Fictional race of time
Soon into the startup world, I got into the mindset of doing everything fast.
How quickly can we build a product? Ten days? Let's do it in 1 day. Can we talk with ten leads in a day? Let's try 40.
You hear the stories of how other startups are growing 2x every week. Stories of people finding their PMF in record times. Stories of startups fundraising twice a year.
Startup media is hungry for overnight and clickbait successes. The quotes and tweets about "1% better every day" add to the move-fast-or-die ideology. They create this fictional race in your head.
And we did exactly that. It didn't take much time for the worst effects to kick in. It was the worst sprint of my life. I was mentally and physically at my lowest and on the brink of burnout.
On the flip side, being slow is not an option.
As a startup, we go after big ideas against giant companies with thousands of employees. One core edge of being small and flat is moving fast.
The solution? Know when to sprint and when to run the marathon.
Internalising this took more time than I thought. Even after five years running Adaface, now and then, I sprint too much. I read this note as a reminder to get back in line.
"1% better every day" is an insane metric. And, realistically, not possible. And that is fine.