Instant Or Incomparable, What Matters More?

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Simple question, what’s more important speed or precision?

On the one hand, we live in a world where, increasingly, we expect everything to happen in the blink of an eye. Especially where I live, in NYC, where the city literally never sleeps and we’d rather chew glass than wait for anything.

Let’s face it, we live in a just-in-time world and economy.

And, the rapid decrease in free time is leading people to place a higher value on products and services that, in some way shape or form, give them back some time.

Time is now considered a more precious asset than money.

But, here’s the thing. Getting what you want delivered in hyperspeed may give you back a chunk of your time, but there’s also an evil underbelly.  It’s also far more likely that the quality of what you get will decrease as the time needed to get it decreases.  Not always, but often enough label the effect a loose rule.

And, if you are on the manufacturing or service provider side, the pressure to deliver faster often wars with your desire to “do the job right.”  And, that leads to morale and job satisfaction issues, which in turn leads to a higher error rate, even more sucky stuff delivered at breakneck speed and job stress.

So, what’s the answer?

Do we make a conscious effort to dial back the pace in the hopes that we’ll end up being able to give or get a better, more satisfying product?

Has getting an okay product yesterday now become more valuable than getting a great product tomorrow?

Or, does it depend on the product, service and he context we’re talking about?

Put another way…

Is there still room for a Big Mac in a minute and a carmelized-onion Kobe burger in an hour?

Let’s discuss…

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11 responses

11 responses to “Instant Or Incomparable, What Matters More?”

  1. Robyn says:

    I think there’s room for both. Some days I want something quick and I’m willing to settle for less quality. Other days, quality is important and I’m willing to sacrifice more time.

    The important thing is that I stay present enough in my life that I make a conscious decision.

    I used to work with someone who was always in crisis mode. Since I absolutely detest that, I learned to anticipate her cyclical workload and create a project schedule that allowed me to work at a pace that suited my need for quality at a comfortable pace.

  2. I think it depends entirely on the person and the situation. When the dentist is removing a broken filling we wan it fast and painless. When the dirty work is done and it’s time for a gold crown we want him to take his time and make it perfect.

    Also, our nature has a strong influence. In my case I tend to be a perfectionist, so I need to remind myself to keep moving ahead and don’t get obsessed with every little detail. For someone who tends to ignore details because they are always in a hurry, it might be good to slow down and smell the coffee.

    There does seem to be a general trend toward quick and dirty in some areas, which is often driven by economic pressures (profit). Personally, I like to see people take pride in whatever they do by making quality the number one priority.

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  4. I enjoy your blog – thanks.

    Regarding this post – it really depends on what. Fast food that’s simple and cheap should be fast, but that’s a whole different mindset than when I’m going out with friends to a nice dinner.

    Having said that, and maybe this is a midwest thing…in general people need to slow down. Unless someone’s life is at risk – quality is much more important than speed.

    We’re already oversaturated with media, if everyone took a deep breath and realized the world will indeed still be here tomorrow, I think we would all be better off.

  5. Justin says:

    I’m a patient person, I don’t care if things take awhile. But then again, I am young and do not have much on my plate. Adults with children place a higher value on time, because so much of it is automatically consumed by the child.

  6. I agree that it depends on the context. I usually prefer quality and taking my time, but sometimes that just isn’t possible.

    Having said that, if you know where to go, you can get quality in a hurry. I know some great fast food places here in Hong Kong that serve great Asian food.

  7. Anthea says:

    Agree wholeheartedly, the time I am given to fit my projects in never allows room, causes much frustration and in the end, a let-down client.

    Prefer quality over speed!

  8. Susan Murphy says:

    My question is, do we really need all this stuff in the first place? It just seems that our society is so dependent on acquiring THINGS, without much thought as to their actual usefulness.

    If we all just took a step back and focused on what we really NEED instead of what we WANT, perhaps there would be more room (and time) for quality over quantity.

  9. Brian Holiman says:

    Well as someone that has done both, I vote for slower and simpler. Our bodies were not created to be in a constant state of crisis. In fact, I would contend we are most fulfilled and contented when we have a balance between speed and a slower pace. However, in today’s climate of instant gratification, we must work at creating that space in our lives that allows us to breath and rejuvenate. I subscribe to the train of thought that holds people are more productive when they are rested and alert. Extended periods of stress, crisis and sped up lives results in diminished productivity and that results in frustration and the vicious cycle begins .

    So, schedule a slow down, relax, breath and then go back to work!

  10. Corky says:

    I used to be the guy who had to actually bring the concepts to life.

    R&D always wanted a quality product. Marketing and sales always wanted it delivered quickly. And accounting always wanted it inexpensively.

    The reality is you get to choose two of the three and sacrifice the third. The enterprise that delivers all three is rare indeed.