illustration of Jordan Kohl

Getting Real vs REWORK

- work — 2 min read

I really admire 37signals for their accomplishments and their unique philosophies. I've read through most of their first book: Getting Real (which you can do for free) and just finished their newest book: REWORK. While I don't always agree with everything they say 100%, they have a lot of great ideas that can push you in a different direction. Sometimes you have to take what you do, take what they suggest, and find a happy middle-ground. For example, they say

Don't waste time on problems you don't have yet... Do you really need to worry about scaling to 100,000 users today if it will take you two years to get there?

Well, no, but if your goal is to get that many users, you should probably take it into consideration while you're planning your infrastructure. Obviously that doesn't mean you go out and buy 100 servers on day one, but you shouldn't just ignore the problem until it happens. At that point it may be too late to scale your code without massive reconfiguring.

They also advise you to always say no to new features. Well that has certainly worked for them and in theory it certainly does speed up development time. But they've also lost a lot of customers who want more features.

In the end, 37signals has built a huge business of these principles and a lot of the same principles can work for your own business, just make sure to take them with a grain of salt. Sometimes doing the opposite might even give you a leg up. Regardless, both Getting Real and REWORK are chock-full of great advice and I highly recommend picking one or both of these books up. Getting Real is available online, so definitely check that out before pulling the trigger on either. REWORK has a lot of the same content as Getting Real, but its a little more polished and has some great illustrations.