Am I Actually Saving Time?

Thinking long-term is a skill set I’m continually trying to improve.

This effort is necessary because, for a lot of us, our brain naturally bends to the here, now, immediate.

This is why, even though we know every customer and client has a tremendous lifetime value, we tend to focus on what they’ll spend today. And then we make marketing and business decisions based on what we can get today.

And sometimes those decisions sacrifice the potential lifetime value of a customer.


I caught myself doing something this week that is a perfect microcosm of short-term thinking.

You know how you’ll amass a list of companies who, for one reason or another, you gave them your email address and now you’re treated to their marketing emails? They’re not spam. It’s from legitimate companies you either have or would like to do business with.

They email you something anywhere from once a week to several times a day. And while I like these companies, their marketing emails start to build up.

I was elated when I found an email app for my phone that made deleting emails super-fast. One swipe and they’re gone. Because going through the unsubscribe process is such a hassle and takes too long.

So, for a while, I’ve had this daily swipe fest routine and it was great. All the junk sales emails gone fast. I was saving time.

But was I?

I started to calculate my “lifetime value” of time spent deleting these stupid emails. And even though unsubscribing takes way longer than swipe deleting one email, it’s way faster than weeks of deletion.

The food for thought?

What are you currently doing that feels faster or more efficient in the here and now, but under scrutiny fails the long-term test?

If you thought of something, can you do something about it now? I encourage you to take the two extra minutes today to save yourself hours of the future.

And as you do, I’ll be here cheering you on.

 – Zac Smith, VC