The founders of 37signals, a company that makes web-based applications for small businesses, have compiled their years of wisdom and lessons learned in their book Rework.
Authors Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have very strong opinions about how businesses should be run. Their ideas run counter to the conventional wisdom and that is exactly why you need to pay attention.
37signals has previously put out two very good books, Defensive Design for the Web and Getting Real. These two previous works were more focused on building websites or web applications. However, Rework is broader in its appeal and relevance.
Rework is a collection of essays that are applicable to any business, business owner, and even those working as employees.
If you’re familiar with the 37signals blog or have seen either of the authors present at a conference, many of the concepts in the book will be familiar. However, Rework consolidates all these nuggets of wisdom in one place so you don’t have to dig through blog or video archives to extract the principles for your business.
In addition to the insightful and thought provoking essays, the book is full of great illustrations that help visually convey the powerful message each essay contains.
Some of my favorite essays in the book include:
Scratch your own itch – if you build a product or service for yourself, you’ll best know what it needs versus having to guess what your target market wants
Less mass – cut free from the long-term contracts, debt, and other commitments that reduce your ability to change and react quickly
Focus on what won’t change – don’t chase after the latest and greatest fade, stick to the customer care-abouts that don’t change over time
Sell your by-products – in the process of doing your job, you create something, even if it is knowledge that you can share with others
Good enough is fine – quit polishing your product endlessly before launching it to the public, the sooner it is out there the sooner you can sell it and learn from it
Don’t copy – copying your competition is a losing game, you are always playing catch-up
Put everyone on the front lines – when everyone at the company knows the needs, care-abouts, and frustrations of the customer, then you can best serve customers
Decisions are temporary – you can always change your mind later and that is fine
Recommendation: Read This Book
Rework will make you rethink a lot of what you assume is the standard way to do business and work. The essays are short, concise, and to the point. There is no fluff to bore you or distract you from finishing the book.
Read the book and see how you can take the principles you’ll learn and shake up how you work for the better.