One of the easiest ways to shoot down good ideas, interesting policies, or worthwhile experiments is by injecting the assumption that whatever you’re doing needs to last forever and ever. Which means that the concept has to scale from 5 people to 5,000 or from 100,000 users to 100 million. That’s a terrible way to get from those 5 people to 5,000 or reach those 100 million users.
To reach the top, you have to be willing to use all the tricks that makes sense at the earlier stages. That’s your advantage over the guys who are already sitting up there. So you’re not Google and don’t do a billion dollars in profit every quarter. But I bet you that you’re way more capable of quick, sweeping changes. When you have 100 million users on your email platform, you can’t do the same quick iterations that constantly push upgrades out. When you just have your first few hundred or thousand, you can.
So stop worrying too much about whether giving everyone in your company a credit card at 10 people is going to work when you’re a hundred times bigger. If it doesn’t, you change, come up with something that does work for that size.
The same with your infrastructure. We started on a single server for everything when Basecamp was first launched. There was no point in growing a huge farm of machines if the thing was going to flop anyway. Today we have many more machines and redundancies and surveillance and more because we’re at a different level.
The best way to get to the point of needing more is by optimizing for today. Use the strengths of your current situation instead of being so eager to adopt the hassles of tomorrow.