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ReWork: Rethinking the way we work

I recently finished book ReWork by Jason Fried co-founder of BaseCamp. This book does take a really counter-intuitive approach what you hear from most of the new age startup model. It is a good book that I do recommend to anyone who wants to do the start a business or a setup a stable secondary source of income. The book draws in from values that are more human rather than the robotic rules followed by the so called corporate world. Here are the few ideas from the book that did inspire me the most

  1. Planning is guessing
  2. You need less than you think
  3. Start a business not a startup
  4. Make small decisions
  5. Be a curator
  6. Nobody likes plastic flowers

1. Planning is guessing

Big companies and startups alike do make elaborate plans. Plan they think that will achieve greatness. But the problem is the word planning is just a sugar coat for the word guessing. So what you are doing is just guess work. Plans that span over a long period may not always be right. Since you will get to know all the constraints of what you are set out to do only when you are doing it and the initial condition that you started with may not hold true anymore. But then this is not to say you don’t need to think about your business in long term. It is just to treat planning for what it is actually is guess work.

2. You need less than you think

Most of the startup founders think they need millions of dollars in seed funding, really expensive workspace, large team, large PR campings and massive press releases to make it. But the truth you don’t need it. In fact it goes the other way. These things are nice to have not must haves. The more emphasis you place on these nice to have. The more problem you are creating for yourself that is not directly related to the business you are trying to create.

3. Start a business not a startup

The words startup and entrepreneur are just big words. These words feel impersonal and people use it to hide the actual defects. In the world of startups you don’t need to worry about profits. You spend someone’s money and you build a startup with idea of exit plan in case things fail. Even many unicorn startups out there still don’t make profit yet they just bleed. But what you want build is sustainable businesses not a hype.

4. Make small decisions

When you are starting out you don’t want to make big decisions. Because big decisions are brittle and hard to go back when your assumption fail. Rather what you want is to take many small decision quickly. Taking decisions is progress. When you take small decisions quickly you make progress quickly and when the decision is wrong you could go back easily with little cost.

5. Be a curator

When you build something you just don’t need to large features to make it good. Sometimes you may need to trim the branches. It is always better to build a half product than half-assed product with large number of features.

6. Nobody likes plastic flowers

How many times have you read the sign that has nice sugary words in it. But it actually does not mean anything. Imagine you have to wait for hours to reach customer support and then there is a recorded voice that says that it is sorry for making you wait. Do you think that will make you feel better ? Or make you more angry. Don’t fake it be real and do something about it.

Rework does take a different view on lean thinking. It is a must read for anyone who decides to start a business not a startup.