The myth of scaling with a wide net

I have been looking for an example of a successful company that started “wide” by being many things to many people and then grew from there without focusing.

I have been looking for 20 years. I still haven’t found one.

It’s totally possible. I just haven’t seen it.

Here’s what I see when I have looked at thousands of examples of success stories:

When they started growing fast, they always had a narrow focus.

  • The focus of just the thing they made. Not everything they could make.
  • Or the focus of who specifically they served. Not everyone.
  • Or why their thing was so special to somebody. It was really amazing to somebody, but never everybody.

Some ended up becoming big companies that are everything to everybody now, but I always find they were the opposite of “wide” when they grew fast in the early years.

Amazon is a huge business that does many things for everybody now, but it started and grew as just books and just online. Back in the mid-1990s, that was almost nobody in a corner of a niche business.

I’m still looking for a company that started out wide and stayed wide to grow big.

Do you know of any?

Let me know.

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