Book Overview - ReWork15 Mar 2011
With it’s short two to three page chapters, ReWork seemed like a simple enough book to read and go through. The ideas were very different than anything I’ve read and after researching the company 37 Signals I understand why, they are essentially an old fashioned profits company using modern day tools. The concepts and principles they address would have worked in the days of Henry Ford with the Model T or Ray Crock with his burgers. Focus on making money and on the customers, not on anything else. The best line in the book is that they don’t build their software for the Fortune 500 companies, they design them for the Fortune 5 Million small businesses that need good products. I loved their brash and to the point ideas which I’ll share a bit below chapter by chapter.
The new reality – This explained the new realities of business, very good jumping off point. TAKEDOWNS
Ignore the real world – This helps you focus on your business and not the competition. Learning from mistakes is overrated – Winners always win again, losers rarely get a second chance. Planning is guessingWhy grow? – Stop planning for your success and start making it. Workaholism – The employee you think is doing the most work may be wasting the most time, look for efficiency over dedication. Enough with “entrepreneurs” – Rename yourself as a Starter instead of an Entrepreneur or be forced to be looked at as a joke. GO
Make a dent in the universe – Do something truly amazing in your industry. Scratch your own itch – Solve a problem that you want solved before you solve it for anyone else. Start making something – Don’t just talk about the product you think would be great, make it yourself. No time is no excuse – You can work a full time job and still follow your passions, if you really want it. Draw a line in the sand – Don’t add things just because your customers want it, you make your products great, not your customers. Mission statement impossible – Don’t just say you have a mission statement, let your work show others. Outside money is Plan Z – Don’t trust anyone else to finance your business, it will lead to the downfall or loss of your business. You need less than you think – You don’t need fancy offices to run a business, restrict yourself on purpose. Start a business, not a start-up – Forget about starting a business just for the sake of starting one, create something with real value. Building to flip is building to flop – If you’re not doing what you love now, you’re in the wrong business. Less mass – Don’t try to grow big, make your profits grow big but keep your company as small as possible. PROGRESS
Embrace constraints – Artificially restrain yourself and you find out just how much you can accomplish. Build half, not half-ass – Don’t add all the features your market gives, do the ones you think are most important. Start at the epicenter – Get in, get down and get dirty. Ignore the details early on – Don’t worry about the details, worry about the big picture. Making the call is making progress – Sell, sell and sell some more. Be a curator – Be careful with what your company is doing and how it’s doing it. Throw less at the problem – Don’t use money as a means to solve a problem, use your brain. Focus on what won’t change – Features come and go, the basics are forever. Tone is in your fingers – Enough said. Sell your by-products – Recycle your short comings and ideas as a by product of what you do. Launch now – Don’t start tomorrow something you can do today. PRODUCTIVITY
Illusions of agreement – Get it down now, not get it down in writing. Reasons to quit – Be willing to quit and move on to something better. Interruption is the enemy of productivity – Have a time of silence at your company, a few hours of just work no communication. Meetings are toxic – Don’t start them or have them and if you do restrict them to less than 30 minutes. Good enough is fine – Trying to be Great is the enemy of the Good. Quick wins – Getting in quickly is better than a slow loss due to perfection. Don’t be a hero – Don’t try to save something you don’t want to save, focus on the now not the past. Go to sleep – Get rest, you won’t be any better at something if your exhausted. Your estimates suck – Over estimate and under promise. Long lists don’t get done – Don’t make lists, make decisions of what you can do now. Make tiny decisions – Same as the last chapter. COMPETITORS
Don’t copy – Imitation is the great form of getting to second place. Decommoditize your product – Make something that no one else can compete with. Pick a fight – Find your opponent and be better and more agile then they are. Underdo your competition – Give less features than your competitors by making it simpler for your users. Who cares what they’re doing? – Ignore the noise, focus on your company, products and customers and forget about the rest. EVOLUTION
Say no by default – Be willing to tell people no and then find out if what they want is a good idea. Let your customers outgrow you – Be willing to offer your competitions number to a customer that needs more than you can provide. Don’t confuse enthusiasm with priority – Focus on priorities more than feelings. Be at-home good – Keep your home in good company. Don’t write it down – Do things now and not later if you can. PROMOTION
Welcome obscurity – Be glad that no one except for your customers know about you, keep competition in the dark. Build an audience – Create a community of people that like what you do. Out-teach your competition – Train your customers, don’t just sell to them. Emulate chefs – Do what celebrity cooks do. Go behind the scenes – Show your audience how you run your company. Nobody likes plastic flowers – Be honest and direct to your customers, not fake and pretty. Press releases are spam – Ignore the press crowd, they hinder more than help. Forget about the Wall Street Journal – Media is self serving and only wants their interests over yours. Drug dealers get it right – Emulate Drug dealers not in what they sell but how they run their businesses. Marketing is not a department – Teach everyone in your company how to handle marketing, not just a select few. The myth of the overnight sensation – If you do it right people will think you came out of nowhere when you’ve been around for decades. HIRING
Do it yourself first – Try a job first before you hire someone to do it. Hire when it hurts – Only hire someone when it’s costing you real money to do it yourself. Pass on great people – Turn down great hires for the right kind of employees. Strangers at a cocktail party – Don’t allow your business to be come too impersonal, know everyone personally. Resumes are ridiculous – Ignore a resume, test out employees and then try them on a temporary basis. Years of irrelevance – Forget about the work history, look at innovation. Forget about formal education – College is good but not the defining factor for hiring. Everybody works – You need to work as hard as your people, only then do you show them true leadership. Hire managers of one – Hire people that don’t need to be managed. Hire great writers – Hire people with exceptional writing skills, this is important for any position. The best are everywhere – Your best hires can come from anywhere, be willing to look there too. Test-drive employees – Hire people on a temp basis and then take them on full time if they work out. DAMAGE CONTROL
Own your bad news – Be honest and forthcoming when you make a mistake. Speed changes everything – Be quick to respond to problems, don’t linger thinking about how you’ll spin it. How to say you’re sorry – Be sorry when it’s your fault and don’t pretend you’re perfect. Put everyone on the front lines – Have everyone be accountable directly to a customer. Take a deep breath – Get through problems with a sense of collective patience and calmness. CULTURE
You don’t create a culture – Figure out who your employees are, not who you want them to be. Decisions are temporary – Be willing to change your companies direction at the drop of a dime, literally. Skip the rock stars – Don’t hire the famous guy to solve a problem, there’s no real proof that he can solve yours. They’re not thirteen – Your employees are all adults, treat them as such and don’t coddle them like children. Send people home at 5:00 – Make everyone leave when it’s time to leave, they will be better for it. Don’t scar on the first cut – You’re going to get burned, deal with it and move on. Sound like you – Be yourself in business Four-letter words – Be willing to curse if the situation demands it, again be yourself. ASAP is poison – Prioritize what needs priority, don’t make everything a priority. CONCLUSION
Inspiration is perishable – Your ideas will fade away or no longer be good, work on them now not later. These ideas are powerful in the right hands so I definately suggest anyone either running a business or planning on starting one read this. A must read for the Technology crowd as well.