Some examples of people quickly accomplishing ambitious things together.
- BankAmericard. Dee Hock was given 90 days to launch the BankAmericard card (which became the Visa card), starting from scratch. He did. In that period, he signed up more than 100,000 customers. Source: Electronic Value Exchange.
- P-80 Shooting Star. Kelly Johnson and his team designed and delivered the P-80 Shooting Star, the first jet fighter used by the USAF, in 143 days. Source: Skunk Works.
- Marinship. "Shipyard construction was begun promptly after a telegram from the United States Maritime Commission was received by the W. A. Bechtel Company. The telegram was received on 2 March, 1942, the Sausalito site selected on 3 March, and a proposal to build the shipyard presented in Washington DC was made on 9 March. Ten minutes into the presentation U. S. Maritime Commission administrators told the W.A. Bechtel Company to build the shipyard. Physical construction began on 28 March. Construction start was delayed two weeks to allow the 42 families living on Pine Point, which was scheduled to be demolished to build the shipyard, to move." The first ship was completed on September 15 of that year, 197 days after receiving the telegram. Source: Marinship on the Fast Track.
- The Spirit of St. Louis. In 1927, Donald Hall and Charles Lindbergh designed and built Spirit in 60 days. "To determine the amount of fuel the plane would need, Lindbergh and Hall drove to the San Diego Public Library at 820 E St. Using a globe and a piece of string, Lindbergh estimated the distance from New York to Paris. It came out to 3,600 statute miles, which Hall calculated would require 400 gallons of gas." Source: Ryan Airlines gave Lindbergh wings.
- Apollo 8. On August 9 1968, NASA decided that Apollo 8 should go to the moon. It launched on December 21 1968, 134 days later. Source: Apollo Spacecraft Chronology.
- The Alaska Highway. Starting in 1942, 1,700 miles of highway were built over the course of 234 days, connecting eastern British Columbia with Fairbanks, Alaska. Source: The Alaska Highway.
- Disneyland. Walt Disney's conception of "The Happiest Place on Earth" was brought to life in 366 days. Source: Under Construction: A look inside Walt Disney’s Disneyland.
- The Empire State Building. Construction was started and finished in 410 days. Source: Empire State Building.
- The Pentagon. The construction of the world's largest office building was led by Brehon Somervell. The decision to proceed with the project was made on a Thursday evening. Initial drawings were completed that Sunday. Construction started two months later, on September 11, 1941, and was finished on January 15, 1943, 491 days later. When asked when something was needed, Somervell's go-to response was "the day before yesterday". Source: The Pentagon.
- Boeing 747. Boeing decided to start the 747 program in March 1966. The first 747 was completed on September 30 1968, about 930 days later. Source: Boeing 747: A History.
- The New York Subway. The first contract was awarded on February 21, 1900. 28 stations opened and general operation commenced on October 27, 1904, 4.7 years later. In April 2000, the MTA decided to build the Second Avenue Subway. The first phase, with 3 stations, opened on January 1, 2017. Source: The New York Times.
- USS Nautilus. The US decided to build the world's first nuclear submarine in July 1951. It entered service on September 30 1954, 1,173 days later. Source: Cold War Submarines.
- Shenzhen. In one year, between 1998 and 1999, Shenzhen added 1 million residents (a 22% increase), growing from 4.4 million to 5.4 million people. Source: PopulationStat.
- Amazon Prime. Amazon started to implement the first version of Amazon Prime in late 2004 and announced it on February 2, 2005, six weeks later. Source: The making of Amazon Prime.
- Luckin Coffee. Luckin Coffee was founded in October 2017. Their first stores opened on January 1, 2018. On September 3, 2018—245 days later—they passed 1,000 directly-operated stores in China. Source: Why is Luckin Coffee the best experimental field for Tencent Smart Retail?
San Francisco proposed a new bus lane on Van Ness in 2001. Its opening was recently delayed to 2020, yielding a project duration of around 7,000 days. “The project has been delayed due to an increase of wet weather since the project started,” said Paul Rose, a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesperson. The project will cost $189 million, i.e. $60,000 per meter. The Alaska Highway, mentioned above, constructed across remote tundra, cost $793 per meter (in 2019 dollars).
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