in Observations, startup

on being open to change

How easy is it just to say no? I think you’ll probably find just about as easy as it is to always say yes. In the past I have often found myself entrenched in that no camp. It’s so easy to hate a company, a stance or an ideology without even attempting to think of the why.

I recently decided to try out an approach where instead of following my five second gut instinct assessment, I would instead spend some time trying to overcome my own (possibly) over zealous opinions.

My test subjects for this were the guys at 37signals. I frequently found myself disagreeing with most things these guys were saying for no reason other than the aggressive way they generally put forward a point. This is a real stupid thing to do – even more so when you see it in writing!

Anyway, in this new era of love and enlightenment I picked up the book Rework by Jason Fried and DHH. I was immediately surprised how much I identified with the things these guys were saying about running a business, from focusing on products that can make a profit from day one, to abandoning long range forecasts (or to paraphrase “elaborate guessing”) about your business. So two guys I thought I “hated” actually hold opinions pretty close to my own, i.e. I was being an asshole!

Before anyone gets the impression that I’ve now turned into the “super fanboi”, I should say that I don’t think that Rework described THE way to run a business. It’s simply A way to go about things, and one that happens to be close to what I believe. For example, the books contains ideas that may fall apart when it comes to dealing with large enterprises or when trying to build “uber” companies like Google and Facebook – who can argue with their success. However most of the ideas seem spot on if you are trying to build a small to medium B2B business.

So the moral of this story is try to see past the way information is being presented to you and look at what the information is actually telling you – this is true for both the hater and the fanboi. However, it should also not be overlooked that if something is shit, then say it’s shit.

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  1. Dude, that book only gets 3 out of 5 stars, says it all 😉 I am in fact going to read (soon) “Making Software: What Really Works, and Why We Believe It”. It apparently does several studies on various methodologies and provides some (hopefully) accurate conclusions. I believe in science and numbers, not what resonates loudest in echo chambers.