Of all the characteristics I look for in a start-up, "Speed" has become number 1 on my list. It is why companies can disrupt established industries and why they make magic happen. It is also the essence of what it takes to change the world. Just think about how quickly WhatsApp killed the SMS....
Speed has a naive side that I absolutely love: it emboldens young companies to forget existing constraints and just plow ahead. This is of course not without danger, but I believe that the ability to operate at "Warp Speed" is the new reality. Either you have the ability or you don't.
Of course by speed, I mean speed of execution.
Founders who can think and execute rapidly have the mojo to make a difference. Following is why I am enamoured with the need for speed:
Internet time is different. Internet time is like "dog years" and everything happens quicker than in the real world. In fact you will need to do stuff exactly 7 times faster just to stay competitive on the Internet. So when you think you are doing things fast, think again. Someone in Timbuktu is looking to eat your lunch.
Speed is also a mindset. You need to make the "need for speed" a cornerstone of your company culture. Everyone has to understand that they are operating according to a different clock. They either accept it or try something else.
Speed needs horsepower. It is impossible to operate at this pace without enough great talent. Once you have market validation, go nuts and hire more people than you are naturally comfortable with. Have an "out-of-body" experience.
The world is flat. Original ideas don't stay unique very long. With traction come copycats from around the world. Speed is the antidote to stay ahead.
The Internet rewards speed and punishes those that don't take it seriously enough. For my part I accept the dangers associated to excessive speed, but I always prefer to be on a rocketship - its just more fun and in the long term more profitable.
* This post was first published on LinkedIn