I think we have it thoroughly mixed up. We have an emphasis on being bigger, and we hold it up as the universal goal that everyone should aim for. Whether you’re a writer, a founder — growth seems to be it. And if you aren’t pursuing growth, you’re wasting your time, or you’re wasting someone else’s.
I don’t think that’s the correct emphasis.
Nobody would call a Michelin star restaurant a failure because they don’t expand into hundreds of franchises and branded frozen meals. That would be growth, but it would be at the expense of the craft that gave the restaurant its value, purpose, and magic. It would be bigger — to a degree — but it would never and could never be better.
If we try to be better — in every way we can, from the work we do to the way we talk to and about our customers, our readers and the people who are important to us — we’ll be pursuing a far better goal. It’s a goal that doesn’t exclude the growth potential, but it does exclude mediocrity. And mediocrity is the death of any creative pursuit.
I am far more impressed by a company turning over $1m by making customers happy with a product or a beautifully delivered service than by a billion-dollar company that everyone fucking hates interacting with.