Maximum Achievable

There is an interesting interplay between the desire to do well, and make money. For a long time, many people have focused on the latter, “make money”. But, when you break down what “make money” means, they might say, “To retire comfortably on a nice beach and sip drinks all day.”, or “Be happy”. The later really refers to a physiological state. As soon as one has spent about half an hour on the beach, it is time to do something different.

When we look at our goals in life, there is a point at which we have to stop. That is when we reach the “maximum achievable”. The maximum achievable is beyond what is not physically possible due to the constraints imposed by the system. For instance, one cannot actually have 101%, although one can have “101 Dalmations”. One cannot have -0.10s load time, though one can have 0.10s load time.

Beyond less than about 0.5s load time, the effect becomes negligible. When recording whether or not a runner has made a false start, this is determined by calculating the minimum possible time it takes for the sound to travel from the gun, through the runner’s ears and to his feet. This time is currently set to 0.1s1.

When measuring satisfaction (or rather) dissatisfaction with page load times, below about one second, the “dis” satisfaction tapers off. If one were to turn that around and ask the question, “With what page load time are you satisfied?” The answer might be, well one like this:


This is a flat file php based content management system using a minimum number of php files to generate and serve the page. Note the YSlow grade is near the maximum achievable and page speed grade above the level of statistical significance (normally set at 95%). The page load time is 0.57s, which is less than the one second mark below which it is difficult to determine a difference. (Sound travels about 100 metres in 0.1 seconds, to give a number with which to compare a second.).

Therefore, since at this point in time, when the end of the day comes, we have to reluctantly go home from work, retire and get some sleep, we need to determine a stopping point. Given the best possible stopping point appears to be the maximum achievable in a certain metric, this might be a good point to call it a day… for that metric at least. :)

For real life websites, please see I am currently in the process of trying out a less than one hour short tutorial, where we run your site through, have a look at your site, and then start to walk through the process of improving the score on your site. At this point, this is focused on WordPress websites, as that is the cms with which I am the most familiar, although, of course, the same principles applies to all other websites served up on the internet, as we know it today.

Thanks for listening.


1. Retrieved on May 6, 2015.
2. Retrieved on May 6, 2015.