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A Quick Rework (By 37 Signals) Book Review

I recently finished reading the book Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson, the founders of the small but powerful 37 Signals company.

Rework and 37 Signals’ last book (Getting Real) are unique in that they give you a birds eye view on operating a small business (37 Signals has just a few employees) whose  products (software for design & productivity) are used by millions.

Here’s a sampling of 5 tips I liked from Rework:

1) The Easiest Product To Make Is One That You Want To Use

The main reason here is that you don’t have to worry about focus groups; you know what the products needs or doesn’t need first-hand.

2) What To Work On First In A New Product

“What’s The Hot Dog In Your Hot Dog Stand?”

I love this quote: Fried & Heinemeier Hansson are suggesting that if you were to start a hot dog stand, the first thing you’d want to work on is the…hot dog (as opposed to the napkins or relish).

I’ve found this hot dog stand analogy to be a simple way to help entrepreneurs figure out where to start on new product creation.

3) What Features To Launch A Product With?

Entrepreneurs face “feature-creep” all the time.

Fried & Heinemeier suggest you ask yourself: If you had to launch your product in 2 weeks, what features would you include?

For example, Crate & Barrel didn’t wait to build fancy displays when they launched their first store (they flipped over “crates and barrels” that the merchandise came in and stacked products on top of them.

4) A Great Quote About Usability:

“Cool wears off, useful never does.”

That’s a good quote I like for erring on the side of usability over coolness with product design.

5) Hire Managers Of One

Fried & Hansson recommend you hire people who set their own goals and execute and don’t need a lot of hand-holding.

This is similar to the “Drivers” (DACI Model) most imperative to getting things done.

One measurement of whether someone is a Manager of One/Driver, the 37 Signals founders say, is that if you leave these people alone, they surprise you with how much they get done.

Overall, the Rework book is a simple read for people trying to create a new business or running a small business; it didn’t make the Top 20 Best Business Books Of All Time but it’s not too far off.