More Faster Now culture

All through my work career, I had always used the basic microeconomic conception of the balance of the three elements: Time, Quality and Cost which I believed was unalterable. Time and time again, I used the argument that one can have only 2 elements of the trio but never the 3 elements at their peak concurrently. You cannot get a top quality product at rock bottom price immediately. Should you want the product now, you will have to trade off the quality or pay a higher price. Should opt for quality and advantageous price you might have to wait. It was one of my favorite sales argument for selling premium products and services.

I was stunned today to learn that this concept has now evolved and can be altered. Vince Poscente in his recent book, ‘The Age of speed’ postulates that because of technology we are able to save money and time whilst producing better quality. Surely to stop myself from being a ‘has been’, I admit that in the reality of today and the speed that we are now experiencing the once immutable concept got transformed. Now I shall be able to demand superior quality product at cheap prices to be delivered now. This very much in step with the time now: lucky us who live today!

Vince Poscente in his book has helped me to put in new perspectives to some of the ingrained concepts that I have carried from my past. I recommend you to avail of his writings which I am enjoying this week.

Here is an extract on the topic I just mentioned:

A Love Triangle: Time, Quality and Cost

Ingrained in our perception of products, services and

activities is a very basic microeconomic concept: There

is a balance that must be maintained between time,

quality and cost; if you want more of one, you have to

sacrifice another. It’s a time-tested formula and the

foundation of many decisions we make in our personal

and business lives.

But in the Age of Speed, the rules have changed.

Though it is unlikely that trade-offs among time, quality

and cost will ever cease to exist, the old model is no

longer a given. Because of technology, we have more

shortcuts available than ever before, and these shortcuts

not only save us time but often also save us money and

produce equal or better quality.

If we can accept the positive potential that speed

offers, we can do more, be more, live more. We don’t

have to assume that if we embrace speed, our lives will

just get busier and busier. We need to adapt, evolve and

shed our outdated or misguided perceptions of speed.

We need to reshape the way we define, manage and categorize

our time.


#1 Olivier on 09.19.07 at 12:10 am

In software, there’s a 4th dimension: scope.

Scope is either the amount of features/capabilities supported or how complicated the product is going to be. Software development’s bottleneck in general is the capacity of the human brain to think abstractly about something that doesn’t exist. We cannot easily perceive all pitfalls laying ahead even with much experience, nor can we define timelines as accurately as other engineering endeavors.

Your rule of balancing the variables still holds, but at least in the software development field.

#2 Vince Poscente on 09.19.07 at 8:09 pm

Joseph… Thank you for your comments. With the book just being launched, I find that there are two camps. People who hang on to their beliefs and people who allow their beliefs to be tested (maybe even altered). The age of speed we live in will be the great shake out I believe. We will be tested on many levels to embrace speed; to harness it. Or stick our head in the sand and hope it goes away.

May we live in interesting times is a Chinese saying that comes to mind… Vince Poscente (author of The Age of Speed)

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