January 24, 2015

Rework (《重来》)读书笔记

Rework (《重来》)读书笔记





The real world isn’t a place, it’s an excuse. It’s a justification for not trying. It has nothing to do with you.


Contrast that with learning from your success. Success gives you real ammunition. When something succeeds, you know what worked — and you can do it again. And the next time, you’ll probably do it even better. Failure is not a prerequisite for success.


That shouldn’t be a surprise: It’s exactly how nature works. Evolution doesn’t linger on past failures, it always building upon what worked. So should you.


And you have to be able to improvise. You have to be able to pick up opportunities that come alone. Sometimes you need to say, “We’re going in a new direction because that’s what makes sense today.”


The timing of long-range plans is screwed up too. You have the most information when you’re doing something, not before you’ve done it. Yet when do you write a plan? Usually it’s before you’ve even begun. That’s the worst time to make a big decision.


Small is not just a stepping-stone. Small is a great destination in itself.


Don’t be insecure about aiming to be a small business. Anyone who runs a business that’s sustainable and profitable, whether it’s big or small, should be proud.


Not only is this workaholism unnecessary, it’s stupid. Working more doesn’t mean you care more or get more done. It just means you work more.


If all you do is work, you’re unlikely to have sound judgments. Your values and decision making wind up skewed. You stop being able to decide what’s worth extra effort and what’s not. And you wind up just plain tired. No one makes sharp decisions when tired.


Workaholics aren’t heroes. They don’t save the day, they just use it up. The real hero is already home because she figured out a faster way to get things done.


Everyone should be encouraged to start his own business, not just some rare breed that self-identifies as entrepreneurs.


You just need an idea, a touch of confidence, and a push to get started.



To do great work, you need to feel that you’re making a difference. That you’re putting a meaningful dent in the universe. That you’re part of something important.


This doesn’t mean you need to find the cure for cancer. It’s just that your efforts need to feel valuable. You want your customers to say, “This makes my life better.” You want to feel that if you stopped doing what you do, people would notice.


You should feel an urgency about this too. You don’t have forever. This is your life’s work. Do you want to build just another me-too product or do you want to shake things up? What you do is your legacy. Don’t sit around and wait for someone else to make the change you want to see. And don’t think it takes a huge team to make that difference either.


If you’re going to do something, do something that matters. These little guys came out of nowhere and destroyed old models that had been around for decades. You can do the same in your industry.


The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use. That lets you design what you know — and you’ll figure out immediately whether or not what you’re making is any good.


Kubrick knew that when you’re new at something, you need to start creating. The most important thing is to begin.


Ideas are cheap and plentiful. The original pitch idea is such a small part of a business that it’s almost negligible. The real question is how well you execute.


When you want something bad enough, you make the time — regardless of your other obligations. The truth is most people just don’t want it bad enough. Then they protect their ego with the excuse of time. Don’t let yourself off the hook with excuses. It’s entirely your responsibility to make your dreams come true.


Besides, the perfect time never arrives. You’re always too young or old or busy or broke or something else. If you constantly fret about timing things perfectly, they’ll never happen.


As you get going, keep in mind why you’re doing what you’re doing. Great businesses have a point of view, not just a product or service. You have to believe in something. You need to have a backbone. You need to know what you;re willing to fight for. And then you need to show the world.


A strong stand is how you attract super fans. They point to you and defend you. And they spread the word further, wider, and more passionately than any advertising could.


We design them to be simple because we believe most software is too complex: too many features, too many buttons, too much confusion. So we build software that’s the opposite of that. If what we make isn’t right for everyone, that’s OK. We’re willing to lose some customers if it means that others love our products intensely. That’s our line in the sand.


Standing for something isn’t just about writing it down. It’s about believing and living it.


Spending other people’s money may sound great, but there’s a noose attached. Here’s why: 1) You give up control; 2) “Cashing out” begins to trump building a quality business; 3) Spending other people’s money is addictive; 4) It’s usually a bad deal; 5) Customers move down the totem pole; 6) Raising money is incredibly distracting.


There’s nothing wrong with being frugal. When we launched our first product, we did it on the cheap.


Great companies start in garages all the time. Yours can too.


