There are a ton of books out there aimed at those of us in the early stages of business. It’s not often you find one that is as applicable to the software world as this book. It’s not surprising though, given that the authors are the software company that brought us Basecamp and invented Ruby on Rails. That’s about as spot on as it gets to our industry don’t you think?
Rework rocks for a few reasons.
- They’ve done a damn good job of keeping it short and to the point, while
- giving you heaps of ‘aha’ and ‘thank god, I actually am on the right track’ moments
37 Signals have defied a lot of the traditional thinking when it comes to starting a a business. And the whole point of this book is “and you can too”. As an example, it encourages simplicity in products. You don’t have to create a product that does everything your competitors do and more – creating a features arms race. I sure as hell have been guilty of this. When we first released Chimp Rewriter it did so much stuff. Now each revision we’re basically pulling out features that barely anyone uses, and having it do the remaining stuff better. And with the development of Job On Time, it gives me a lot of faith in what we are doing -> crazy simple job scheduling for the non technical.
Some of my takeaways
- Planning and forecasting based on guesswork is a joke.
- You don’t (and shouldn’t be) working 100 hour weeks.
- Staying small is actually a good thing.
- Getting funding is a slippery slope which almost always results in you losing your company.
- Pick something and do that something really well. Don’t do a million things. This includes stripping features sometimes.
- Make decisions quickly in the early days. Every tool you use or decision you make does not have to be perfect.
- Be passionate and have an opinion. It’s ok to say you think a competitor sucks and say why.
- It’s cool if customers outgrow you. You can’t be everything to everyone.
- Don’t obsess (or even think about) the competition
- Delight customers
- Hire good communicators, and only when you REALLY need to hire
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