For many, starting a new business can be relatively overwhelming. I assume that, if you read my posts, you hear many gripping stories about successful entrepreneurs who reached their first million-dollar profit almost overnight. On one hand, going the same path sounds temting, but on the other hand, it might be a bit intimidating.
Rework, written by Jason Fried, says that such attitude is complete rubbish. Such stories delude people. It says that if you want to start a firm, you shouldn’t focus on a mass-scale business, but rather something smaller, especially at the beginning. It should be something that you like and understand. Something that does respond to specific customer needs and gives you a steady stream of income. It might give you great sense of accomplishment and experience to grow. “Enjoy the path not just the reward”.
Anyway, the book is well structured and very short. It contains a set of principles you should follow during your entrepreneurial journey. It starts with a typical call to action which goes like – stop planning and complaining, just do it. Then, the book focuses on progress, productivity, marketing and some HR aspects, such as hiring process and organisational culture. All chapter are very brief, practical and easy to comprehend.
When it comes to my opinion about the book, I have to admit that I’m a bit puzzled. On one hand, I really appreciate its compact form and focus on practicality. On the other hand, some ideas were too radical or expressed in a very shallow way to convince me effectively.
Nevertheless, I’d like to mention some ideas.
Planning – planning is guessing. Nowadays, focusing on making estimation is a huge abuse. Everybody these days has to be excellent because the cult of excellence has been driven into our society. It is expensive and it’s a waste of time (cost as well). You should focus on your current challenges. My conclusion on that is, that companies focus on planning because nobody wants to take risk. I have to admit that it’s good to be prepared, but being prepared for any possibility is unproductive and, in many cases, it defends someone’s ego.
Product – one of the rules says that, when you design a product or just create a solution you should design it the way it fulfils your needs as a prospective customer. Would you really buy and use that? If the answer is yes, than there is high chance that there are other people who would do the same. Moreover, you are much better in solving your own problems rather than someone else’s where you’re stabbing in the dark.
Quality – “good enough is fine”. Of course it doesn’t apply in all areas. For example, your product should be exceptional if you want to break through. Otherwise you will be forced to compete by the price or your supply chain, which is not always achievable for beginners . To my mind, it’s more about internal policies, managerial reports should consist of all possible data, IT software should provide any fancy features, business plans should present any possibility, and so on. Sometimes the line between what is must-have and nice-to-have is very narrow. Do we really need all of that to do the business right and satisfy our customers? Would they appreciate this?
These are just a few of my remarks. If you had a book at hand, I would recommend other chapters, such as “Meetings are toxic”,” Long lists don’t get done”,” Press releases are spam”, “Do it yourself first”, “Forget about formal education” and “How to say you are sorry” as these are the most intriguing parts (my own reflection).
by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Complexity of ideas