Sunday, May 30, 2010

Book review: ReWork, by the folks at 37signals

After presenting my Roadmap to online analytics success workshop in Amsterdam in April (thanks to Siegert Dierickx at TheseDays!), Taco Potze, from GoalGorilla, came to me and kindly offered ReWork, from Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson - the 37signals folks.

For startups and open minds

The book is an easy read - short chapters covering everything from entrepreneurship to project management, productivity, competition, evolution, marketing, staffing, crisis management, and corporate culture. Overall, it's an inspiring book. Anyone familiar with the startups culture will easily relate.

More traditional organizations might find it a stretch... but still thought provoking and inspiring.

My take

Taco said some of the things I was talking about in my workshop were similar to what was presented in the book. In fact, there are some striking resemblance! This isn't only reassuring, it's also a reinforcement of the Online Analytics Maturity privileged approach to web analytics and online business in general.

For example, the guys are not fans of long term planning - "plans let the past drive the future". I also have to agree with "what you do is what matters, not what you think or say or plan".

They also touch on the topic of creativity - something often debated in the analytics community - "constraints are advantages in disguise" and they "forces you to be creative". Right on! Some of the thoughts readily applies to the field of analytics: "don't make things worse by overanalyzing and delaying before you even get going" and without stating it, they borrow from the "lean" philosophy of "constantly look for things to remove, simplify and streamline". As one of my former boss used to say "make it easy to do business with"!

The book is full of useful tips and nuggets of wisdom. I'll leave you with two I particularly like:
A lot of companies post help-wanted ads seeking rock stars or ninjas. Lame. Unless your workspace is filled with groupies and throwing stars, these words have nothing to do with your business.
Although "ninja" might be trendy, it is certainly not the best job title if you want to reach out to c-level. This was my #1 advice from a recent post.
We all have ideas. Ideas are immortal. They last forever. What doesn't last forever is inspiration. Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: it has an expiration date.
As an analyst, you have to make the complex easier, and if you want to get somewhere, "decide what you're going to do this week, not this year".

I have a hint for you: this week, read ReWork!