When One Month Of Real Time Is Three Months of Company Time

Most of us learned about dog years as children. Unfortunately, the adage that one human year = 7 dog years is not entirely correct, as dogs mature much faster than humans and the aging process depends on the size of the dogs. But the general idea works.

Recently, I was in a board meeting at a company that had increased its revenue by a factor of four in 2016. We were discussing two things: (1) the 2017 budget and (2) all the things that broke in 2016 that we needed to fix in 2017. After a long, healthy discussion, we did an AMA with the whole company.

I’ve been fortunate to be involved in some extremely high growth companies. It can be a blast, but it’s also daunting. Everyone always has this strange look in their eyes that is a combination of being exhausted while knowing they are on a rocketship ride they are supposed to be enjoying.

During the AMA, I looked around the room a had an insight that most of the people had never experienced this pace of growth before. I suddenly had a thought which I decided to try out on the audience.

“Y’all are experiencing something rare. It happens to a few companies, but not that many. You are currently in a phase where one month of real time is equal to three months of company time. It’s like dog years. You are jamming four years of company time into every year of real time. That’s why it is so intense.”

A lot of head nodding ensued.

Also published on Medium.

  • Karine Wegrzynowicz

    Spot on analysis Brad. I’ve had the “good fortune” to experience this in my career journey and it is a very incredible experience. Once you recognize it for what it is, you can actually harness the power of speed to achieve great things. You also learn how to do things in the most efficient way, and using Lean processes can help tremendously!

  • Paul Graham talked about this ideas in his article on “Want to startup?” http://paulgraham.com/wealth.html

    Key point: Economically, you can think of a startup as a way to compress your whole working life into a few years. Instead of working at a low intensity for forty years, you work as hard as you possibly can for four. This pays especially well in technology, where you earn a premium for working fast.

  • Never a truer word.

    IMHO the toughest thing is being ruthless in re-organizing constantly to remain functionally effective.

  • Achieving true velocity is amazing. Realizing that and not losing pace is even better!