Move Slow to Gain Speed

May 18, 2017


“The fastest way to move cattle is sloooooowww.”

Hearing this quote it hit me that maybe moving fast can actually be harmful.

A friend posted about how amazing it was that Google created a Google Glass prototype within a day of the idea.  Hmmm… That’s a good innovation story if it were not such a disaster. There are a lot of people out $1500 for a piece of plastic.  How is that a win?

I get that we should encourage failure, but what if the irony is that speed of innovation is actually at the root cause of failure?

I was speaking with a company that’s growing tremendously fast and they are hiring hundreds of people in months. That is incredibly risky for culture. Yes, we want to keep up with growth, but at what cost?

Think about Elon Musk and Tesla. They didn’t rush. In fact they said, you can pay us to be on our wait list, and we’ll get back to you when we’re ready.

They took their time, in the name of excellence and quality.

That said, I’m a huge fan of increasing capacity when it comes to customer service. Customers will be forgiving of a lot of errors if they feel they are being given a lot of attention. At Zappos we built up a bench of people because otherwise it’s impossible to answer a call in under a minute.

If you’re thinking about growth, here is the fundamental question to ask yourself…

What is more important? Momentum or Clarity?

Momentum can drive you 100mph into a brick wall. Clarity means no matter what the speed you’re going in the right direction.  That’s slow growth. That’s taking more time with innovation.