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ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever – Book Highlights

In this post, I will be going over my kindle highlights for ReWork: Change the Way You Work Forever To One by Jason Fried (founder of Basecamp) and David Heinemeier Hansson (programmer at Basecamp and creator of Ruby on Rails). I am a massive fan of this book and it is one of the few books I consider to be a tier one book over on my reading list.

Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever
  • Vermilion
  • Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Edition no. 39473 (03/01/2010)
  • Paperback: 288 pages

“Fail early and fail often.”

If you are a regular reader of my blog or my forum posts then you will probably already know I am a big fan of failing. I see it as the best tool available to us to learn a new skill as quickly as possible. Personally, I always find I learn more when things go wrong rather than when things go right.

“A Harvard Business School study found already-successful entrepreneurs are far more likely to succeed again (the success rate for their future companies is 34 percent). But entrepreneurs whose companies failed the first time had almost the same follow-on success rate as people starting a company for the first time: just 23 percent.”

I found this to be an interesting statistic so I decided to include the highlight. Although interesting, the data can be skewed as you see people on the various internet marketing forums everyday who have a bad attitude to working and just want spoon feeding everything.

I would imagine the same is similar for people in the bricks and mortar world too but rather than wanting to be spoon fed everything many are either lazy or have other bad habits meaning they are more likely to fail over and over again.

“long-term business planning is a fantasy.”

As true for digital business as it is for bricks and mortar. Things change all the time, be it the google algorithm, having your affiliate account suspended or your keyword falling out of fashion and their search volume decreasing.

I personally find things I am trying today will be either outdated or patched out in a few months and this constant hampster wheel is one of the reasons I am planning to start a true white hat search engine optimization case study soon where I will focus on content volume rather than backlinks.

“Maybe the right size for your company is five people. Maybe it’s forty. Maybe it’s two hundred. Or maybe it’s just you and a laptop.”

Although this highlight can be applied directly as it is intended, another way it can be used is regarding the number of backlinks required to rank a site. I have lost count of the number of times I have noticed threads on the various forums where people are asking for the number of backlinks required to rank their site.

Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever
  • Vermilion
  • Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Edition no. 39473 (03/01/2010)
  • Paperback: 288 pages

“Workaholics miss the point, too. They try to fix problems by throwing sheer hours at them.”

This is definitely a sin I am guilty of. When I find a fault or problem I try to get as much data as possible and then analyze it to try and identify a number of possible fixes. I can think of a number of occasions when I have been doing something completely unrelated to internet marketing such as running, driving or even lying in bed waiting to fall asleep and an idea has popped into my head that ended up working.

“There’s a new group of people out there starting businesses. They’re turning profits yet never think of themselves as entrepreneurs. A lot of them don’t even think of themselves as business owners. They are just doing what they love on their own terms and getting paid for it.”

Ask yourself if this quote applies to you, it definitely applies to me! Within weeks of being introduced to internet marketing I knew it is what I want to do. On top of that, at the time of writing this blog is currently less than a month old and over the past few weeks I have enjoyed working on it more and more and intent on building it into a real asset over time.

“If you’re going to do something, do something that matters.”

I would like to add that it doesn’t have to be something that other people think matters provided you think it does. One recent example is a thread over on blackhatworld, I was essentially arguing with another member in the thread and thankfully he kept replying.

I was in the office at the time and a friend asked me what I was doing, I couldn’t be bothered to try and explain the concept of internet marketing or specifically traffic leaking so I simply replied with “arguing with someone on the internet”. As you may guess his response was along the lines of “that’s a total waste of your time”.

Little did he know that I had links to this blog in the first reply to the thread and each time I replied to the guy I was arguing with set the thread back to the top of the main page getting more eyeballs on it.

“The easiest, most straightforward way to create a great product or service is to make something you want to use.”

“There was no need for focus groups, market studies, or middlemen. We had the itch, so we scratched it.”

“It wasn’t someone else’s imaginary problem; it was a real one that he experienced firsthand.”

“These people scratched their own itch and exposed a huge market of people who needed exactly what they needed.”

