Speed kills not only in sports but also in tech


The term “Speed Kills” is commonly used in sports analogies when someone has been put at an obvious disadvantage during an event. I am a fan of the NFL and its common to hear someone say, “man, he got burnt” which means that one player has left another a few steps behind as he strides into the end zone.

A 15 second search of Twitter shows evidence to back up my statement.

In the Start up world raising Venture capital is referred to as a means of speeding up the process to success. The reason being is that raising money allows you access to resources such as developers, marketing budget and mentors (providing you get the right investors). In the Internet culture, lots of information is shared freely. The pro here is that there are resources available for nearly any topic and those resources are growing. However, there are con’s also. One of those con’s is that noise also known as spam, crappy sales sites for poor quality products or fraudulent sites also grow in number.

True Story

Back when I was working inside of the cubicle in an office, I attended one of many face-to-face meetings about a software project that was coming down the pike. At the end of this meeting, my manager said, now all you have to do is a little research and you should be ready to send out a presentation to the organization. It should be easy because you guys have the Internet. It’s not like the old days. Now keep in mind that he was only about 40 himself but had not grown up with the Internet in the way that I had. My response to him was, yes there is a lot of information at our finger tips today but there is also a downside. We have to spend a lot of time filtering the good useful valuable data from the noise.

Now back to the topic. Earlier this year I wrote about knowing the value of your time. Later in the year I read a good post by Amy Hoy about people who value their time and how they would spend money on otherwise freely available information because it saves them time. I certainly share that opinion. Patio11 did a podcast where this topics comes up as well. He says:

I’ve learned that, especially when you’re talking in a B2B context, this: Anyone who has employees, and accordingly must pay salaries every two weeks regardless of what they are doing, is literally incapable of finding things for free on the Internet.

Because if you tell one of your lead engineers to spend two weeks researching a topic, and you pay them $10,000, regardless of whether the blog post they were reading were “free,” creates a lot of value to a curated topic, and gives them resources of a known quality and an easy digestible format.

Rather than having them have to spelunk and do the curation step themselves, or do the, “Before I actually get to doing the work that I’m supposed to doing, I’m designing this web application or writing this email campaign, I have to first design a curriculum to teach myself that, and I will take my own curriculum, warts and all, and then I will do the implementation, and then we will actually get back to selling the thing that makes this business run.”

Once upon a time years ago, I would go out of my way to avoid paying for information on the Internet. I had amassed a large collection of technical (physical) books from bookstores and wasn’t about to return to that level of spending for information if I didn’t have to. To me it made more sense to collect links to blogs, message boards, free ebooks, websites, etc.  Then I would piece them all together to learn a specific topic. It worked and I learned a lot of valuable things. It took time but I enjoyed spending time on the Internet so it really didn’t matter.

What I began to realize as I moved forward in my career and life was that time is one of the most valuable assets that exist in the world. It’s limited, and if used wisely can be very beneficial. I began to look at the time that I could save by purchasing information that had been curated and bundled into convenient packages such as ebooks and membership only sites as investments.

Additionally, I still use  a ton of free resources but I tend to focus much more time on resources and communities that are designed to reduce search times through methods such as heavy moderation of content, up voting functions and identity verification. A few examples of such sites that I use personally are; Stackoverflow, quora and Google with personalized search (signing into Google is required).

The results have been a tremendous amount of time saved. Which translates into  much more time for business task that help move me forward and family.


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