Just Seven Things

Exploring why and how we do what we do, and how we can do it better

Archive for the tag “37Signals”

Reasons to Quit: Questions to Ensure You’re Doing Work That Matters

Fried and Heinemeier Hansson in Rework suggest the following questions to ensure you don’t ‘throw good time after bad work’:

‘Why are you doing this?

What problem are you solving? – ensure it’s not an imaginary problem

Is this actually useful? – don’t confuse enthusiasm with usefulness

Are you adding value? – sometimes things you think are adding value actually subtract from it

Will this change behaviour? Is it really going to change anything?

Is there an easier way? – Problems are usually pretty simple. We just imagine they require hard solutions

What could you be doing instead? – what can’t you do because you’re doing this?

Is it really worth it? – can you determine the real value of what you’re about to do before you take the plunge’

How Rework Works: Review and Observations

A hooky bag of snippets. A simple collage of truths. Or a sophisticated framework for success communicated well?

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson’s Rework – Change the Way You Work Forever, has left me with the above thoughts since starting. It has more momentum and flow than similar books that stick together ideas in short 2-page essays.

Some more direct quotes:

It’s the stuff you leave out that matters. So constantly look for things to remove, simplify and streamline. Be a curator. 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 it.

Throw less at the problem. When things aren’t working… The right way to go is the opposite reaction: cut back. You’ll be forced to make tough calls and sort out why truly matters.

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. Those are the things you should invest in.

Sell your by-products. When you make something, you always make something else. Observant and creative businesses spot these by-products an see opportunities.

If you had to launch your business in two weeks, what would you cut out? The best way to get there is through iterations. Stop imagining what’s going to work. Find out for real.

Do everything you can to remove layers of abstraction. Get to something real right away. Reports, diagrams and specs take forever to make but only seconds to forget. They create illusions of agreement: a hundred people can read the same words, but in their heads, they’re imagining a hundred different things. When you get to something real right away…. That’s when you get true understanding. Get the chisel out and start making something real. Anything else is just a distraction.

Rework – Change the Way you Work Forever: Review

People say you need to sell to the Fortune 500. 37signals say ‘screw that. We sell to the Fortune 5,000,000.’

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson pull together a series of ideas on the new non-rules of business.

Snippets (direct quotes) include:

The timing of long range planning is screwed up too. You have the most information when you’re doing something, not before you’ve done it.

Lock in lots of expenses and you force yourself into building a complex business – one that’s a lot more difficult and stressful to run.

Make a dent in the universe…. Your efforts need to feel valuable. You want your customers to say ‘this makes my life better’… You should feel an urgency about this too. You don’t have forever. This is your life’s work….. What you do is your legacy. Don’t sit around and wait for someone else to make the change you want to see.

Kubrick knew that when you’re new at something, you need to start creating. The most important thing is to begin.

No time is no excuse: squeeze out a few extra hours of every week. When you want something bad enough, you make the time – regardless of your other obligations. The truth is most people just don’t want it bad enough. Then they protect their ego with the excuse of time. Don’t let yourself off the hook with excuses. It’s entirely your responsibility to make your dreams come true. Besides, the perfect time never arrives. You’re always too young or old or busy or broke or something else. If you constantly fret about timing things perfectly, they’ll never happen.

Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. You have to believe in something. You need to have a backbone. A strong stand is how you attract superfans. For everyone who loves you, there will be others that hate you. If no one’s upset by what you’re saying, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too.)

Outside money is Plan Z. Customers move down the totem pole. You wind up building what investors want instead of what customers want.

Cut your ambition in half. You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole…. Getting to great starts by cutting out stuff that’s merely good.

Ignore the details – for a while. Nail the basics first and worry about the specifics later. It doesn’t matter how much you plan, you’ll still get some stuff wrong anyway. Don’t make things worse by overanalyzing and delaying before you even get going.

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