Speed vs. Speed Bumps

In the United States, we have a feature in our roadways known as speed bumps.

These are intentionally created bumps in the road near schools, playgrounds, and anywhere children spend time.

The goal of these speed bumps is to force you to slow down the car you’re driving to provide a safe environment for children.

In many cases, these speed bumps are well labeled. You’ll see a bright yellow sign or the speed bump itself is painted white.

Occasionally, speed bumps aren’t labeled well and are hard to see at night, or in the rain.

Most people, myself included, have gone over a speed bump that we didn’t notice.

When that happens, our car hits a huge bump, and we go flying inside the car and sometimes bump our heads on the car ceiling.

The usual reaction is, “Whoa... what the hell was that... Oh, it was a speed bump.”

The important thing with speed bumps is that if you go over them slowly, you barely feel the impact.

If you go over a speed bump at a faster speed, your body gets a huge jolt it wasn’t expecting.

This concept came up the other day when working with one of my portfolio companies.

We ran into an operational headache that under normal revenue growth rates would not be a big deal... akin to going over a speed bump at a slow speed.

But, because we are trying to sustain a very fast growth rate, hitting the "speed bump" hurt a whole lot more.

And guess what?

That’s okay.

The important thing to realize is that with speed (in anything) there’s a tradeoff.

Speed is messy.

The faster you go, the more the error rate goes up.

The key is to recognize this tradeoff in advance, expect the impact of the “speed bumps,” and mentally and/or financially budget for these “growing pains.”

Even with the messiness of speed, you usually end up getting to where you want to go a whole lot faster.

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