“When you build what you need, you can also assess the quality of what you make quickly and directly”

“Best of all, this “solve your own problem” approach lets you fall in love with what you’re making.”

I will bunch these next highlights togeather as they serve the same point. Essentially this is what I am planning for this blog, I wish when I first started with internet marketing there was a resource like I plan to grow this into with tutorials that tell you useful things rather than the typical “press start and rank” crap that is on so many other blogs.

I have a few ideas for tools that I might have developed in the future too, I have a need for it and I know for a fact many other people will and there is nothing out there offering what I require right now so when my to-do list shrinks I may start looking into making them for myself.

Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever
  • Vermilion
  • Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Edition no. 39473 (03/01/2010)
  • Paperback: 288 pages

“Having the idea for eBay has nothing to do with actually creating eBay.”

“Until you actually start making something, your brilliant idea is just that, an idea.”

I will bunch these next two togeather, I have spoken to a few people who have made similar claims but when I asked so what did you do about their idea they usually replied with something along the lines of “nothing I just thought it would be a cool site”.

Having an idea is all well and good but the guy who took action and brought that idea to a viable product also took it through countless failures and changes that you are unable to see unless you are the one taking the action.

“There’s always enough time if you spend it right.”

“Instead of watching TV or playing World of Warcraft, work on your idea.”

“If you’re constantly staying late and working weekends, it’s not because there’s too much work to be done. It’s because you’re not getting enough done at work.”

“You can’t get meaningful things done when you’re constantly going start, stop, start, stop.”

These four highlights are essentially the basis of my post on how I increased my productivity by 30%. I decided to log my time and realized how much of it I was wasting doing pointless crap, slowly changed my habit and managed to increase productivity by 30%!

“For everyone who loves you, there will be others who hate you.”

In the words of Taylor Swift “the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate, hate”, why care about the opinion of someone who you never met and has little to no effect on the quality of your life? Depending on the situation you maybe able to manipulate the hater to actually benefit your situation. As I explained earlier in the thread, haters trying to counter your post on a forum can be used as a traffic source.

“We’re just as proud of what our products don’t do as we are of what they do.”

The vast majority of companies need to take this highlight, write it on some paper in bold and then staple it to their CEO’s head. Think of some products in your own life that you had to pay extra for because they had features you never asked for or would use.

A few years back I got a new car, its purpose was literally to get me from A to B but even what the car companies classed as entry level cars were jam packed with useless crap I would not use, never asked for and increased the price.

Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever
  • Vermilion
  • Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Edition no. 39473 (03/01/2010)
  • Paperback: 288 pages

“When you don’t know what you believe, everything becomes an argument. Everything is debatable. But when you stand for something, decisions are obvious.”

Although this was highlighted for a different reason I will use the example of my up coming white hat SEO case study. Due to losing a bunch of stuff with the penguin 4 roll out as I explain in this post I have been looking at other ways to earn online.

One of these potential methods is white hat search engine optimization, real white hat search engine optimization, not the stuff you see posted over on warrior forum where someone says they run a white hat site but have spent all day building backlinks to it. Then class it as white hat because the backlinks they made were created by hand and not by a tool. It still breaks the Google guidelines, specifically the part on link schemes so I consider it to be blackhat.

With this new case study, I plan to focus on keyword research and on page factors rather than off page factors as I have in the past. This means rather than trying to work out how many backlinks I need to build, at what velocity, on what platform, with what anchor text, with what type of content I just by pass this phase as the decision is obvious.

“Directors cut good scenes to make a great movie. Musicians drop good tracks to make a great album. Writers eliminate good pages to make a great book.”

“We cut this book in half between the next-to-last and final drafts. From 57,000 words to about 27,000 words. Trust us, it’s better for it.”

I will group these next two togeather. Be it movie scenes, songs, book pages or things closer to home such as tool features, keywords or traffic generation methods. Good things usually need to be scrapped to make something great.

“There’s the stuff you could do, the stuff you want to do, and the stuff you have to do. The stuff you have to do is where you should begin.”

