Time is the Great Equalizer

Recently I was talking to an entrepreneur about competitors and market strategies. Then, he said something that stuck with me: time is the great equalizer. That is, all of us only have 24 hours in the day. Competitors don’t get more time. Markets don’t get more time. Yes, some firms have more resources, but they don’t have more time.

Here are a few thoughts on time as the great equalizer:

  • No matter how hard I work, there’s always more that I want to accomplish, and I’m not alone
  • Software engineering, unlike most other creative efforts, has some of the most incredible economies of scale (one small team’s product can be used by millions of people as readily as it can by 10 people)
  • Teams with the best people can run circles around teams with regular people, and time compounds the quality of work the best people perform
  • While resources are important, most startups that win do so with limited resources in their first few years

Entrepreneurs would do well to realize that everyone is constrained by time and that it’s the great equalizer.

What else? What are some more thoughts on the idea that time is the great equalizer?

4 thoughts on “Time is the Great Equalizer

  1. Although I recognize that time is constant, I would not say that it is the great equalizer. If it passes the same rate for all, then it never can equalize unmatched assets and resources.

    I do agree with the premise of your post that time is a huge factor. I think that is the big take away here. If the idea (or market) is compounded by execution (or team quality) then time can march those affects forward faster. Basically I’m nodding my head at your third point.

    If concerns are primarily around competitors or market timing (a small subset of overall strategy), then the race is lost. No one ever won a race by looking sideways or waiting for a better gun to fire.

  2. So true! It seems like no matter how fast you work, there still isn’t enough time to get everything you want done in one day…whether you have lots of resources or not you can only do so much.

  3. This is a very interesting and important point that employees also need to understand. So often in the staffroom staff complain about ‘why don’t the management do this or that’, ‘it’s crazy that they can’t …..’ and so on. But anyone who has ever owned a company and been in the management position know that the amount of time needed to complete all these amazing tasks is the number one problem, particularly if you are a small company, and you are doing many day to day jobs as well as trying to move your company to the next level.

    The key for management here I think is to be able to prioritise their development strategy and also by very decisive. One of the biggest problems company’s have is the inability to make a decision quickly.

    Time is of the essence, so they say!

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