Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos once remarked, “doing things at high speed, that’s the best defense against the future.”
By now, I have spent more than 30 years in extremely fast-moving markets (mostly tech). ()* Not once have I found that Bezos’ observation didn’t hold – with the caveat that it doesn’t mean you ought to run around like a headless chicken in your pursuit of speed. Contrary, I have seen many instances of companies, projects, and leaders failing as their velocity was too slow. Too much talk, deliberation, debate, cruft, and polish before a product or service release.
The best two pieces of advice I received in this regard were, on the one hand, the adage of “measure twice, cut once” (meaning: spend the necessary time in the prep, which quickly makes it up in the doing). And on the other hand, Google X’s cofounder Tom Chi’s cutting question, “is this truly the cheapest, fastest, and easiest way to test your assumption?”
Combine this with Chi’s insight that “action leads to insight more often than insights leads to action” and start building stuff. Become and surround yourself with people who have the skills to make things. It often takes you longer to explain something to someone to then make it, than simply make it yourself.
As Bezos’ summarized his approach: “If you are leaning away from the future, the future is going to win every time.”
This year, let’s lean into the future and build what matters.
() This statement makes me feel old.* 👨🦳