Instant Messaging — When not being instant is right…

Cosmic Paladin
3 min readJul 3, 2018


Be Quick, Or Be Dead”, sang Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden’s 1992 Fear Of The Dark album. Then there is this friend of mine who says he drives so fast that he always misses the speed limit sign.

As you spend more time in the corporate world, the word “ASAP” gets shoved into you as a demand and you assume the role of Lady Karma to pass it onto the people junior to you. Damn, I typed in so fast that I missed a thought — for the uninitiated ASAP = As Soon As Possible.

Pic Courtesy : Peanuts

While satisfying the urge to squash that open notification count has been good to most us in the middle management and above, dealing with half a dozen chat engines is always feels like an accomplishment. A trustworthy friend cared enough to walked me thru the path of caution and flip sides to my well known behaviour.

As you grow up the ladder, you get closer to the top most execs who are forced to make quick assessments and hardly any chance for a face to face interaction with you. This means, your lady luck has to work harder to ensure you get those tiny pockets of opportunity where you can demonstrate your skill, attitude, power, toughness, emotional stability and all those leadership qualities. Its like that 30 seconds you have to make your pitch in an elevator to an executive, no second chance.

Jeff Bezos has a simple criteria when he chooses his people — the number of decisions one has taken that has led to a success. Simple? Yes. Easy? Hell No !

Long story short, in my pursuit of quick responses with all the best and right intents, I found myself falling short, on many instances for which I had to do one of the following — get back with an additional response, follow up with another answer with a “adding to it….” clause and very few “sorry, I was wrong and here is the right one…”. The situations involved a CxO at a prospect site about to sign a multi-million dollar deal, an architect firefighting, and my own boss trying to make some critical decisions.

Be Quick Or Be Dead, now had a whole new meaning for me — CHANGE my response style. So I took a 21 day challenge where I retract each time I had an urge to pound in an answer and then reply at the RIGHT TIME, with the RIGHT MESSAGE. I crossed 30 days and here is a graph. I tallied the number of times I prevented myself in given a super-ultra-instant response and as I did that, assessed the difficulty I faced in achieving it and rated it on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the highest. I’ve avoided a phenomenal 400+ instances where I could’ve messed it up and at my level, that would be disastrous in terms of reputation for myself, the product and team as I represent them.

(Y Axis — Number of instances || X Axis — Number of days)

The difficulty level though is at a higher level of 7–8, that sucks out a lot of my energy, I fall back on Bruce Dickinson and Ozzy Osbourne to feed me with excessive energy :-)

If a highly emotional soul hell bent on being myself all the time, could make a progress such as above, am 100% sure you can do better. So the next time you wanna drop a super-ultra-instant reply, on that ironic “instant messenger” ask yourself questions like these : is this right?, will this help?, is the coverage OK?, is the intense justified?, am I putting someone in harms way? And this processing is where you have to be quick, super-ultra-quick!

Happy replying folks! *goes away for clearing 300+ messages :D