Via Michael Schofield, this morning I came across Ben Thompson’s Aggregation Theory. The article is fantastic, particularly as it provides a lot of concrete examples that helped me wrap my head around the abstract concept.
One of the most interesting takeaways for me was this:
What is important to note is that in all of these examples there are strong winner-take-all effects. All of the examples I listed are not only capable of serving all consumers/users, but they also become better services the more consumers/users they serve — and they are all capable of serving every consumer/user on earth. This, above all else, is why consumer technology companies are so highly valued both in the public and private markets.
Becoming a better service by serving more people is a fascinating distinction.
Certainly there are businesses that work differently—that are not designed to scale—but I believe that even non-scaling businesses benefit from considering how they get better with every person they serve.
There are the obvious, not-very-intentional improvements, like simply gaining more experience, but I’m more interested in the intentional improvements, both in terms of processes (“don’t just solve a problem, build a system”) and in innovation (“how do our existing clients benefit when we take on a new client?”).
There are opportunities everywhere, and this idea might help us spot a few more of them.