Rework – a bootstrapping manifesto

Rework review

Rework is a collections of essays from 37 signals blog written over a period of time. It is directly from David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason fried‘s experience, understandably strongly opinionated. It is against the grain rule book offering advises like you don’t need to follow your passion, and you should start a business not a start-up and not a fad.

The book starts off with

We’ll take it down to the studs and explain why it’s time to throw out the traditional notions of what it takes to run a business. Then we’ll rebuilt it. You’ll learn how to begin, why you need less than you think, when to launch, how to get the word out, whom(and when) to hire, and how to keep it all under control.

Nothing in this book is ground breaking in terms of how a business should run. At the same time, the things mentioned are simple, sensible ideas, which in most cases are taken for granted these days. For instance, a business needs to make money for its survival than snoozing the ticking time bomb

Bootstrapping often means dealing with limited resource, I fond this book to be informative on how to be resourcefulness with both time and money constraints. Every chapter has it in one or other form. I found advises from these chapters to be doable and testable. To mention a few, I particularly found their advice on marketing, developing a strong opinion interesting.

Draw a line in the sand chapter interesting.

As you get going, keep in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing.Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. You have to believe in something. You need to have a backbone. You need to know what you’re willing to fight for. And then you need to show the world. A strong stand is how you attract superfans. They point to you and defend you. And they spread the word further, wider, and more passionately than any advertising could.

Strong opinions aren’t free. You’ll turn some people off. They’ll accuse you of being arrogant and aloof. That’s life. For everyone that loves you, there will be others who hate you. If no one’s upset by what you’re saying, you’re probably not pushing hard enough. (And you’re probably boring, too)

…If what we make isn’t right for every one, that’s OK. We’re willing to lose some customers if it means that others love our product intensely. That’s our line in the sand. When you don’t know what you believe, everything becomes an argument. Everything is debatable. But when you stand for something, decisions are obvious

Now another anecdote,

For example, Whole Foods stands for selling the highest quality natural and organic products available. They don’t waste time deciding over and over again what’s appropriate. No one asks, “Should we sell this product that has artificial flavors?” There’s no debate. The answer is clear. That’s why you can’t buy a Coke or a Snickers there. This belief means the food is more expensive at Whole Foods. Some haters even call it Whole Paycheck and make fun of those who shop there. But so what? Whole Foods is doing pretty damn well.

Another example is Vinnie’s Sub Shop, just down the street from our office in Chicago. They put this homemade basil oil on subs that’s just perfect. You better show up on time, though. Ask when they close and the woman behind the counter will respond, “We close when the bread runs out.” Really? “Yeah. We get our bread from the bakery down the street early in the morning, when it’s the freshest. Once we run out (usually around two or three p.m.), we close up shop. We could get more bread later in the day, but it’s not as good as the fresh-baked bread in the morning. There’s no point in selling a few more sandwiches if the bread isn’t good. A few bucks isn’t going to make up for selling food we can’t be proud of.” Wouldn’t you rather eat at a place like that instead of some generic sandwich chain?

Saw it? Apple is an exemplar when it comes to sticking to conviction. Both Google and Apple control almost entire smart phone market. But Apple has taken a bold stand towards privacy, and it is pretty clear with recent events. They don’t mine data from your photo. Where as Google’s primary business depends on showing you ads based on your data. It’s not free, you pay with your data. The more data you offer, better it is, for the both the parties. Google will be able to offer you powerful, contextual search of your photo. But Apple wont do it, for them it is the necessary privacy trade-off. Now you see, how two businesses doing the same thing has a different view of the service? I leave it you, whom you should pick.

This book is for those who wants to build a sustainable business at their own phase without compromising the joy of the journey.