Why I love a phrase used by startups (even though I hate startup culture)

Move fast and break things.

If you look in former warehouses in major cities, I bet you’d find a lot of tech bros wearing t-shirts with this inscription.

Being disruptive can be great for consumers (say, travelers who use Airbnb) but also awful for non-consumers (say, long-time residents of Amsterdam who now have different neighbors every three days).

The “move fast and break things” part of startup culture seems tied to a lack of respect for others, for existing norms, and for those who are not “on the cutting edge” of technology.

That said, I do like this phrase—this idea—if we apply it personal decision-making.

Ever spend hours reading about how to build muscle, lose weight, or get fit? Instead, you could move fast (e.g. sign up for a yoga class before you can stop yourself) and break things (e.g. your habit of watching TV after work).

Move fast, break an old habit, and try something new.

If yoga turns out to be not for you, that’s all right. Try something else. It’s faster, and you learn more, when you try something that turns out not to be the answer, than when you never try anything at all, and you’re always only wondering, wondering, wondering.

I suppose I like applying “move fast and break things” to personal decisions because it’s another way of saying:

Try more stuff.


— Peter

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