Sometimes ideas and skills are not enough to take the plunge and begin your own project. Sometimes you need a motivation booster, a hammer that will help you to break the ice and make the first step.
It took a few years to find our hammer, our courage amplifier called 37signals, a great company that sells web-based software. Actually, the upturn point in our professional lives was when we discovered and read their first book called “Getting Real”, written by the founder Jason Fried and their partner David Heinemeier Hansson. In the book they talk about principles of building web application and running a service based online business. Every essay from the book was like a mosaic of words specially written for us. Most important, the book makes us realize that doing what we like is freedom, and liking what we do is happiness.
“Getting Real is a smaller, faster, better way to build software.”
“Getting real is less. Less mass, less software, less features, less paperwork, less of everything that’s not essential.”
“Getting Real is staying small and being agile.”
Fragments from the book
“Getting Real” by 37signals
The wealth of principles exposed in “Getting Real” is so immense that melted our scepticism and provoked us to start thinking of how to implement some of them in our own product. Actually Invoicebus is a product conceived with their blessing. That’s the part of Invoicebus story we call enlightenment, one of the key points of how we got real.
We gladly embraced some of those principles like: to build less, to keep the product simple, to fund ourselves, to ignore the details at early stages of development, to scale later, to personify our product, to make the interface before implementing the logic, to use the epicenter design for building.
One of the best advice was to ignore the functional spec and directly build the real thing instead. Actually, that raised our creativity to its majestic peak. Also, we’ve felt on our own skin the thesis that a small team is more agile and efficient than a bigger one, more organized and more productive. Indeed, a member from a small team can wears different hats in different situations creating a distributed wave of knowledge for all parts of the product equally.
Other remarkable thing for the book is the writing style used to express their attitudes. No formalities, no abstractions and generalizations, direct and straight language just like from a true friend.
Shortly after we had discovered Getting Real (it was published in 2006, we heard about it in early 2010) we found out that they plan to publish another book, more business specific, called “Rework”. We read “Getting Real” online for free, however we were thrilled from it so we bought “Rework” in printed version. In the first week of sale “Rework” became New York Times bestseller. This book is no less brilliant than the first one, full with their simple but powerful approaches. Actually it’s a must have for every business no matter how big or small it is.
“This is a different kind of business book for different kinds of people – from those who have never dreamed of starting a business to those who already have a successful company up and running.”
“It’s for hard-core entrepreneurs, the Type A go-getters of the business world. People who feel like they were born to start, lead, and conquer.”
“It’s even for people stuck in day jobs who have always dreamed about doing their own thing. Maybe they like what they do, but they don’t like their boss. Or maybe they’re just bored. They want to do something they love and get paid for it.”
Fragments from the book
“Rework” by J. Fried and D.H. Hansson
Rework book + part of our working environment
Those books launched us far beyond the boundaries of disbelief and doubt, on the place where motivation grows as a plant seeded with enthusiasm, belief and goodwill.
This blog post is kind of tribute for them, 37signals, a gratitude for the great work they’ve done by writing and publishing these 2 golden treasures.
Thank you guys for the pure awesomeness you exposed in that 171 pages of “Getting Real” and 280 pages of “Rework”.