Actual business have to deal with actual things like billing and payroll. Actual business worry about profit from day one. Actual business don’t mask deep problems by saying, “It’s OK, we’re a startup.” Act like an actual business and you’ll have a much better shot at succeeding.


If you do manage to get a good thing going, keep it going. Good things don’t come around that often. Don’t let your business be the one that got away.


Embrace the idea of having less mass. Right now, you’re the smallest, the leanest, and the fastest you’ll ever be.



Less is a good thing. Constrains 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.


So sacrifice some of your darlings for the greater good. Cut your ambition in half. You’re better off with a kick-ass half than a half assed whole.


So figure out your epicenter. Which part of your equation can’t be removed? If you can continue to get by without this thing or that thing, then these things aren’t the epicenter. When you find it, you’ll know. Then focus all your energy on making it the best it can be. Everything else you do depends on that foundation.


Ignore the details — for a wile. Nail the basics first and worryabout the specifics later.


Besides, you often can’t recognize the details that matter most until after you start building. That’s when you see what needs more attention. You feel what’s missing. And that’s when you need to pay attention, not sooner.


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.


Long projects zap morale. The longer it takes to develop, the less likely it is to launch. Make the call, make progress, and get something out now — while you’ve got the motivation and momentum to do so.


It’s the stuff you leave out that matters. So constantly look for things to remove, simplify, and streamline. Be a curator. Stick to what’s truly essential. Pare things down until you’re left with only the most important stuff. Then do it again. You can always add stuff back in later if you need to.


When things aren’t working, the natural inclination is to throw more at the problem. More people, time, and money. All that ends up doing is making the problem bigger. The right way to go is the opposite direction: Cut back.


Remember, fashion fades away. When you focus on permanent features, you’re in bed with things that never go out of style.


Use whatever you’ve got already or can afford cheaply. Then go. It’s not the gear that matters. It’s playing what you’ve got as well as you can. Your tone is in your fingers.


You can’t make just one thing. Everything has a by-product. Observant and creative business minds spot these by-products and see opportunities.


Put off anything you don’t need for launch. Build the necessities now, worry about the luxuries later. If you really think about it, there’s a whole lot you don’t need on day one.


This approach just recognizes that the best way to get there is through iterations. Stop imagining what’s going to work. Find out for real.



If you need to explain something, try getting real with it. Instead of describing what something looks like, draw it. Instead of explaining what something sounds like, hum it. Do everything you can to remove layers of abstraction.

抽象事物(比如报告和文件)会给人造成认知错觉。让 100 个人读同一段话时,他们的脑子里会想象出 100 种不同的意思。这就是我们要求尽量贴近实际的原因。只有这样才能让人真正理解你的想法。

The problem with abstractions (like reports and documents) is that they create illusions of agreement. A hundred people can read the same words, but in their heads, they’re imagining a hundred different things. That’s why you want to get to something real right away. That’s when you get true understanding.

你需要问自己几个重要的问题,以确定你是否是在做真正有意义的事情:1)为什么要这么做? 2)你在解决什么问题? 3)这真的有用吗? 4)你加上去的东西有价值吗? 5)这种改变真的会起作用吗? 6)这种方法更简单吗? 7)有其他更值得做的事情吗?8)这样做值得吗?

Here are some important questions to ask yourself to ensure you’re doing work that matters: 1)Why are you doing this? 2)What problem are you solving? 3)Is this actually useful? 4)Are you adding value? 5)Will this change behavior? 6)Is there an easier way? 7)What could you be doing instead? 8)Is it really worth it?


Also, don’t be timid about your conclusions. Sometimes abandoning what you’re working on is the right move, even if you’ve already put in a lot of effort. Don’t throw good time after bad work.


Instead, you should get in the alone zone. Long stretches of alone time are when you’re most productive. When you don’t have to mind-shift between various tasks, you get a boatload done. (Ever notice how much work you get done on a plane since you’re offline and there are zero outside distractions?)


And go all the way with it. A successful alone-time period means letting go of communication addiction. During alone time, give up instant messages, phone calls, e- mail, and meetings. Just shut up and get to work. You’ll be surprised how much more you get done.


The worst interruptions of all are meetings.


If you decide you absolutely must get together, try to make your meeting a productive one by sticking to these simple rules…


Problems can usually be solved with simple, mundane solutions. That means there’s no glamorous work. You don’t get to show off your amazing skills. You just build something that gets the job done and then move on. This approach may not earn you oohs and aahs, but it lets you get on with it.


