Wikipedia defines a foot-pound as following:
a unit of work or energy in the Engineering and Gravitational Systems in United States customary and imperial units of measure. It is the energy transferred on applying a force of one pound-force (lbf) through a displacement of one foot…. In the United States this unit is often used to specify, for example, the tightness of a bolt or the output of an engine.
In the case of this text, simply units of work. Though the significance of the last sentence is particularly relevant since tightness of bolts and outputs of engines are something I’ve become pretty familiar with over my lifetime.
The importance of ten thousand is a less scientific and a bit more in depth. Sure, ten thousand of anything is considered ‘a lot.’ I consider it kind of another form of forty – as in the Biblical sense, ‘Forty days and forty nights’, and the sometimes-symbolic-sometimes-literal use of this number. This site gives a good overview of the use of forty in scripture.
Throughout the publication, Gladwell repeatedly mentions the “10,000-Hour Rule”, claiming that the key to success in any field is, to a large extent, a matter of practicing a specific task for a total of around 10,000 hours.
There have been a few ten thousand hours to get to this point and if I’m lucky enough, several ten thousand more. Every day is another payment into that ten thousand hour bank (if you seize it for your own), and that’s powerfully motivating to think about when you wake up in the morning.
In short, Ten Thousand Foot-Pounds simply describes the work (and its contents) of my life, contained in this place.