Rework is a book with startup/business advice from the guys of 37signals – a Chicago-based company probably best known for their online project management tool Basecamp and the open source framework Ruby on Rails.
This book feels like the 2nd edition of their previous book, Getting Real. Beside the well-done art work there isn't much new content...
Other people's failures are just that: other people's failures.
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.
When something succeeds, you know what worked – and you can do it again. And the next time, you'll probably do it even better.
Failure is not a prerequisite for success.
Writing a plan makes you feel in control of things you can't actually control.
Why don't we just call plans what they really are: guesses.
Give up on the guesswork. Decide what you're going to do this week, not this year. Figure out the next most important thing and do that. Make decisions right before you do something, not far in advance.
Don't be insecure about aiming to be a small business. Anyone who runs a business that's sustainable and profitable, whether it's big or small, should be proud.
If all you do is work, you're unlikely to have sound judgements. Your values and decision making wind up skewed.
To do great work, you need to feel that you're making a difference.
Don't sit around and wait for someone else to make the change you want to see.
The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use. That lets you design what you know – and you'll figure out immediately whether or not what you're making is any good.
What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.
When you want something bad enough, you make the time – regardless of your other obligations.
The perfect time never arrives. If you constantly fret about timing things perfectly, they'll never happen.
We're just as proud of what our products don't do as we are of what they do.
There's a world of difference between truly standing for something and having a mission statement that says you stand for something.
Standing for something isn't just about writing it down. It's about believing it and living it.
There's nothing easier than spending other people's money.
You need less than you think.
A business without a path to profit isn't a business, it's a hobby.
The more expensive it is to make a change, the less likely you are to make it.
Limited resources force you to make do with what you've got. There's no room for waste. And that forces you to be creative.
Getting to great starts by cutting out stuff that's merely good.
When you start anything new, there are forces pulling you in a variety of directions. There's the stuff you could do, the stuff you want to do, and the stuff you have to do. The stuff you have to do is where you should begin.
Ignore the details – for a while. Nail the basics first and worry about the specifics later.
Don't wait for the perfect solution. Decide and move forward.
Decisions are progress.
You don't have to live with a decision forever. If you make a mistake, you can correct it later.
Stick to what's truly essential. Pare things down until you're left with only the most important stuff. Then do it again. You can always add stuff back in later if you need to.
The core of your business should be built around things that won't change. Things that people are going to want today and ten years from now.
Sell your by-products.
Once your product does what it needs to do, get it out there. Just because you've still got a list of things to do doesn't mean it's not done. Don't hold everything else up because of a few leftovers. You can do them later. And doing them later may mean doing them better, too.
Build the necessities now, worry about the luxuries later.
Questions to ask yourself to ensure you're doing work that matters: Why are you doing this? What problem are you solving? Is this actually useful? Are you adding value? Will this change behavior? Is there an easier way? What could you be doing instead? Is it really worth it?
Sometimes abandoning what you're working on is the right move, even if you've already put in a lot of effort. Don't throw good time after bad work.
Interruption is the enemy of productivity.
When you do collaborate, try to use passive communication tools, like e-mail, that don't require an instant reply, instead of interruptive ones, like phone calls and face-to-face meetings. That way people can respond when it's convenient for them, instead of being forced to drop everything right away.
When good enough gets the job done, go for it. It's way better than wasting resources or, even worse, doing nothing because you can't afford the complex solution. And remember, you can usually turn good enough into great later.
When you make tiny decisions, you can't make big mistakes. These small decisions mean you can afford to change. There's no big penalty if you mess up. You just fix it.
You have to understand why something works or why something is the way it is. When you just copy and paste, you miss that.
Much of the work an original creator puts into something is invisible.
If you're a copycat, you can never keep up. You're always in a passive position. You never lead; you always follow.
Inject what's unique about the way you think into what you sell.
Do less than your competitors to beat them. Solve the simple problems and leave the hairy, difficult, nasty problems to the competition.
Don't shy away from the fact that your product or service does less. Highlight it. Be proud of it. Sell it as aggressively as competitors sell their extensive feature lists.
When you spend time worrying about someone else, you can't spend that time improving yourself.
Use the power of no to get your priorities straight. You rarely regret saying no. But you often wind up regretting saying yes.
There are always more people who are not using your product than people who are. Make sure you make it easy for these people to get on board.
The requests that really matter are the ones you'll hear over and over.
When you build an audience, you don't have to buy people's attention – they give it to you.
Share information that's valuable and you'll slowly but surely build a loyal audience.
Even if people don't use your product, they can still be your fans.
As a business owner, you should share everything you know.
When something becomes too polished, it loses its soul.
If you want to get someone's attention, it's silly to do exactly the same thing as everyone else.
Don't be afraid to give a little away for free – as long as you've got something else to sell.
Marketing is something everyone in your company is doing 24/7/365.
When something goes wrong, someone is going to tell the story. You'll be better off if it's you. Otherwise, you create an opportunity for rumors, hearsay, and false information to spread.
People will respect you more if you are open, honest, public, and responsive during a crisis.
Getting back to people quickly is probably the most important thing you can do when it comes to customer service.
A good apology accepts responsibility. It provides real details about what happened and what you're doing to prevent it from happening again. And it seeks a way to make things right.
The number-one principle to keep in mind when you apologize: How would you feel about the apology if you were on the other end? If someone said those words to you, would you believe them?
The more people you have between your customer's words and the people doing the work, the more likely it is that the message will get lost or distorted along the way.
The decisions you make today don't need to last forever.
When you treat people like children, you get children's work.
When you're writing, don't think about all the people who may read your words. Think of one person. Then write for that one person.