Should I build my startup’s web-based product as if it’s going to one day be widely adopted and experience high-volume, or instead focus on quick delivery over scalability?
Absolutely the second: build for rapid learning, not for eventual scalability. The vast majority of startups fail, and the number one reason they fail is that they didn’t achieve product-market fit: they failed to build something that customers actually wanted.
Whatever you think your product should be, you’re certainly wrong. If you’re lucky you will be at least aiming in the right direction, and getting it in front of actual users will lead you to course correct and figure out what it is you should really be building.
If you do manage to build something that people want, then you can start to focus on how you’re going to scale it up. That’s a great problem to have! But building for scale before you’ve proved your product is a recipe for months of wasted work.