I decided to take a break from just reading development books and picked up a copy of Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hanson. If you don’t know there names, it’s almost certain you’d recognize (and probably used) their products like Basecamp, Highrise, Campfire and other goodness from 37Signals, the company they founded.
As professional developers it’s important to not only think in zeros and ones but also in how to make what you’re building great; both from a technical and customer perspective. The latter is really what I think the book is about. It’s definitely a business book and if you get it (which I recommend), you need to shift your thought process a little to understand how your development skills can be applied to building a business that’s successful and that customers love.
What I loved about the structure of this books is that it’s broken down into quick hit sections. There are no LONG, drawn out chapters that put you to sleep. The book is setup in main topic sections, each broken down into the quick-hit subtopics I was referring to. A main topic would be something like “Competitors” followed by sub-topics (usually a page or two) that dives into an area such as not copying another product or allowing your company to form it’s own culture as opposed to trying to dictate it.
I will say that in every major section, I got something valuable out of it and I could relate to a lot of the writings. For example, in the “Own your bad news”, I absolutely loved the advice of taking ownership when you mess up and being honest not only about the problem but how you’re going to fix it. And even something as simple as how to say you’re sorry resonated immensely. They were spot on with how annoying it is to hear someway say “We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.” How about something like, “I’m really sorry about this and we’re going to make it right.” Jason & DHH nailed that one.
And the list goes on and on. I came away with a different perspective on how I look at product development, customer relations, time management and more. The great thing is that it’s an incredibly easy read. You could probably finish it in a day. Overall, I think it’s a great book for anyone to read and if you’re starting up your own business, I would say it’s a must read.