Friday, March 20, 2020

Let's Talk About 'ReWork'

I have set a goal for me this year: To read 30 books in 2020

My goal for 2019 was 20 books which I managed quite comfortably, and after a quarter of 2020 almost completed, I just completed my book 9th this week, which I want to talk about today: ReWork

The founders of BaseCamp have tried to break down how they envisioned their company and work culture and also the stereo-types of the corporate world which should be questioned.. Some of the ideas I liked and were thought provoking, I will outline here:

  • Success is the experience that actually counts:

Learning from our mistakes is over-rated.. You get to learn more from your own successes, because you know what worked.. And you can then make it better in the next try!

  • Long Term Plans do not work:

I agree.. People tend to obsess over planning and milestones, that they forget to execute and learn on the go..We do not know what the future holds, so having a goal helps, but obsessing about how we are going to get there might land you up in problems.. Writing a plan makes you feel in control for things you have no control over..

  • Don’t always aim for making it ‘big’:

Being profitable and consistent is more important..The point about big businesses wanting to be more agile and flexible like a startup, while a startup wanting to be the complete opposite and ‘grow’ drives the point home.. You can choose to be sufficient and focus on the current state and being good at it rather than always looking for expansion. Why should expansion always be the goal?

Big organisations always take a huge amount of time and energy to ‘pivot’. They keep talking instead of acting.. The advantage of being small is you can make changes to your business quicker. You can make mistakes and fix them quickly..

  • Working late is not always the solution:

Lately, people have started realising that working longer hours is not ‘cool’. It is much easier to look at intelligent solutions than throw brute force at a problem and hope that you have solved that crisis. The culture that creates around you is also of ‘low morale’ as the others are forced upon a guilt of working their regular hours. And no-one makes sharp decisions when tired! So ditch the extra hours and prioritise instead

  • Build what you need, and not for everyone else:

This is a counter advice, but is very well put.. You are the best judge to understand what you want. You do not need extra budget or focus groups to figure out if the product works.. Your product eventually becomes something you care about and want to work on for a long time.. When the market needs the same thing, your product should work just fine..

  • Ideas are worthless:

Everyone has one.. I remember coming up with a new one every week with my friends when I was in college and then discussing with my friends over the potential of that idea but then not doing anything about it.. We have all been there.
The original idea is just the start, the real task is execution.. Go out there and do it repeatedly enough for you to get the confidence of figuring it out..

When you want that idea bad enough, you will eventually make time for it.. There is no such thing as ‘no time’.. If you need to get fit, you are responsible for it.. If you think there can be a better way to be fit, only you can try and make it happen..Thinking is just 5% of the task

  • Cut the Jargons:

People love simple stuff.. In the world of marketing, being bombarded with jargons front, left and right, a simple sentence is such a relief.. If you have a product, don’t oversell or overcomplicate it.. Say what it does and say it well..

If you stand for something, just don’t say it.. Walk the talk.. Mission Statements do not matter if you do not execute them when needed…

Talk to your customers like regular people.. Do not be a robot!

  • Be a business, not a startup:

Actual businesses worry about profit from the first day. They worry about payrolls and bill.. Do not use the word ‘startup’ as a crutch to get in to the big leagues.. As quoted in the book:

A business without a path to profit isn’t a business but a hobby

  • Simplify your product/project:

Having 10 different features for your new project is cool, but add all the complexities and it becomes chaotic to manage it after some time.. Add the maintenance cost, training cost, operational cost and everything else and in no time what was supposed to be an innovation becomes a headache instead..Sacrifice some of your good to have’s or flashy features to kickstart your project. Things get better when they are shorter or more focused..

Ask yourself a simple question: “If I took this feature away, would I still be selling the same thing?”

We all have awesome ideas all the time.. But always chasing and implementing those ideas will run us in a loop.. Get excited about your ideas, but let them cool over..Evaluate their priority with a calm mind

You can take all the garnishing away from a hot-dog stand and still sell hot-dogs.. But you can’t sell a hot-dog with no hot-dog being in it.. Get the basics right and kickass, and work to build over those one feature at a time…

  • Decide and Move ahead:

How many times you have had meetings where nothing gets done? Stalling or not deciding leads to piling up which at the end stage either gets decided in bulk or discarded.. All those meetings for nothing..

Instead agree that not all of your decisions will be perfect.. Decide and move forward rather than waiting for the perfect solution..

You can’t build on top of a ‘We will decide later’ but can on the top of ‘Done’

I suffer from decision paralysis as well.. Obsessing over small details such as ‘which tool to use’ when i should focus on ‘what content to write’. It took me a long time to understand it is not the gear that matters as long as I do not start with the actual project itself (in this case which was starting this blog).

Do not use your tools, equipments or indecisions as a crutch or hindrance on your actual project.

  • Bureaucracy is the opposite of Creativity

When you need approvals for everything, your company is screaming ‘I don’t trust you’! and creates an indirect relationship of boss and worker.. Stop creating a culture of non-thinkers..

Do not over-regulate and create a policy around everything.. This is openly evident on some of the big companies when an incident happens out of the blue.. You create a policy to counter that which is unlikely to happen ever again.. That’s how bureaucracy is born!

Most of the advice here is not earth-shattering.. You know this in your gut or is something you talk with your friends over drinks.. But is never said out loud in your office culture..

Remember it, Try it and see if it works for you..

if it doesn’t? Well you at-least learned this is not your type! :)