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« All good ideas are terrible | Main | Getting smart about the time tax »

120 seconds (shipping vs. rushing)

If you have a ten-mile commute to work, the difference between pushing yourself to drive 40 miles an hour and driving safely at 35 works out to about two minutes. In the first scenario, you're running yellow lights, passing bicyclists and rolling stop signs. In the second, you're not only dramatically safer, but you're also breathing.

Decades ago, when I had a Saab, I used to drive fast (95 mph fast) on trips home to Buffalo. The highway is straight and designed for speed, but it was an incredibly stupid, selfish and dangerous thing to do. The upside was that I ended my trip from Boston an hour or two faster than I would have otherwise. Of course, then I'd sit, nearly in a stupor, for at least two hours until the world was moving slowly enough for me to engage again.

The problem with setting the standard at super-fast, up to 11, is that you can't sustain it. You've extracted all the slack and safety out of the system and gotten very little in return.

Of course, this isn't true if you're actually in a race, if responding to the RFP first or getting around the track a nanosecond faster is actually the point. But for most of us, most of the time, it's not actually a race.

The other extreme is the one I rant about often, the extreme of not shipping, of going slowly because you're afraid, of stalling as a way of avoiding the fear of feedback and the need for vulnerability. That clearly doesn't work either.

Yes, ship. Do it with flair and guts and grace. But take two more minutes before you do, because slack pays dividends.

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