Urban Dictionary says “Speed Kills” is an expression the British police made up to justify all the money made from speed cameras. That origin story is patently false but also patently funny.
In our world speed matters. I expect readers’ fast-twitch muscles kick in and interpret that to mean faster is better, which ain’t the case. I’ll further amend to argue it’s the mismatching of speeds that causes issues. ￼
A case in point, the SVB collapse. The last hours of this crisis were a function of speed mismatch among the relevant parties. Customers didn’t need to physically go to a bank to withdraw all their money. Initiating the transaction was in the palm of their hand, literally. Same for the banks, their speed matched the customer and $42 billion was withdrawn in hours.
Gone are the day of 1946, Bedford Falls and George Bailey where folks needed to show up for a good ol’ fashioned bank run. Except that the final actor in the SVB drama, the US-banking system and its government tethers, still operates on Bedford Falls speed – bank operating hours, market operating hours, daily cutoff times for Fed transfers, and wire test run requirements…
There was plenty of collateral money available to cover the 42 billion and then some, it was just too slow. Speed mismatch.
A natural disaster strikes and donor awareness is nearly instantaneous. A charity misdeed creates instant, negative press. Decisions to give and not give, respectively, are made right away.
Turnaround time for a thank you, does it match the donor’s expectation speed?
How much turnaround time does your organization require to signoff on decisions big and small? A simple, digital form change for an A/B test can take weeks, months even.
Sometimes the wheels of bureaucracy prevent rash decision making, acting on whims. Often though, bureaucracy slows progress, which, in a vacuum is only a half-problem. Until you realize progress is happening without you, making it a full, big, hairy problem. The lack of pacing, the lack of matching speed.
What about speed the other way, with the sector moving faster than the donor? How about that 12th Giving Tuesday reminder email? Or the 6th email in the matching gift series? Or the mail that seemingly hits days apart in a perpetual onslaught?
Slower, more pacing, more down-time is a much better match to minimize irritation, maximize brand-building and dollars raised.
Speed matters but more accurately, matching of speeds.