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Move fast and…

I like this article – called Speed as a Habit – by Dave Girouard, CEO of the personal finance startup Upstart. It’s all about the importance of speed in business. Speed wins.

“When you think about it, all business activity really comes down to two simple things: Making decisions and executing on decisions. Your success depends on your ability to develop speed as a habit in both.”

What makes this topic so interesting is that, for a number of reasons, speed has a tendency to get sacrificed. It might be because the plan isn’t yet perfect or because there’s a belief that Y can’t happen until X is complete. 

Perhaps it’s because the value of speed is harder to measure than the value of “perfection.”

I particularly like the notion that you know you’re going fast enough when there’s a bit of discomfort and you’re feeling stretched, but not overstretched in an unsustainable way. Here’s another excerpt from Dave’s article:

“While I was at Google, Larry Page was extremely good at forcing decisions so fast that people were worried the team was about to drive the car off a cliff. He’d push it as far as he could go without people crossing that line of discomfort. It was just his fundamental nature to ask, “Why not? Why can’t we do it faster than this?” and then wait to see if people started screaming. He really rallied everyone around this theory that fast decisions, unless they’re fatal, are always better.”

A big part of this, I find, is momentum. An object at rest stays at rest. But an object in motion stays in motion. Remember this law? In this context, it is decisions that power motion and help to build and sustain momentum.

Of course, the ideal outcome is both lightning fast and high quality decisions.

The title of this post is homage to Facebook’s original corporate motto: “Move fast and break things.” This slogan was later adjusted to “Move fast with stable infrastructure”, which I think demonstrates our constant struggle between speed and quality.

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