16 Lessons Learned from "ReWork"

"ReWork" is one of the most influential business books I ever read. In fact it was the first business book that I read when I joined Suitmedia in 2011. Although I don't agree with some points of views from the authors, this book gave me a lot of very good insights that are still relevant until now. This article is a collection of my favourite ideas from the book.

“What you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan.” ― Jason Fried, Rework

#1 - Learning from mistakes is overrated
What do you really learn from mistakes? You might learn what not to do again, but how valuable is that? You still don’t know what you should do next. Contrast that with learning from your successes. Success gives you real ammunition. When something succeeds, you know what worked—and you can do it again. And the next time, you’ll probably do it even better.

#2 - Scratch your own itch
The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use. That lets you design what you know—and you’ll figure out immediately whether or not what you’re making is any good.

#3 - No time is no excuse
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.

#4 - Start a business, not a startup
A business without a path to profit isn’t a business, it’s a hobby. Actual businesses have to deal with actual things like bills and payroll. Actual businesses worry about profit from day one. Actual businesses don’t mask deep problems by saying, “It’s OK, we’re a startup.” Act like an actual business and you’ll have a much better shot at succeeding.

#5 - Building to flip is building to flop
You need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy. You should be thinking about how to make your project grow and succeed, not how you’re going to jump ship. If your whole strategy is based on leaving, chances are you won’t get far in the first place.

#6 - Build half a product, not a half-assed product
You have limited time, resources, ability, and focus. It’s hard enough to do one thing right. Trying to do ten things well at the same time? Forget about it. You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole.

#7 - Meetings are toxic
The worst interruptions of all are meetings. If you decide you absolutely must get together, try to make your meeting a productive one by sticking to these simple rules: Set a timer. When it rings, meeting’s over. Period. Invite as few people as possible. Always have a clear agenda. Begin with a specific problem. Meet at the site of the problem instead of a conference room. Point to real things and suggest real changes. End with a solution and make someone responsible for implementing it.

#8 - Quick wins
Momentum fuels motivation. It keeps you going. If you aren’t motivated by what you’re working on, it won’t be very good. The way you build momentum is by getting something done and then moving on to the next thing.

#9 - Go to sleep
Forgoing sleep is a bad idea. Sure, you get those extra hours right now, but you pay in spades later: You destroy your creativity, morale, and attitude. Once in a while, you can pull an all-nighter if you fully understand the consequences. Just don’t make it a habit.

#10 - Everything is marketing
Marketing is not a department. Marketing is something everyone in your company is doing 24/7/365. Just as you cannot not communicate, you cannot not market: Every time you answer the phone, it’s marketing. Every time you send an e-mail, it’s marketing. Every time someone uses your product, it’s marketing. Every word you write on your Web site is marketing. If you build software, every error message is marketing. If you’re in a service business, your invoice is marketing.

#11 - Do it yourself first
Never hire anyone to do a job until you’ve tried to do it yourself first. That way, you’ll understand the nature of the work. You’ll know what a job well done looks like. You’ll know how to write a realistic job description and which questions to ask in an interview. You’ll know whether to hire someone full-time or part-time, outsource it, or keep doing it yourself.

#12 - Hire when it hurts
Don’t hire for pleasure; hire to kill pain. Always ask yourself: What if we don’t hire anyone? Similarly, if you lose someone, don’t replace him immediately. See how long you can get by without that person and that position. You’ll often discover you don’t need as many people as you think.

#13 - Hire managers of one
Managers of one are people who come up with their own goals and execute them. They don’t need heavy direction. They don’t need daily check-ins. They do what a manager would do—set the tone, assign items, determine what needs to get done, etc.—but they do it by themselves and for themselves.

#14 - Hire great writers
If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer. It doesn’t matter if that person is a marketer, salesperson, designer, programmer, or whatever; their writing skills will pay off. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand.

#15 - Own your bad news
When something goes wrong, someone is going to tell the story. You’ll be better off if it’s you. Otherwise, you create an opportunity for rumors, hearsay, and false information to spread. People will respect you more if you are open, honest, public, and responsive during a crisis.

#16 - Skip the rock stars
A lot of companies post help-wanted ads seeking “rock stars” or “ninjas.” Lame. Unless your workplace is filled with groupies and throwing stars, these words have nothing to do with your business. Instead of thinking about how you can land a roomful of rock stars, think about the room instead. Rockstar environments develop out of trust, autonomy, and responsibility. Great environments show respect for the people who do the work and how they do it.

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