Monday, December 26, 2005

Expensive Procrastination

In Paul Graham's article on Good and Bad Procrastination he says :

"I've wondered a lot about why startups are most productive at the very beginning, when they're just a couple guys in an apartment. The main reason may be that there's no one to interrupt them yet. In theory it's good when the founders finally get enough money to hire people to do some of the work for them. But it may be better to be overworked than interrupted. Once you dilute a startup with ordinary office workers-- with type-B procrastinators-- the whole company starts to resonate at their frequency. They're interrupt-driven, and soon you are too."

Having worked for startups and conventional companies, I could not agree more with the effects of diluting the workforce with type B procrastinators ( to paraphrase Graham's definition of type B - people who lack the ability to prioritize and spend a bulk of their time on projects with minimal impact at the risk of jeopardizing what is important. I would argue that they lack the ability to discern between strategic and tactical objectives).

Type Bs are the bane of almost all organizations and they form the majority of the workforce. By the sheer strength of their numbers they are able to make the organization "resonate to their frequency". Explains why real work gets done spasmodically between a myriad of interruptions and why so little is accomplished for the time and money expended.

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