Yesterday’s Fast is Today’s Slow

May 20, 2024


Is fast the new smart?

As business leaders, we obsess over the ‘what’, the ‘how’, and the ‘who’. Some of us even embrace the ‘why’. Yet the success of our endeavors is often linked to the denominator of time, speed, and velocity, which is seldom part of the decision calculus.

This may have worked in a previous era with elongated business cycles and plenty of time to react. But those who disregard speed today are bound to get run over by F1-level competitors.

With the most significant technology revolution in decades fully underway, the route to growth, competitive advantage, and enterprise value has fundamentally changed. We need to discover creative ways to do the work faster. What used to be a five-year business cycle with a buffer for reacting to changing business conditions is now five months. And with breakneck innovation and emerging technologies like AI, five months will soon be five weeks, days, or even hours.

My suggestion – focus less on perfection and more on speed.

Get things to the best you can and then quickly move them forward. There will always be another cycle to refine, which is far better than missing the cycle altogether.

Dare to Overpromise.

“Underpromise and overdeliver.” It’s one of those truisms that appears indisputable, along with “the customer is always right” and “the early bird gets the worm.”

I respectfully disagree.

Underpromising is a promise to play small. It encourages mediocrity and grants permission to make puny commitments and celebrate tepid accomplishments.

Instead, try the opposite…. overpromise.

Put yourself out there in a big, bold, defiant way. Reach for solutions that may require a little more effort but will delight—instead of satisfy—your customers. An overpromise forces you to get creative and challenge your previous assumptions, pushing you to the rarified territory where greatness lives.

We look up to overpromisers like Galileo, John Coltrane, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Taylor Swift. They changed the world by first overpromising and then doing whatever it took to deliver their masterpiece.

In the words of race car driver Peter Brock, “Bite off more than you can chew, and then chew like hell.”

Taylor Swift during a show

Forget moonshots. Think microshots.

Over 50,000 large vessels travel the oceans each year, moving people and cargo through turbulent seas.

When a solid ship glides through seemingly malleable water, the friction and drag burns over $7.5 million in fuel each year, helping neither the environment nor the bottom line.

Enter Noah Silberschmidt, founder and CEO of UK-based Silverstream Technologies. Silverstream invented a retrofittable device that helps ships release millions of tiny bubbles that create an ‘air carpet’ for the ship to ride on, saving up to 10% in fuel consumption.

Furthermore, Silverstream is further developing its ‘air lubrication system’ to see how it can reduce the transmission of noise from the ship into the sea environment, thereby protecting marine life.

If adopted worldwide, the industry could save over $28 billion by reducing marine fuel consumption by 9.3 billion gallons.

Giant wins with tiny bubbles.

When we tackle big problems, we often think only enormous solutions will do the trick.

To boost fuel efficiency on a massive ship, we’d obviously need to create a more aerodynamic hull, swap out gigantic engines, or move to a renewable power source.

Yet a tiny bubble, less than one millimeter in diameter, can transform the performance of a 780-foot, 30,000-ton behemoth.

Instead of risky and expensive moonshots, think bubble-sized “microshots”.

What friction-reducing, tiny-bubble microshots are waiting for you to discover?

Bubble carpet technology under a ship

Sent is not Received.

Air Traffic Control: “989-Foxtrot-Echo, ascend to 9000 ft. and bear right 10 degrees.”

Pilot: “Ascend to 9000 ft., bear right 10 degrees. 989-Foxtrot-Echo.”

Last week, I had the amazing opportunity to fly on a small plane and listen to the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control.

Every communication was sent, repeated, and confirmed as received.

In our frantic lives, communication challenges abound. When we speak, we assume the other person hears and interprets our words exactly as intended.

And when we listen, we can be so busy thinking about what to say next that we miss the shared substance and nuance—no wonder so many messages get misinterpreted, misconstrued, or land dead on arrival.

With that in mind, here are a few tips to boost your communication results:

When speaking – Communicate with clarity, brevity, and uncloudy details.

When listening – Listen carefully, ensuring you capture every detail, especially in high-stakes moments.

When confirming – Repeat (or paraphrase) to ensure that you heard the information correctly, instilling confidence in both parties that the proper details are delivered and understood.

Interior of a cockpit of a plane in flight

To your creative success…


PS: Want to share this issue of Find A Way? Just copy and paste the link or forward the email version. Did someone share this with you? Subscribe here to get your own copy delivered straight to your inbox every Monday.

About Josh

Josh Linkner is a New York Times bestselling author, serial entrepreneur, venture capital investor, professional jazz guitarist, and a globally recognized innovation expert. To learn more or to explore a collaboration, visit