Which Are You–Good, Fast, or Cheap?

A sign on the shop floor of a manufacturing facility showed a triangle. Each corner was labeled: one was GOOD, another was FAST, the third was CHEAP. The caption under the triangle said PICK ANY TWO.

It makes sense to me. If you are cheap and fast, you probably aren’t very good. If you are good and fast,  you can and should charge a premium fee. If you are cheap and good, you probably don’t allow customers to rush you.

If you are all three — cheap, good, fast — you are under constant pressure and probably not making that much money.

Which are  you — good, fast, or cheap?


734 thoughts on “Which Are You–Good, Fast, or Cheap?

  • I am good, because quality is one non-negotiable item as far as I’m concerned. As for the other two — well, let’s just say that the faster I’m asked to be, the less cheap I become.

  • I’ve used a similar analogy for years. Great work takes time, talent and money.

    You decrease the time, then you automatically increase the cost and talent requirements.

    If you decrease the talent, then you increase both cost and time.

    And finally, if you decrease the cost, then you increase the time required to do the work and you still need the talent.

    The bottom line: you need all three to solve a given problem. As the waterline goes down on one, you automatically raise the level of the other two.

    I’ve found this quite useful in negotiations. Every one gets it.

  • If I have to pick two out of three, I will choose good and fast. Quick thinking allows you to create a concept fast, and once finished, you have spare time to look back on it and make sure that it is something worth of presenting an audience.

    Being cheap is only good for commodity businesses because it’s the nature of the beast. For service providers, everyone should aspire to be good first, and then fast.

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