My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I have great respect for 37signals: they seem to manage to build fantastic, usable product after product like clockwork. Moreover, I strongly agree with their focus on product design and how they generally run things.
Fried and DHH try to distill their philosophy down and put it into a form that is completely readable over a glass of wine and a sandwich. (2 hours, so maybe 2 glasses of wine?)
Key ideas that I love and completely agree with:
* Companies / products are trying to outdo each other in adding features, as if that was the only factor that sold things. Try to underdo the competition - have fewer features than your competition - but really nail the experience. Help people get stuff done.
* Workoholics are bad: they work so hard because they haven't figured out how to get stuff done quickly. Obsessing over minutae is not cool. Working all nights is not cool. Workoholics burn out (eventually). On a personal note: been there, seen that, this is so true, its not even funny.
* Don't plan: any more than you absolutely have to. ie plan for the next day/week but thats about it. Because planning is a joke - all you are doing is making a guess about what you / your team will have done by a certain time. The further out it is, the more variance you introduce and the worse your guess gets. So quit trying. Focus on the next important thing, keep yourself nimble and adjust.
* Be the *not* somebody. As in: UnderArmor is *not* Nike: they are not trying to be Nike. Virgin America is *not* like United and American (I made this one up). By focusing on who you hate and are trying really hard to *not* be, you clearly define who you are.
* Distributed teams work just fine. Make sure you have some time overlap, make sure you all meet up in real life every once in a while (1-2 times / quarter). +1 from personal experience.
This list goes on, this is stuff that I remember (ok I cheated and looked at the back cover and remembered some of the stories).
I think this book is great. It's such a fast read, it's a cheap book, you can get it on various i-devices, read it on your commute or while sitting in boring meetings - just make sure you read it.
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