Fast vs Good

quote-Muhammad-Ali-im-so-fast-that-last-night-i-89725I love this quote, but I’m starting to wonder if it’s a good approach to research. One company I work with has a promise on their website that they will respond to any client email or voicemail within 15 minutes. I used to think this was an admirable approach, but lately I’ve been thinking the opposite. Here are my thoughts:


  • If I respond to every email within 15 minutes, I spend all day responding to email. I never get to retreat into my “concentration cave” which is a state of mind, not a place, by the way. It is super important for any kind of quality work from me. Don’t my clients want to know I’m turning out quality work– not just responding to their emails?


  • Very few (ok, none) of my clients are actually saving babies. 99% of the time their crises are on the level of “we have a deadline,” not “someone is going to die if you don’t revise this survey NOW.”


  • I’m still very responsive! Two-three hours is usually my outside limit for answering any email during regular business hours. This gives me plenty of time to concentrate on projects, drive somewhere, let a plane take off, or have a nap (just kidding, I never nap) while still making sure my clients feel taken care of.

Thoughts? Is a 15 minute response time what we should all strive for– or is there really no need for me to be a research version of Muhammad Ali?

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Founder of Southpaw Insights