Slow Down to Speed Up


This post is by Clint Watson, former art gallery owner and founder of BoldBrush, known for FASO Artist Websites, the leading provider of professional artist websites, the $38,000+ BoldBrush Painting Competition and the free daily art marketing newsletter, FineArtViews. As a self-proclaimed “art fanatic”, Clint delights that BoldBrush’s downtown San Antonio, Texas office is full of original art, as is his home office which he shares with his two feline assistants Kiara and Lilly. You can connect with Clint on TwitterFacebook or his personal blog at


Moving fast in business is important, because speed is power.

As I’ve gotten older, more experienced and, hopefully, wiser, I’ve learned that going faster often means slowing down first.

In our business, we often have great ideas.  But those ideas are, initially, half-baked, not fully formed, need some experimentation, etc.  When I was younger, I would get excited about an idea and just jump in enthusiastically and start working on it:  Start coding it, start a blog post, start emailing people, whatever.  I would jump right to tactics and implementation.  If the “idea” happened to be email that needed a response, I would just fire off a quick reply to “get it off my plate.”

I now understand clearly, however, that everything we do can be considered a bet.  We wager our time, resources and ideas in the hope our project is a success.  And we can only make so many bets.

Therefore, we want to be sure to only make the right bets with the best chances of success.  And those bets we do choose to make – we need to make them as small as possible in the beginning.  We should only make big bets when we are nearly sure that they are the right ones to take.

One of the worst things a tech company can do is have developers build a bunch of software that never gets used.  That’s a wasted bet.  The next worse thing is to build a big system that fails.  That’s also a wasted bet.

You want to make bets as small as possible by building small systems or even by outsourcing when you are able. 

So, now, when we have an idea, I have a simple rule:   I “load” the proposed “bet” into my mind as the top idea in my mind.   And then I sleep on it.  Sometime I even ponder it for a few days.

I have found, that slowing down in this way allows my mind to fully form the idea, to consider ways to try the bet in a way that minimizes required resources, and even to consider if we should pursue the idea at all.  Sometimes I realize while the idea was exciting, it’s not a direction that’s compatible with the business or lifestyle we’re building.

This initial slow down allows us to hammer the idea into something that can be done fast and cheap which, in the end, allows us to move an order of magnitude faster on the idea.  Or, in the case, of an email, allows me to develop real clarity around the topic and to respond in the most positive and complete way possible.

Slow down to go faster.



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