makers wired for connection trying to go wide. Sadly we, culturally, seem to be obsessed with the idea of scaling wide as the only viable option. It is not.
Which type of impact drives you?