The way you build momentum is by getting something done and then moving on to the next thing.


Keep in mind that the obvious solution might very well be quitting. People automatically associate quitting with failure, but sometimes that’s exactly what you should do. If you already spent too much time on something that wasn’t worth it, walk away. You can’t get that time back. The worst thing you can do now is waste even more time.


Forgoing sleep is a bad idea. Sure, you get those extra hours right now, but you pay in spades later: You destroy your creativity, morale, and attitude.


We’re all terrible estimators. We think we can guess how long something will take, when we really have no idea.


The solution: Break the big thing into smaller things. The smaller it is, the easier it is to estimate. You’re probably still going to get it wrong, but you’ll be a lot less wrong than if you estimated a big project. If something takes twice as long as you expected, better to have it be a small project that’s a couple weeks over rather than a long one that’s a couple months over.


Start making smaller to-do lists too. Long lists collect dust.


Whenever you can, divide problems into smaller and smaller pieces until you’re able to deal with them completely and quickly. Simply rearranging your tasks this way can have an amazing impact on your productivity and motivation.


Instead, make choices that are small enough that they’re effectively temporary. When you make tiny decisions, you can’t make big mistakes. These small decisions mean you can afford to change. There’s no big penalty if you mess up. You just fix it.



The problem with this sort of copying is it skips understanding–and understanding is how you grow. You have to understand why something works or why something is the way it is. When you just copy and paste, you miss that. You just repurpose the last layer instead of understanding all the layers underneath.


If you’re successful, people will try to copy what you do. It’s just a fact of life. But there’s a great way to protect yourself from copycats: Make you part of your product or service. Inject what’s unique about the way you think into what you sell. Decommoditize your product. Make it something no one else can offer.


If you think a competitor sucks, say so. When you do that, you’ll find that others who agree with you will rally to your side. Being the anti-____ is a great way to differentiate yourself and attract followers.


So what do you do instead? Do less than your competitors to beat them. Solve the simple problems and leave the hairy, difficult, nasty problems to the competition. Instead of one-upping, try one-downing. Instead of outdoing, try underdoing.


In the end, it’s not worth paying much attention to the competition anyway. Focus on competitors too much and you wind up diluting your own vision. Your chances of coming up with something fresh go way down when you keep feeding your brain other people’s ideas. You become reactionary instead of visionary. You wind up offering your competitor’s products with a different coat of paint.



It’s so easy to say yes. Yes to another feature, yes to an overly optimistic deadline,

yes to a mediocre design. Soon, the stack of things you’ve said yes to grows so tall you can’t even see the things you should really be doing.


Start getting into the habit of saying no–even to many of your best ideas. Use the power of no to get your priorities straight. You rarely regret saying no. But you often wind up regretting saying yes.


People and situations change. You can’t be everything to everyone. Companies need to be true to a type of customer more than a specific individual customer with changing needs.


So let your latest grand ideas cool off for a while first. By all means, have as many great ideas as you can. Get excited about them. Just don’t act in the heat of the moment. Write them down and park them for a few days. Then, evaluate their actual priority with a calm mind.


When you create an at-home-good product, you may have to sacrifice a bit of in- store sizzle. A product that executes on the basics beautifully may not seem as sexy as competitors loaded with bells and whistles. Being great at a few things often doesn’t look all that flashy from afar. That’s OK. You’re aiming for a long-term relationship, not a one-night stand.


If there’s a request that you keep forgetting, that’s a sign that it isn’t very important. The really important stuff doesn’t go away.



No one knows who you are right now. And that’s just fine. Being obscure is a great position to be in. Be happy you’re in the shadows.


Use this time to make mistakes without the whole world hearing about them. Keep tweaking. Work out the kinks. Test random ideas. Try new things. No one knows you, so it’s no big deal if you mess up. Obscurity helps protect your ego and preserve your confidence.


When you build an audience, you don’t have to buy people’s attention–they give it to you. This is a huge advantage.


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.


Teach and you’ll form a bond you just don’t get from traditional marketing tactics.


And those that don’t should stop acting like those that do. Don’t be afraid of sharing.


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.





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