I’ve been a big fan of 37 Signals (makers of Basecamp) for a long time.  In addition to simply loving their products, I am a daily reader of their blog and an admirer of their focus on simplicity. 

I recently read their latest book, Rework, on a plane flight.  It is a quick read, and includes tons of little nuggets of wisdom that are useful to anyone trying to run a business.  In the spirit of sharing, following are quotes that I highlighted as I read the book.  I would encourage you to read the whole thing.

“Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service.  You have to believe in something.”

“When you don’t know what to believe everything becomes an argument.”

“Constraints are advantages in disguise.  Limited resources force you to make do with what you’ve got.  There’s no room for waste.  And that forces you to be creative.”

“Whenever you can, swap ‘Let’s think about it’ for ‘Let’s decide on it.’  Commit to making decisions.  Don’t wait for the perfect solution.  Decide and move forward.”

“The longer something takes, the less likely it is that you’re going to finish it.”

“Focus on competitors too much and you wind up diluting your own vision.”

“All companies have customers.  Lucky companies have fans.   But the most fortunate companies have audiences.  An audience can be your secret weapon.”

“So build an audience.  Speak, write, blog, tweet, make videos – whatever.  Share information that’s valuable and you’ll slowly but surely build a loyal audience.  Then when you need to get the word out, the right people will already be listening.”

“So emulate famous chefs.  They cook, so they write cookbooks.  What do you do?  What are your recipes?  What’s your cookbook?  What can you tell the world about how you operate that’s informative, educational, and promotional?  This book is our cookbook.  What’s yours?”

“Letting people behind the curtain changes your relationship with them.  They’ll feel a bond with you and see you as human beings instead of a faceless company.  They’ll see the sweat and effort that goes into what you sell.  They’ll develop a deeper level of understanding and appreciation for what you do.”

“Don’t be afraid to show your flaws.  Imperfections are real and people respond to real.”

“Do you have a marketing department?  If not, good.  If you do, don’t think these are the only people responsible for marketing.  Accounting is a department.  Marketing isn’t.  Marketing is something everyone in your company is doing 24/7/365.”

“Trade the dream of overnight success for slow, measured growth.  It’s hard, but you have to be patient.  You have to grind it out.  You have to do it for a long time before the right people notice.”

“With a small team, you need people who are going to do work, not delegate work.  Everyone’s got to be producing.  No one can be above the work.”

“Managers of one are people who come up with their own goals and executive them.  They don’t need heavy direction.  They don’t need daily check-ins.  They do what the manager would do – set the tone, assign items, determine what needs to get done, etc. – but they do it by themselves and for themselves.”

“If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer. “

“That’s because being a good writer is about more than writing.  Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking.  Greats writers know how to communicate.”

“People will respect you more if you are open, honest, public and responsive during a crisis.  Don’t hide behind a spin or try to keep your bad news on the down low.  You want your customers to be as informed as possible.”

“Craigslist founder Craig Newark still answers support e-mails today (often within minutes).  He also deletes racist comments from the site’s discussion boards and pesters New York City Realtors who post apartments for rent that don’t exist.  If he can devote this kind of attention to customer service, you can too.”

“You don’t create a culture.  It happens.  This is why new companies don’t have a culture.  Culture is the byproduct of consistent behavior.  If you encourage people to share, then sharing will be built into your culture.  If you reward trust, then trust will be built in.  If you treat customers right, then treating customers right becomes your culture.”

“When everything constantly needs approval, you create a culture of non-thinkers.  You create a boss-versus-worker relationship that screams, ‘I don’t trust you.’”

“When you turn into one of these people who adds ASAP to the end of every request, you’re saying everything is high priority.  And when everything is high priority, nothing is.”

About the Author
Todd Zeigler
Todd Zeigler serves as the Brick Factory’s chief strategist and oversees the operations of the firm. In his sixteen year career in digital, he has planned and implemented campaigns for clients including the Pickens Plan, International Youth Foundation, Panthera, Edison Electric Institute, and the American Chemistry Council. Todd develops ambitious online advocacy programs, manages crises, implements online marketing strategies, and develops custom applications and software. He is bad at golf though.