Despite geopolitical and economic uncertainty, most observers are optimistic about continued robust prospects for M activity in 2019.

“There is near unanimity that the deal environment will improve or remain stable over the next 12 months,” according to a report by Ernst & Young.

A healthy M environment is good news for the tech startup ecosystem, but it also adds urgency to an age-old question that founders and CEOs must ask at various inflection points in a company’s life: when to keep building the company from the inside and when to grow through acquisition.

The “build or buy” dilemma is similar to the choice a Major League Baseball team faces when deciding whether to improve through talent developed in its own Minor League system or by signing free agents.

For every successful acquisition like Apple’s 2010 buyout of Siri to add voice command capabilities to its devices, there is a disastrous one such as Google’s $3.2 billion acquisition of Nest in 2014 – considered such a failure that Google’s parent company tried to sell the business two years later.

Path of least resistance: It’s simply faster to improve offerings or create new ones by acquiring capabilities rather than developing them internally.

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