If my memory serves me correctly, the book Eat That Frog is based on a similar principal to this highlight of getting the essential stuff that has to be done out of the way first, usually starting with the task that is most difficult as its all down hill from there.

“If I took this away, would what I’m selling still exist?”

GSA Search Engine Ranker is probably the easiest way to explain my point on this. Now I know everyone has their own methods but I can’t remember ever seeing someone successfully use the platforms pingback, referrer, exploit or indexer platforms and I personally dropped them years ago.

Now imagine if these platforms were removed, the majority of the functionality would remain along with the stuff users are putting to work on their live projects but on the flip side, there would be less distractions for new users to get confused about or to include in their tiers to potentially waste time and resources. Less is sometimes more.

“Commit to making decisions. Don’t wait for the perfect solution. Decide and move forward.”

In my opinion, nothing is truly perfect, people waste so much time waiting for something to be perfect and it is usually on tiny little things that the majority of their users will never use or notice. With my sites, I usually use the Pareto Principle and aim to have around 80% of the site how I want it and then go live.

“You’re as likely to make a great call today as you are tomorrow.”

How many times have you put something off for days or even weeks only to do the exact same thing you could have taken action on instantly? Similar to the Ebay example used earlier in the post, imagine if you were the one who took action rather than just leaving it as an idea, how different would your life be today?

Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever
  • Vermilion
  • Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Edition no. 39473 (03/01/2010)
  • Paperback: 288 pages

“The menus at failing restaurants offer too many dishes.”

While running tests I try some crazy and very complicated things, if they work I try to break them down to see what element of the test had the positive effect and eventually simplify the process. I have seen people in the past using crazy pyramids going as high as seven tiers! KISS is widespread because it works.

There is a story about Steve Jobs’ return to Apple, the company had increased its product line while he had been away and gotten themselves into trouble. Essentially, the additional products were causing problems. In one of his first meetings back at the company, the various heads of departments were arguing with each other and Jobs stood up, walked to a whiteboard and made a little drawing.

He turned to the group and said something along the lines of “from this day forward we will offer four products, two laptop based and two desktop based, one of each for amateurs and one of each for professionals”. That is the direction Apple took and the ended up one of the richest companies in the world.

“It’s tempting for people to obsess over tools instead of what they’re going to do with those tools.”

“They don’t want to put in the hours on the driving range so they spend a ton in the pro shop.”

I will group these next two togeather. When browsing the various internet marketing forums out there it doesn’t take long to come across a thread based around the “I just bought x tool, how do I earn money from it?” question line.

People rush out and buy the newest shiny toy without having a clue how it works or how they will use it to earn money. Thankfully, due to some extremely unique circumstances when I first got into internet marketing I had around seven month where I was unable to get online on a regular basis so I read up on various tools everyday. By the time I purchased the tools I had a plan of what I wanted to do as well as a rough idea of how I would use them.

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

The Whey Protein business is worth millions of dollars per year but not that long ago the whey used to create the protein power was considered a waste product from creating cheese and was commonly disposed of. That was until someone saw an opportunity and built a while new product range around it taking something that was previously thrown away and turning it into something that could generate an income.

Think of some of the things in your own processes that you consider waste, you never know, you maybe able to turn them into a revenue stream!

“A hundred people can read the same words, but in their heads, they’re imagining a hundred different things.”

I have been stung by this one multiple times, I would tell a contractor or virtual assistant what I wanted and to me my description made total sense. Days later the end product was totally wrong, not due to the contractor trying to cut costs but due to them interpreting my instructions.

A simple fix I have integrated to help counter this is to get the contractor to repeat what they think I require in their own words once I have briefed them. Although the problem still crops up now and then it is nowhere near as widespread as it once was.

“Meetings are toxic”

“A meeting that lasts one hour, and you invite ten people to attend. That’s actually a ten-hour meeting”

I have seen this multiple times with briefs and meetings while in the military. My flight would be forced to attend a brief or meeting that was not relevant to my trade or rank wasting valuable many hours when there was no reason for us to attend.

Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever
  • Vermilion
  • Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Edition no. 39473 (03/01/2010)
  • Paperback: 288 pages

“End with a solution and make someone responsible for implementing it.”

I have lost count of the number of times a tasking has been given to my flight and it hasn’t been completed simply because no one was made personally responsible for it. I have tried to minimize this as much as possible with my internet marketing by issuing specific tasks to specific virtual assistants with set time limits always making sure someone is responsible for its completion.

“A lot of times it’s better to be a quitter than a hero.”

I am guilty of this business sin, rather than giving up and moving onto something else I try to power through to find a solution. Although this has worked in the past my time could definitely be better spent elsewhere. To my knowledge, I was one of the last people ranking sites with nothing but GSA Search Engine Ranker links as recently as four months ago.

Right now I am putting a fair amount of my free time into the tool but I am seriously considering just demoting it to a lower tier and using it on tier one for anchor text diversification but only time will tell.

“We think we can guess how long something will take, when we really have no idea.”

This highlight can be applied to so many things in internet marketing, for example, take my recent post on the Google sandbox. I can try to plan how long it will take for a fresh domain to be moved out of the sandbox but in reality, I have no idea and there does not seem to be a pattern as to how long it takes.

“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.”

This does not only apply to competitors but also service providers. I have made a bit of a name for myself for being outspoken when service providers are charging full price for a service that does not work and I have made a number of threads on forums such as this one calling out link sellersthis one calling out OCR captcha services as well as a few others.

Not only did other people rally to my side but some of the services took my points on board, correcting their service resulting in a much better overall service, I have also made a few connections with other service providers from threads and posts like these where I am asked to alpha or beta test a service to provide feedback while being in an excellent position to make feature suggestions to better tailor the service for my own needs.

“When you get suckered into an arms race, you wind up in a never-ending battle that costs you massive amounts of money, time, and drive.”

I can remember when I first began with search engine optimization, I would choose my keywords at random and put far too many resources into trying to rank for keywords that in reality, I should have just dropped. These days I have perfected my keyword research method to better select my battles but sometimes it is better to give up and move on and use the resources on something that will be easier.

“All companies have customers. Lucky companies have fans. But the most fortunate companies have audiences.”

“An audience returns often—on its own—to see what you have to say. This is the most receptive group of customers and potential customers you’ll ever have.”

“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.”

I will group these next three togeather as they are based on a similar topic. I would add that the best companies have all three, take Apple for example. They have general customers who flip flop between iPhone and the latest Android device, they have their fans who are loyal to Apples products and then they have their audience who set the companies important events and conventions in their diaries to keep upto date with everything the company announces.

My goal for this blog is to build up all three, provide content for the random reader who finds my blog through some random traffic leak, search engine or social media post. Develop a fan base who enjoy my content as well as grown my own audience who regularly check my blog for new content and enjoy reading it.

Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever
  • Vermilion
  • Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Edition no. 39473 (03/01/2010)
  • Paperback: 288 pages

“Give people a backstage pass and show them how your business works.”

This is the basis of what this blog is based on, showing people how I earn money online and track the progress of my money site network version 2. There are countless examples in the business world of how giving users a behind the scenes look at your company can help but one unique example I like is that of the Reykjavik police department’s Instagram.

Rather than only showing what the public can see on the streets of the city the police decided to give their followers a behind the scenes look at what they get upto, at the time of writing the account has 166,000 followers and shows no signs of slowing down as more and more media outlets pick it up. Imagine if you were a small start up giving people an interesting look into the development and behind the scenes look at your office and being able to grow followers ready for the launch of your product.

“Don’t be afraid to show your flaws. Imperfections are real and people respond to real.”

“WHEN SOMETHING GOES wrong, someone is going to tell the story. You’ll be better off if it’s you.”

I will group these two togeather as they are both covering a similar point. I feel it is better to show your user or reader base that you are not perfect and that you make mistakes. I have posted on how I lost the majority of my portfolio due to penguin 4 in this post, everyone makes mistakes and rather than crying about it I decided to take advantage of the situation and create this blog so people can follow my journey of developing new methods and rebuilding my money site network.

