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Paul Adams – Moving Fast: Why Speed Wins, How Complexity Kills Momentum, and How to Handle This Tension As You Grow

August 16, 2022

When a company has clear differentiation (the reason their customers choose them over others), everything in the business gets easier.

But a company’s differentiation only lasts as long as their ability to improve faster than others can copy. And one thing guaranteed about being successfully differentiated, is that you will be copied. Therefore speed of executing new differentiation is critical.

Success also means growth: more people, more teams, new roles. And as a company grows, it inherently becomes more complex. Complexity will kill momentum, which kills moving fast. Sadly, the default is often to slow down, get copied, get beaten by someone faster.

If you’re fast, this is your opportunity. If you’re slow, this is your biggest threat.

The good news for all sides is that moving fast is something you can control. As Intercom has grown from 10 to 100 to over 1000 people, we have obsessed with speed at every stage. And every time we have slowed down, we have been able to introspect, adjust, and move fast again at our new scale. This talk will explain how we do it, with pragmatic advice for all sizes of team.


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