Using the ‘S’ word: What we mean when we talk about scaling

I hear people talk about scaling products and services and I wonder if we all understand what scaling means in the same way.

The word ‘scaling’ has a lot of baggage within the tech world, from implying an end goal of millions of users to , but used on it’s own is as meaningless as it is loaded.

‘To scale’ only makes sense if its actually phrased ‘to scale by a factor of x’. So, if x equals 2 then the exponential growth goes: 1, 2, 4, 8, 16, etc. This is a very different growth pattern from how many products and services actually grow.

If we expect a product or service to grow linearly, that it 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, etc., then there might be less ambiguity by talking more accurately about it as linear growth and avoiding any confusion from using the ‘s’ word.