Jason Fried and David H. Hansson of 37signals have been an inspiration to the startup community with their strong stand on how they do business. Their first book “Getting Real” targeted developers of web-based software. Rework, their latest book, contains more generic ideas that could be useful for any small business. It consists of 100 ideas, each 2-3 pages long. If you have been following their talks and blog, you’ll see many ideas repeated over and over. I bought this book knowing that I won’t find many new ideas, however it’s nice to have all these gems distilled together in one book. You’ll be reading things you already know, but the important thing is to apply these ideas to your life. I’ll leave you with 10 of my favorite ideas extracted from this book:

  1. Workaholism
    Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. Workaholics try to fix problems by throwing sheer hours at them. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done. Send people home at 5. They get their work done at the office because they have somewhere else to be. They find ways to be more efficient because they have to. If you want something done, ask the busiest person you know. You want busy people.
  2. Marketing is not a department
    Marketing is something everyone in your company is doing 24/7/365. Every time you answer the phone, send an email, someone uses your product, every error message, after-dinner mint, checkout counter, your invoice is marketing.
  3. Draw a line in the sand
    Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. A strong stand is how you attract superfans. When you stand for something, decisions are obvious
  4. Start at the epicenter
    The stuff you have to do is where you should begin. Start at the epicenter. To find the epicenter is to ask yourself this question: “If I took this away, would what I’m selling still exist?” You can take away the onions, the redish, the mustard etc. from a hot dog. Some people may not like your toppings-less dogs, but you’d still have a hot dog stand.
  5. Outside money is Plan Z
    Are you starting your own business to take orders from someone else? You wind up building what investors want instead of what customers want. You give up control. They want to cash out as soon as they can. When you’re just beginning, you have no leverage. That’s a terrible time to enter any financial transaction.  It’s just no worth it.
  6. You need less than you think
    Do you really need six months or can you make something in just two? Do you really need a big office or can you share space or work from home for a while?
  7. Building to flip is building to flop
    You need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy. If your whole strategy is based on leaving, chances are you won’t get far in the first place
  8. Making the call is making progress
    When you put off decisions, they pile up. And piles end up ignored, dealt with haste or thrown out. Commit to making decisions. Decide and move forward.  When you get in that flow of making decisions, you build momentum and boost morale. You’re as likely to make a great call today as you are tomorrow. It doesn’t matter how much you plan, you’ll still get some stuff wrong any way. The longer it takes to develop, the less likely it is to launch.
  9. Build an audience
    An audience can be your secret weapon. Speak, write, blog, tweet, make videos – whatever. Share information that’s valuable and you’ll slowly but surely build a loyal audience.
  10. Nobody likes plastic flowers
    Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Imperfections are real and people respond to real. Show the latest version of what you’re working even if you’re not done yet. It’s OK if it’s not perfect.
August 2, 2010

sarp centel

Sarp is a software developer. He writes about technology, books and software.
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