How AI and a New Generation of Upstarts Are Creating the Economy of the Future

Unscaled identifies the forces that are reshaping the global economy and turning one of the fundamental laws of business and society — the economies of scale — on its head.

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Unscaled: How AI and a New Generation of Upstarts Are Creating the Economy of the Future

About the Book

An innovative trend combining technology with economics is unraveling behemoth industries — including corporations, banks, farms, media conglomerates, energy systems, governments, and schools-that have long dominated business and society. Size and scale have become a liability. A new generation of upstarts is using artificial intelligence to automate tasks that once required expensive investment, and “renting” technology platforms to build businesses for hyper-focused markets, enabling them to grow big without the bloat of giant organizations.

In Unscaled, venture capitalist Hemant Taneja explains how the unscaled phenomenon allowed Warby Parker to cheaply and easily start a small company, build a better product, and become a global competitor in no time, upending entrenched eyewear giant Luxottica. It similarly enabled Stripe to take on established payment processors throughout the world, and Livongo to help diabetics control their disease while simultaneously cutting the cost of treatment. The unscaled economy is remaking massive, deeply rooted industries and opening up fantastic possibilities for entrepreneurs, imaginative companies, and resourceful individuals. It can be the model for solving some of the world’s greatest problems, including climate change and soaring health-care costs, but will also unleash new challenges that today’s leaders must address.


Hemant Taneja, the author of Unscaled… says, he sees two trends-demand for hyperpersonalized products and entrepreneurs’ ability to ‘rent scale’ in the cloud-that are putting incumbents at an increasing disadvantage.

—Harvard Business Review

The book explores how unscaling will affect six industries-energy, healthcare, education, finance, media, and consumer products-and how to benefit from this revolution.

—Talent Development Magazine

Hemant Taneja provides important insights on the possibilities for AI to transform fields ranging from education to healthcare. He equally shows the need for transparency and clear values in deploying these powerful new technologies.

—David Kenny

senior vice president, IBM, Watson & Cloud Platform technologies

Unscaled demystifies that little acronym with big meaning-‘AI’-and lays out where you can participate in the revolution.

—Carter Cast

clinical professor of innovation and entrepreneurship at the Kellogg School, Northwestern University

A thought-provoking look at the technology that is changing the world of business and the benefits, pitfalls, and challenges for society as a whole.

—Kenneth I. Chenault

former chief executive officer, American Express Company

An important and fascinating read for anyone looking to better understand the forces driving innovation and disruption which are affecting every sector of our economy.

—Penny Pritzker

chairman of PSP Capital Partners and former US Secretary of Commerce

Unscaled presents a paradigm shift in how we should think about the role of technology and policy in addressing the real threat of climate change…. Thoughtful innovation can help us take on some of the biggest challenges facing society.

—Bill Ritter Jr.

former Colorado governor and director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at Colorado State University

The world is changing rapidly. In Unscaled, visionary venture capitalist Hemant Taneja shows us how. Even in an industry as resistant to change as health care, data and technology are upending traditional models and ushering in a new era of precision. This book is for anyone who wants to understand how to leverage the economies of unscale to address the challenges of the modern world.

—Lloyd B. Minor, MD

dean of the Stanford University School of Medicine