Book Summary: Rework by Jason Fried & DHH

Book Summary: Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson



In a Nutshell

Rework is a refreshing set of reminders and principles on how to run a business. It is simple, direct, into the point. You may already be familiar with many of the ideas and rework, but nevertheless, it is great to find such an incisive business book.

Rework starts by peeling back layers of business to the essentials, then rebuilding them in a better way.


Book Notes

Starting a business is now easier than ever before. What was once impossible and expensive is now incredibly cheap and feasible. You can start a business without quitting your day job, and collaborate with people around the world.

Ignore the Real World
People often dismiss ideas because they wouldn’t work in the “real world.” Don’t listen.

You don’t need to fail early or often
Just because someone else failed doesn’t mean that you will too. You’re not them.

Learning from your successes, not your mistakes
Learn what works and do it again. Past failures don’t lead to future success.

Long-term business planning is guessing
There are too many variables. Plans let the past drive the future, and limit the upside of unpredictability. Be prepared for all outcomes, just don’t obsess about it. Make decisions in real time.

Expansion should not always be the goal
Ramping up too much too fast is often the death of a small company.

Working long does not always mean working hard
Workaholics often create more problems than they solve, and tend to burn out.

Anyone can start a business. You just need an idea, confidence, and a little nudge to get started.

Whatever you do, do something that matters.

Scratch your own itch
Create something that you personally need or would want to use.

Start making something
What you do is what matters, not what you think or talk about. Ideas are cheap.

There’s always enough time
Find a way to squeeze out a few more hours each week. Start something on the side first to minimize risk.

Believe in something
Have a point of view, not just a product. Not everyone will agree with you. If everyone does, then you’re not pushing hard enough. Standing for something makes decisions easier. You won’t have to second-guess yourself when a decision compromises your beliefs.

There is a difference between a living belief system and a piece of paper on the wall that’s called a mission statement.

Avoid outside funding
When you receive funding, you give up control. Plans for a 3 to 5 year exit eliminate the possibility of long-term sustainability. Customers end up taking a backseat to investors.

You need less than you think
Founders often over estimate the amount of funding, people, infrastructure, office space, storage space, etc. then they really need.

Start a business, not a start up
Start ups are too often romanticized for not earning revenue and spending too much too early. Focus on earning a profit.

Don’t build to flip
Don’t worry about getting out before you get in. If you get a good thing going, don’t give it up.

Don’t half ass a project, but start with half of the features that you would like to add. Simplicity is underrated, and you will probably end up with a better product as a result. For any project, there is stuff that you could do stuff that you want to do, and stuff that you have to do. Start with what you have to do.

Be a curator
Look for things to remove, and ways to simplify your work to make it better.

Focus on fundamentals
Get the main things right, it don’t worry about subtle optimizations at first.

Sell your byproducts
Monetize all of your outputs by writing books, marketing other products, and selling other services to increase your chances of succeeding.

Build something real as soon as possible
Don’t rely on plans, reports, and drawings more than necessary. These are just distractions on the way to your final goal.

Questions to ask when you’re working on something
Why am I doing this? What is this for? Who benefits? What’s the motivation behind it? What’s the problem that I’m trying to solve? Is this useful? Cool wears off but useful never does. Is this adding value to the customer? Is there an easier way? Is what I’m doing worth the time and effort and money required?

Interruption is the enemy
Interruptions are the main reason people feel the need to work long hours. Long stretches of time spent alone are the most productive. Productivity is like R.E.M. sleep. It takes time to get into it, and interruptions are toxic to getting things done. Block off alone time and use passive communication tools like email to limit interruptions.

Meetings are the worst kind of interruption.

Find a judo solution to your problem—maximum efficiency with a little effort. You may not get the best result, but it might be good enough given the circumstances.

Momentum fuels motivation. Break up bigger projects into smaller tasks to rack up small victories along the way and build momentum. Ask yourself what you can get done in two weeks.

Don’t be a hero. If something is taking much longer than you expected, consider quitting it instead of persevering to finish it.

Get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation leads to stubbornness and irritability.

We are bad at estimating. When estimating how long something will take or how much it will cost, break it up into smaller pieces.

Keep your to do list short. Long lists don’t get done. Prioritize visually by placing the most important item at the top of the list, rather than by using numbers or categories.

Don’t copy something without understanding it first. Be influenced, but don’t steal.

Differentiate your product
If you put a piece of yourself into your product, it will make it hard f of the competition to replicate.

Take a stand
If your competitor does something you don’t believe in, call them out. People will notice this and rally around you.

Do less than your competitor
Trying to outdo your competition will lead to overspending and reactive behaviors. This will allow you to focus on the issues that really matter. Strip away unnecessary features that are not core to your product.

Default to “no”
Say no to most people’s suggestions to change your product. Don’t change your product to appease existing customers. Companies need to stay true to a type of customer rather than one particular customer with changing needs.

No reminders necessary
Don’t write down feedback from customers. The important problems will come up again and again, and you won’t be able to forget them.

Welcome obscurity
Being unknown gives you the opportunity to take risks and improve your product when the stakes are still low.

Build an audience
Encourage people to come to you by releasing good content. Just like with famous chefs, people won’t be able to replicate what you do and harm your business. People like to see how things are built. This will develop a bond with your audience and create a sense of appreciation and trust.

Leave the poetry and what you make
Don’t try to hide your flaws. It will make you be more relatable and real.sometimes it’s better to seem genuine van professional.

Don’t send out generic press releases, and don’t target the publications. Target smaller niche publications to communicate your message and your product

Emulate drug dealers
Give a way a small three taste of your product.

Everything is marketing
Marketing is the sum total of everything that you do. People pay attention to the little things as well as the big things.

There is no overnight success
Target slow, measured the road rather than shooting for overnight success.

Do it yourself
Before delegating or outsourcing a job, try doing it yourself first. This will make you more effective even after you outsourced it. Only hire someone when it’s too painful to continue doing it yourself. Only hire someone when the quality level starts to suffer.

Hire slowly
When you do decide to hire people, do it slowly. This will make it easier to have difficult conversations.

Years of irrelevance
Hire people based on dedication and intelligence rather than years of experience. Hire workers, not delegators. Writing is one of the most underrated skills in hiring. Have someone complete a small project before hiring them to see how good their work is.

Be open about your bad news. Answer customer questions quickly. Accept responsibility for your faults and apologize sincerely. Put everyone on the front lines to expose them to the customer.

On Culture
Company cultures take time to develop. They are created through repeated actions, not words.

Great work environments developed out of the trust, autonomy, and responsibility. No amount of perks can achieve the same results. Trust your employees. Stop trying to monitor and police their behavior. Let people go home early. You want people with lives outside of work.

On Communicating
Communicate simply and directly. Avoid ridiculous management buzz words. Avoid words like need, easy, and ASAP.

If something inspires you, do it now. Don’t wait.

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