“Scalability” is a key aspect in today’s dynamics at the macro level in the development of the internet and hence our economic environment. At the micro level companies want to be agile and therefor the organization, services and their supporting systems to be “scalable”.
Scalability is often considered a synonym for “economies of scale”. But scalability has an other manifestation as well:scaling down to the smallest common denominator. For instance economies of scale created by marketplaces allow very small suppliers to offer their personal or small business service and product offerings economically at a smaller scale (down-scaling). This is not the same as “dis-economies of scale” where negative network effects are putting a reverse power to the otherwise limitless growth of the economies of scale.
While we see rapid increases in scalability being realised through our advances in IT in particular (both in the broader context of our society and economy and in the context of individual companies), many take this as a reference to other domains as well.
Bill Gates is quoted in The Hurdles for Energy & Backing 5 Battery Startups:
We’ve all been spoiled and deeply confused by the IT model. Take chips and scaling improvement, that is rare. We see it in hard disc storage, fiber capacity, gene sequencing rates, improvement in modeling software. . .
There are very few technologies that are ready for that learning curve piece.
There are things that hold[energy innovation] back. Innovation hasn’t done as much as it should have done. We need to pursue a lot of paths. If we new solar PV would be 50 times cheaper for sure or this nuclear thing would work, then we would be done. But, boy are there a lot of problems that have to be solved.