The Business Singularity: Why Software Means Cycle Time Trumps Scale

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For centuries, business has been about scale. Business students are taught that cconomies of scale are the only long-term sustainable advantage, because with scale you can control markets, set prices, own channels, influence regulators, and so on. But thanks to software and big data, however, scale’s importance is waning.

Software is eating the world, and it’s different from people in two different ways. First, it can be analyzed. Second, it can be optimized. Analysis and optimization lead to a closed loop of continuous improvement. And companies that learn to harness the power of data iteratively stop worrying about scale, and start worrying about cycle time. Accountants don’t have a metric for “how fast the organism learns,” but they’d better get one soon.

Photo of Alistair Croll

Alistair Croll

Solve For Interesting

Alistair Croll is an entrepreneur with a background in web performance, analytics, cloud computing, and business strategy. In 2001, he cofounded Coradiant (acquired by BMC in 2011) and has since helped launch Rednod, CloudOps, Bitcurrent, Year One Labs, and several other early-stage companies. He works with startups on business acceleration and advises a number of larger companies on innovation and technology. A sought-after public speaker on data-driven innovation and the impact of technology on society, Alistair has founded and run a variety of conferences, including Cloud Connect, Bitnorth, and the International Startup Festival, and is the chair of O’Reilly’s Strata Data Conference. He has written several books on technology and business, including the best-selling Lean Analytics. Alistair tries to mitigate his chronic ADD by writing about far too many things at Solve For Interesting.


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