Relax, I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about a book that I just read called Rework. Many of the points made in this business book are controversial, against common sense and against our own beliefs. But, I love it for that. I had this book in my reading list for a while now and I finally read it. The authors of the book are the Co-founders of 37signals Jason Fried and David Hansson. I had the honor to talk to Jason Fried (via Skype) during an entrepreneur class back in ESADE, and I remember very well his answer during that day.
I must say that this book had a big impact on me and on how I’ll manage things in my startup. I’d love to share some of the interesting thoughts that I ran into while reading the book. Below are some quotes from the book:
1- “Another common misconception: You need to learn from your mistakes. What do you really learn from mistakes? You might learn what not to do again, but how valuable is that? You still don’t know what you should do next“. That goes against one of my previous posts titeled “Celebrate Your Failure“!!
2- “You can turn a bunch of great ideas into a crappy product real fast by trying to do them all at once. You just can’t do everything you want to do and do it well“, they go on later and denote a whole chapter titeled “Say no by default“. That conclusion goes well with what I meant in the “The Dragon Stage” post.
3- “Don’t believe that “customer is always right” stuff. Making a few vocal customers happy isn’t worth it if it ruins the product for everyone else”
4- “How should you keep track of what customers want? Don’t. Listen, but then forget what people said.” Then they explain “The requests that really matter are the ones you’ll hear over and over. After a while, you won’t be able to forget them”
5- “Why grow?” is a whole chapter arguing that people are obsessed with becoming big. He continues with asking “What is about growth and business? why is expansion always the goal? What’s the attraction of big besides ego? What’s wrong with finding the right size and staying there?“. This is one of Jason’s most famous arguments, he argue’s that in many cases staying small is better for the business. His multi-million company 37signals that runs many successful products such as Basecamp and Campfire have only 35 employees!!
6- In an interview with Fastcompany 2 days ago Jason said that “My business icon is my cleaning lady”, he carries on explaining:
“She’s on her own, she cleans people’s homes, she’s incredibly nice. She brings flowers every time she cleans, and she’s just respectful and nice and awesome. Why can’t more people be like that? She’s been doing it some twenty-odd years, and that’s just an incredible success story. To me that’s far more interesting than a tech company that’s hiring a bunch of people, just got their fourth round of financing for 12 million dollars, and they’re still losing money. That’s what everyone talks about as being exciting, but I think that’s an absolutely disgusting scenario when it comes to business.”
I hope you found these points useful and insightful as I did. I also highly recommend reading the whole book, or at least following Jason in twitter @jasonfried.
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