Things move much faster in the long term than in the short term

I often have to remind myself that things move much faster in the long term than in the short term. There is a constant tension between urgency and patience — “why isn’t this done yet?” vs “i know it’ll get done and will be great”

It’s so easy to get frustrated with what feels like day to day slogging through the same things and same routines. I remember at every company I’ve worked at that things never get shipped fast enough. Some common refrains:

“we’ve been working on this feature for months, it seems so simple, why isn’t it live?” or “oh man, are we really talking about that feature again? That comes up every year, why isn’t it done?”

But the reality is it is kind of amazing how much happens in a short time. While you may look back over a month and feel like nothing happened, when you expand that to a year or multiple years, it’s kind of amazing to realize just how much has happened.

I just started reflecting on how fast things have happened in our industry just over the last 5 years. The picture above is the most popular phone of 2007. It’s a Nokia 6300. This feels like the long ago past already. It’s hard to believe that it was just 5 years ago when most people didn’t have iPhones, the “smart”est phones were Blackberries, there were no Android phones in market, no tablets, and most everyone I knew including me still used a Windows computer - either laptop or desktop - every day. Facebook was a “walled garden” with no platform outside of the spammy apps, Twitter was just an early site to share breakfast that no one used, and Instagram wasn’t even a gram yet. Just for contrast the most popular TV show of 2007 was American Idol — still on TV today, and the most popular artist was Rihanna - still a top artist today.

So every time I feel frustrated that things are moving really slowly, wonder why something hasn’t shipped yet, why we can’t create change even faster, I am now trying to take a deep breath and imagine a world 5 years from now. It’s hard to envision just how different it’s going to be. And it’ll be here before we know it.

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