“Drug dealers are astute businesspeople. They know their product is so good they’re willing to give a little away for free.”

If you aren’t confident enough in your product to give a little away for free knowing people will return as a fully fledged customer then you need to ask yourself if your product even has a purpose. There are countless products, tools, and services that use this strategy.

“Marketing is not a department”

Everyone who comes into contact while representing your business is involved in marketing, how many times have you ticketed support for a tool and been left with a bad impression? It has happened to me plenty of times and I even had the customer support agent for one service try to blackmail me because I left a negative review on their sales thread telling the truth.

I know it is tempting to outsource customer support but at least make sure they are polite and respectful to the people they are engaging with, a negative experience will impact you much more than a positive one!

“You will not be a big hit right away. You will not get rich quick.”

“Trade the dream of overnight success for slow, measured growth.”

I will group these next two togeather as they cover the same point. So many people see earning reports on blogs or method threads and think they will earn that much quickly. This has never happened to me! It has always taken me time, effort and money before I began to see a return.

This is one of the reasons I decided to share my money site network earning reports as well as the earning reports for this blog, I hope it gives people a realistic outlook on how soon they will be able to begin to earn money in internet marketing rather than just expecting to knock it out of the park instantly!

“NEVER HIRE ANYONE to do a job until you’ve tried to do it yourself first.”

Most of the scammers in the internet marketing industry rely on people neglecting this highlight. It is all well and good to outsource jobs but do it yourself to make sure you know what you are getting in return for your money!

So many people new to the industry see the flashy sales threads promising them the world and bite only to be fobbed off by jargon when the service does nothing and because they have never actually did the task themselves they have no idea they are being scammed.

Rework: Change The Way You Work Forever
  • Vermilion
  • Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Publisher: Vermilion
  • Edition no. 39473 (03/01/2010)
  • Paperback: 288 pages

“You need an environment where everyone feels safe enough to be honest when things get tough.”

While serving in the Royal Air Force I saw this a lot, people would over react and hide behind their rank to protect themselves from criticism even if the junior rank was actually right and his points would benefit the airforce overall. All this did was restrict the constructive criticism that could have been produced in the future to benefit the flight.

In my own internet marketing business, I try to see my virtual assistants as contractors rather than staff and make sure they see me as a client rather than a boss, especially if they are not from Europe or North America. Some countries cultures are totally different to what I am used to and where I would speak up and ask if there is a particular reason we don’t complete a task an easier way I have noticed some cultures do not encourage this meaning I potentially lose out on valuable feedback.

“There’s surprisingly little difference between a candidate with six months of experience and one with six years.”

“How long someone’s been doing it is overrated. What matters is how well they’ve been doing it.”

I will bunch these two up as they are aimed at the same point. You see this all the time in internet marketing, a LinkedIn profile or sales thread will say something along the lines of “I have been a search engine optimization expert for over 12 years!”. Now, I can see why this would work on many people but personally, I rather know when they last ranked a site.

Google has changed a bunch in the past six months, never mind the past 12 years! What’s the point in hiring someone who probably overcharges as they value their “experience” more than their results if they are using techniques that have been patched out.

“There are plenty of intelligent people who don’t excel in the classroom.”

“Ninety percent of CEOs currently heading the top five hundred American companies did not receive undergraduate degrees from Ivy League colleges.”

“Too much time in academia can actually do you harm.”

I will bunch these three up as they are getting to the same point. Although I can’t speak for other countries, the school system in the United Kindom seems set up to teach you how to earn money, not make money. I personally feel there is a big difference in those two mentalities and until recently I was in the “earn money” mindset until I broke free and decided to try living with the “make money” mindset.

On top of this I know a bunch of people who are very intelligent but just don’t test well, not only did these poor grades affect their future but also their confidence. If someone who is under-confident is told they are stupid enough times they will believe it.

To be clear, I am not telling you dropping out of school is a good idea but so many top entrepreneurs did not complete their schooling and made more money than most people who complete university. