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Outlier’s Path

Your Slowest Day

By mid-February, the honeymoon period of the new year is over, plans are locked, and execution against our bold 2024 goals becomes daunting. Such is the sentiment of founders I’ve spoken with across seed, venture, growth, and public companies in the last two weeks. As challenging as navigating and executing against 2023, last year is over, and 2024 presents new challenges and an even steeper hill to climb. In essence, this is the price of progress, and it never gets easier. I hope you are inspired, but if you are sad or scared by this thought, imagine the alternative.

Two weeks ago, I asked two Series A founders why it took them four days to respond to an email. They replied, “I’m struggling to juggle multiple responsibilities…has taken a toll on…hiring, non-urgent email communication, and investor comm…I’d love to learn how the best founders deal with spikes of work.” Ironically, the email chain introduced them to founders ahead of them in company formation. If you think these are just the struggles of early-stage companies, I had a similar conversation with a public company’s Founder/CEO last week.

We all have the same 24 hours in a day, yet some people can take on more and more, and others are constantly overwhelmed. The differences involve prioritizing, planning, team building, empowering others, and verifying their work. While this sounds simple, only some try to learn from the best who are a few chapters ahead and put in the cycles to work across all five dimensions.

At Zappos, we used to tell young and overwhelmed managers, “if all goes well, today will be the slowest day you’ll ever have.” Whether you are a founder, manager, or individual contributor, I sincerely hope this will also be true for you.

Prepare for success and make today the slowest day you’ll ever have!