I recently watched a TedX show by a renown Nigerian rapper called Mr Incredible (MI). What struck me so hard was what he said about Nigerian artist and businesses. In his word, they only scale horizontally(sideways), they never scale vertically(upward).

What does this mean?

First, you need to understand what horizontal and vertical scaling means.

1. Horizontal scaling

This simply means new businesses are sprouting out and standing alone. With horizontal scaling, the industry grow slowly, and this is because everyone want to do everything by themself which is not effective.

A good example of horizontal scaling of an industry is how upcoming Nigerian musicians behave. Immediately they get someone to help them and they start growing big, they want to leave the record label and create their own. That way, they would need to find another promoter, another less competent producer and go and stand alone like an island. With this, there’s no collaboration in the industry. Everybody just keep creating new, new labels and never work together again.

To buttress my point, let me give you a simple example. What do you think made DBanj,Wizkid, Mr Mayd, Patoranking, Lil Kesh, Tekno, Oladips etc, leave their record label and go ahead to create their own? It’s this issue of horizontal scallings. People wanting to stand alone.

Let’s look at vertical scaling:

This means new businesses sprout up but they still employ the service of old businesses and connections. They understand the impact of specializing and allowing others do the job they’re not good at. They don’t operate alone.

The major importance of vertical scalling is that it allows an industry to grow very large within a very short period of time. People still rely on one another. You specialized on what you’re good at, and let professional businesses and people in your network handle the rest of the things that you’re not that good at.

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I believe for Nigerian businesses to start scaling vertically, we would need to get more humble, as we grow big and make more money. Humility is necessary to continue to work well with people in your connection.

What do you think? Do you believe in being more humble the more higher you go?

Let me have your suggestions in the comments below.