Authors: Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Jason and David share 88 practical and sometimes controversial lessons they’ve learned from starting and running their own business, 37 Signals. Grouped into 10 themes they cover:
- Challenging current thinking and business practices.
- Starting your business.
- Growing your business.
- Getting more done.
- Standing apart from your competition.
- Managing common business growth problems.
- Unconventional but effective marketing.
- Hiring and managing staff.
- Keeping customers happy.
- Managing your organisational culture.
Most Striking Thought:
“You need a commitment strategy, not an exit strategy.”
In recent years many people have sought to create high-growth start-ups with the aim of selling them quickly for huge profits. Jason and David suggest it’s better to build a sustainable business which provides a valuable product or service to customers you enjoy serving. You are more likely to succeed if you focus on committing to your business instead of planning your escape from it.
- “We have something new to say about building, running, and growing (or not growing) a business.”
- “You don’t have to work miserable 60/80/100-hour weeks to make it work.”
- “Failure is not a prerequisite for success.”
- “Anyone who runs a business that’s sustainable and profitable, whether it’s big or small, should be proud.”
- “If you’re going to do something, do something that matters.”
- “When you want something bad enough, you make the time.”
- “Great companies start in garages all the time. Yours can too.”
- “You can change your mind.”
- “Don’t throw good time after bad work.”
- “Good enough is fine.”
- “Underdo your competition.”
- “Don’t believe that ‘customer is always right’ stuff.”
- “Let your customers outgrow you.”
- “The really important stuff doesn’t go away.”
- “Welcome obscurity.”
- “Give people a backstage pass and show them how your business works.”
- “Press releases are spam.”
- “Don’t be afraid to give a little away for free.”
- “Test-drive employees.”
- “Put everyone on the front lines.”
- “Most of the things you worry about never happen anyway.”
Useful For You If:
- You’re thinking about starting or growing a business but not sure where to begin. (Especially if you’ve only been exposed to traditional thinking so far.)
- You’re grappling with issues relating to one or more of the themes they cover and you’re looking for reassurance that your unconventional approach might work.
What This Book Doesn’t Do:
- It doesn’t set out a structured approach to business planning.
- It doesn’t provide in-depth guidance on legalities or technicalities related to starting a business.
- It doesn’t recommend you should try traditional approaches to marketing, staff recruitment, etc.
A quick and thought-provoking read broken down into easily digestible chunks. Demonstrates value through having battle-tested their unorthodox thinking within their own business. This could prompt you to do things differently, save you time, effort, money and unnecessary frustration.