Do the Best Entrepreneurs Optimize for Quality or Quantity?

Some entrepreneurs are obsessed with quality. Others want scale. Which is better?

Aaron Dinin, PhD
The Startup
Published in
5 min readApr 20


Photo by Ryan Snaadt on Unsplash

Quantity versus quality — it’s one of the great debates of the startup world. When you’re a resource-strapped entrepreneur, do you spend more time/effort/money/etcetera on fewer, higher quality outputs? Or should you spread those resources as thin and far as possible in order to chase the benefits of volume?

The interesting thing about this debate is that it touches nearly every aspect of entrepreneurship.

For example, it relates to fundraising and how many investors to contact:

“Should I focus on talking with as many investors as possible, or should I spend lots of time finding the most likely investors?”

It relates to sales and marketing:

“Should I send thousands of generic cold emails to lots of potential customers, or should I cherry-pick the people who best fit our customer profile and send personalized emails?”

It relates to social media content creation:

“Should I post to TikTok/Twitter/Instagram as often as possible, or should I focus on fewer, higher quality posts that take longer to make?”

It even relates to human resources and hiring:

“Should I spend money hiring multiple low-level people, or should I put all the money into one person’s salary and try to hire a rockstar?”

To be fair, nobody will be able to definitely tell you whether quantity or quality is more important in startups. But I can tell you which is better in basketball, and maybe that’ll help.

The most important stat in basketball

In case basketball isn’t your favorite sport, don’t worry. Every sport has the same basic concept I’m about to discuss, and it’s equally valuable no matter what game you’re playing. I’m only using basketball to explain this particular stat because I teach at Duke University, and, if you know anything about Duke, you know basketball is like a religion, and framing concepts in relation to basketball is usually a good way of helping my students understand complex…



Aaron Dinin, PhD
The Startup

I teach entrepreneurship at Duke. Software Engineer. PhD in English. I write about the mistakes entrepreneurs make since I’ve made plenty. More @