by Girl Banker®
This is probably the best business book that I am going to read all year, seriously. It’s way better thanThe Lean Startup, a book I reviewed two weeks ago.
Rework is crisp and to the point. It’s written by the founders of 37signals.com, a very successful tech company that’s produced productivity tools for small businesses such as Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack and Campfire.
Over and above what they say in the book there was one overriding message that I sensed: they always go with their base instincts and adapt to changing circumstances as they arise.
On business plans, they say they are a waste of time and lead to inflexibility and inaction. I agree. They do not disagree with having a rough plan but they think you shouldn’t get bogged down in it. Every number is a guess that won’t materialize anyway.
On failure, they say people who fail are just as likely to fail again as people who haven’t embarked on anything before. It’s success, not failure, that leads to success.
On being a workaholic, they say go home and get some sleep! You’ll be more creative and work more productively after. Consistently working late is not a badge of honor, it’s a mark of inefficiency. I agree but in the wonderful world of investment banking face time matters. You can change things on your team when you're an MD but if you want to make it to MD, you're going to put in as much face time as the biggest face timer on your team!
On starting a business, they say scratch your own itch, create a product that you yourself need, you will be better able to market it. I so agree on this point. I have a friend who’s built a website on healthy eating and weight loss but he has never had a weight issue himself nor is he interested in the subject in itself.
On seed money, they say using other people’s money is plan z. Don’t resort to it until you really have to. Once you have external investors they start to control you. Are you going into business to be your own woman (or man) or to be a slave to someone else’s short term profit goals?
On constraints or limited resources, they say these are good things. Having limitations force you to think outside the box. Startups with endless cash end up spending money poorly because it is oh-so-easy to spend someone else’s dough.
On an exit strategy, they say do you go into a marriage with divorce in mind? What’s the point of going into a business if you are already thinking about how you are going to get out? I so agree.
On quitting, sometimes it’s a good thing. Don’t flog a dead horse.
On large tasks, break them into small bite-size pieces. I have been living by this principle myself since high school.
On one-upping the competition: a waste of time. Dare to be different.
On the competition: don’t obsess over what they may or may not be doing.
On drug dealers, imitate them. They know their wares are sooo good that they’re willing to give some away for free. LOL!
On marketing, ignore New York Times, Wall Street Journal and all the other Big Girls, they have no time for you! Target niche bloggers and publications. The big players usually go surfing for new stories in these niche places.
They also talk about the benefits of saying NO; the efficiency of creating long uninterrupted periods for work; building an audience; teaching your fans things rather than just selling to them; doing everything yourself first before you delegate so that you know how hard it is; apologizing sincerely; looking beyond potential employees’ formal education and valuing their other experiences; test driving employees first and giving cover letters more weight than résumés and CVs.
I say: buy buy buy!
I created my investment banking blog in 2012 as soon as I resigned from i-banking & published my book, To Become An Investment Banker.
Heather Katsonga-Woodward: On Business, Life & Everything In-Between