I'm currently reading a booked called ReWork, by the authors Jason Fried and David Hansson. They are two entrepreneurs that have created well known software products such as Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack and Campfire. If you've ever used these products before, you'll know how easy they are to use.
I realise this book has been around for quite a while, but it deserves a review and is definitely worth sharing!
One of the things that really struck me about these two entrepreneurs is that they created a highly successful company with only 16 employees (in eight cities on two continents) and no marketing department at all. That's pretty impressive when you think about the millions of happy customers using their products!
If you bought this book with the intention of reading it like a novel, you might be a little dissapointed. Most of the chapters are quite short and contain great nuggets of wisdom that the two authors have learnt during their time building this company. Having shorter chapters isn't necessarily a bad thing - you can easily pick up from any chapter and learn something new. I've also been pretty impressed with the illustrations in the book.
My two favourite parts of the book would have to be the hiring and culture sections. Without giving too much away, some of the key takeaways are:
- You should always be looking to hire people to remove painful areas of your business - don't just hire for when things get bad. Always be hiring!
- Forget about formal education. Far too often we place an emphasis on a candidates grades, but that we should remember that there are a lot of intelligent people that don't excel in a classroom.
- Learn how to say that you are sorry. When something goes wrong, you as a leader should step up and provide the real details about what happened.
- Send people home at 5. Long hours can be bad for your employees - they don't need more hours, they need better hours.
I've barely touched on a few great gems of wisdom contained in this book, but I do recommend reading it even if it's only for a little inspiration. It's worth noting that if you are looking for a classic business book, this is not it. Much of what is contained in the text is very contrary to your standard business books - which is one of the reasons why I like it. It often felt like I was reading a series of blog posts instead of a book. I realise that is how this book was intended to be written - but don't expect a huge book!
This is still a great book for anyone that operates an internet based startup and I would recommend getting a copy for yourself. I give this book a 3 out of 5 stars!