StartUp Founders: Being Fast Is Not All About Speed

December 27, 2022 2 mins read

Starting a business is exciting, but it’s also a lot of work. There’s so much to do, and it can feel like there’s never enough time to get it all done. As a startup founder, you may feel like you need to be constantly moving at breakneck speed to keep up with the competition. But in your haste to get ahead, it’s important not to confuse running fast with being sloppy.

Running fast means making intelligent decisions quickly, according to Paul Graham, founder of Y Combinator. “Running fast means making intelligent decisions that are going to impact your future intelligently with some data and some extra thought,” he explains. “Running fast means lowering your burn because it’s just less days to get stuff done. Running fast means iterating quickly and controlling your clock speed and getting feedback and re-releasing. Running fast means everything you can do to cut the intelligent corners that make sense to your business.”

However, running fast does not mean being sloppy. Allowing typos, having a crappy looking product or website, or taking an “oh well, I’ll fix it later” attitude can have monumental impacts down the line if you don’t build a solid foundation for your business to grow on. As Graham puts it, “there’s a very fine line” between running fast and being sloppy.

This sentiment is echoed by some of the most successful companies in the world. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos famously said, “We’re not competitor obsessed, we’re customer obsessed. We start with what the customer needs and we work backwards.” This approach requires careful consideration and planning, even as the company moves quickly to meet customer demands.

In conclusion, as a startup founder, it’s important to remember that running fast is not the same as being sloppy. You can move quickly and make intelligent decisions without sacrificing quality or attention to detail. As Graham advises, “cut the intelligent corners that make sense to your business” and build a solid foundation for your company to grow on.

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