Speed vs. Velocity: The never-ending struggle of the early-stage startup

I’ve been thinking a lot about this recently, the idea of speed vs. velocity. Understanding the difference is essential, especially for you early-stage startups out there.

Here is a quick blurb from britannica.com on speed vs. velocity:

“Speed is the time rate at which an object is moving along a path, while velocity is the rate and direction of an object’s movement.”

Notice the big difference there? Velocity is the rate AND direction. You can be driving 100 miles-per-hour but if you’re driving in circles then a velocity of 5 miles-per-hour is significantly better, simply because you have direction.

So many startups spend too little time focusing on velocity and care only about speed. For years it has been “move fast and break things”, where it should be, “move fast towards that direction and break things”. Simple but true.

Now to the hard part, what is your direction? What is your vision? Once you figure this out you can increase your speed.