Joel on Software's Fire and Motion essay has been in my head for over a decade.
In it he describes two phenomenon: one is the trouble developers sometimes have getting the actual drudgery of coding underway, and then how unstoppable they can feel when they really get on a roll. (I've heard it likened to a giant rolling stone... tough to get started, but also capable of enormous momentum once it's under way.)
He also describes this as a deliberate strategy companies can employ, keeping the number of checkbox technologies needed so that rivals are always kept with their heads down, meeting new checkboxes, and never able to really fire back.
(Random other, newer article from Tal Bereznitskey: 7 lessons Soccer taught me about management)