Gravity and entropy, denied
The 747 is a very large plane. But that doesn't mean it's easier to get off the ground–in fact, it's more difficult.
As your project and your organization grows in size, it's tempting to hope that at some point it will take care of itself. That customer service will get better without a herculean effort to keep it un-industrialized. That quality will be consistent, without extraordinary efforts from truly committed people.
Alas, that's not what happens. Gravity sets in with scale, and almost all the forces push in one direction–away from amazing.
Danny Meyer runs more than a dozen well-known restaurants, and the reason that they're well known is that he and his staff act like they own one restaurant, a brand new one, one with something to prove. It's tonight or never.
Also! As your project and your organization develop over time, randomness and unpredictability occurs. Entropy is a force of nature… over time, stuff gets more scrambled, not more orderly. Things decay. Left alone, just about anything we create fades to mediocrity or instability.
Which is why we can't leave it alone.
If you want to dream, it's fun to talk about self-managed teams, crowd-built organizations, autonomous excellence. And if you can find it, by all means, congratulations. For the rest of us, though, the challenges of scale and time will always involve extraordinary effort from dedicated people, doing the heavy lifting to fight off the almost unstoppable forces of mediocrity.
Don't scale because you think there's a pot of gold over that rainbow. Scale because you're ready and eager to do heroic work, every day, forever.
Once you know what you're in for, like the engineers at Boeing, you can invest in bigger jets and make sure they're working.