Speed Has a Momentum All Its Own

(one of these people won an Oscar. Guess which one.)

While we all understand the obvious benefits of speed, we often overlook the subtle power of momentum.

Often, doing something fast delivers better results than doing something slowly, simply because we reduce the chances of something going wrong.

Lost was one of the most successful television shows of the past decade. It revived the hour-long drama, and spawned a host of imitators.

Co-creator Damon Lindelof attributes much of that success to speed. The original set of episodes were shot in just 11 weeks. This meant there wasn’t enough time for the network to dumb it down.

The same thing can hold true in the startup world, hence the popularity of the hackathon.

Learn to keep up the pace, and you’ll be able to get the power of momentum on your side.

5 thoughts on “Speed Has a Momentum All Its Own

  1. Great post as always. Speed and momentum, I believe, are two things you should keep in mind when you're banking on trends. You want to be the first, the pioneer, so you can easily bring your credibility up, making it easy for you to gain followers.

  2. I would like to point out the difference between speed and hurrying. Speed comes from experience at your task and doing it at a comfortable pace. When one tries to go faster than that comfortable pace it slows us down with mistakes and fumbling.

  3. I agree with Edward above. Speed isn't about typing fast or hiring a bunch of 22 year olds with no lives and making them work 25 hours a day. It comes from organizing around simple, clear processes and carefully managing the inevitable growth of bureaucracy in a new company.

    The problem is "speed" equals "don't pay attention, just do it" in the minds of many people. So, they do stuff like put all their customer's credit card numbers on a server with a default password. They make a bunch of Russian mobsters very happy, and lose their business.

    You can have a fast-moving company, even in areas where extreme quality and process requirements exist, such as security or embedded software (and where I've spent most of my career). But you'll take a rather radically different approach to staffing and organization than you may take if you're doing a consumer web company making money from ads.

  4. Great post, and great comment from Edward Nickelson.

    The picture caption actually made me laugh out loud. Alone. In my office.

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