Nuggets from the Book Re Work

I stared reading the book “Re Work” by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson – Founders for 37 Signals.

37 Signals started at 1999 with 3 people as a web design consulting firm, in 2004 they are not happy with the project management used by the rest of the industry and they started building own tool : Basecamp. Basecamp initially used by 37 Signals internally for the project management. When they showed this tool to their clients, they like it and they wanted to use the same. After 5 years Basecamp generates millions of dollars a year in profits.

Nuggets from this book,


Some people celebrate the workaholic culture. Not only this workaholism is unnecessary and it also creates a lot of problems. Working more it doesn’t mean you are getting more done. It just means you are working more. Workaholics create more problems than they solve. They even create crises. They also don’t think about how to plan a day’s efficiency, because they love to work overtime. They enjoy feeling like heroes. Workaholics are not heroes. They don’t save the day. They just use it up. The real hero is people who already home and spent a day efficiently and to do things in a faster way. 

What is growth

Growth doesn’t mean how many people in your company/team. Maybe the right size of your company is 5 people.  Maybe 10 people.  Maybe 200 people or Maybe it’s just you and your laptop. Grow slow and steady.  Small is not just a stepping stone. Small is a great destination in itself. 

Make a dent in the Universe:

To do great work you need to feel like you are making a difference. That you are putting a meaningful dent in the universe. It doesn’t mean you need to find the vaccine for covid 19. It’s just your efforts that need to feel valuable. You want your customer to say this product/services makes my life better. You want to feel that you stopped doing what you usually do. 

Scratch your own itch:

The easiest and straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use. You can design and implement your idea and let’s see if it solves your problem.  If you are solving someone else’s problem, it means “you’re constantly stabbing in the dark. When you solve your own problem, the light comes on. You know exactly what the right answer is.”

No time is no excuse

The most common excuse people give “There is not enough time” to do something new. It’s all about priority. There is always enough time, if you spend it right. 

Draw a line in the sand

As you get going, keep in mind why you are doing and what you are doing. Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. A strong stand is how you attract your fans. They point to you and defend you and spread the word further widely and passionately around the world. 

Strong opinions aren’t free. You will turn some people off. They will accuse you of being arrogant and aloof. they don’t like you.

If someone doesn’t like you, then it means you are doing something great. If nobody likes you, whatever you are doing is great. 

When you build a great product, a lot of people hate us because of different reasons and also they expect all the features in the competitors products. Some customers also insult us sometimes. But, we are just as proud of our products and proud about what our products don’t do. We design our product very simple. because , most of the products have a complex design, too many buttons, too many redirections. So we build products that are opposite of that. We also lose some customers. But that’s ok. You can’t satisfy the whole world. But, other people love our products intensively. That’s our line in the stand. 

Live it or Leave it:

There is a major difference between truly standing for something and having a mission statement that says you are standing for something. For example, if you are calling a customer support number and it says, thank you for calling and we value our customers and keep telling some automated voice without connecting the respective person and keep on stand by on the line is not actually a great customer support. If you really care about your customers, you need to have more support people to serve your customers. Please don’t give me an automated voice that’s telling how much you care about the customer. It’s a robot. We know the difference between genuine affection and robots that say some nice things that are programmed well. 

Standing for something is not writing it down. It’s about believing it and living it. 

Outside money is Plan Z:

You can always avoid outside funding. When you start building a restaurant you may need outside money to invest. But, to start a services/consulting business you may not need that much money. So, please always avoid outside money. When you turn to outsiders for funding, you need to answer to them. They can’t wait for a long time. Spending other people’s money is addictive and it’s usually a bad deal. 

You need less than you think

Do you really need 6 people to work on the project or just 2 people is enough?

Do you really need $50,000 for your marketing budget or $5,000 or $500 is enough for now?

Do you really need 6 month to deliver the project or you can make it in 3 months?

Do you really need full time customer service or you can handle it yourself?

Do you really need a big office or can you share office space or work from home?

There is nothing wrong with being frugal.

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Who is a Trusted Advisor?

Who is a Trusted Advisor?

“The trusted advisor is the person whom you call immediately when an issue first arises, often in times of great urgency: a crisis, a change, a triumph, or a defeat.”

The Term ‘Trusted Advisor’ you can relate to both professional and personal life. Let’s say, if you have any problem, you immediately call one person, he may be your friend or relative or anyone you know. That person is your trusted advisor. We can relate the same to our professions. 

None of us started our career as a Trusted Advisor. We usually start the relationship as a vendor. The customer gives you some tasks. We can work on a particular task or services. On the next level, we can suggest something to the customer on the services we do. When we do excellence in the services we do, customers believe us and involve us in other areas, though we are not experts in that area. When we continue performance excellence on everything, customers start trusting us and they get you involved in the complex business strategy. Now, we are a Trusted Advisor for that customer. 

What are all the benefits you get, if you are a Trusted Advisor for your customer

  1. The Customer always reaches you first for any advice. 
  2. Bring you in for more advanced and complex business strategy. 
  3. Be inclined to accept and act on your recommendations. 
  4. Treat you as you wish to be treated.
  5. Share more information, that helps you to help them. 
  6. Pay our invoices/bills without any questions. 
  7. Refer you to their friends and other businesses.
  8. Forgive you when you make any mistakes.
  9. Protect you when you need it.
  10. They Respect you.

Each one of you must have a Trusted Advisor and they advise you for your most important business, career, and even for personal discussions. 

If you have a Trusted Advisor, What are all the characteristics you are able to relate to from the above benefits which I mentioned? 

Can you share any of the recent incidents you noticed that make you feel like you are a Trusted Advisor for your customer?

Ref: The Trusted Advisor by David H. Maister, Charles H.Green, Robert M. Galford.

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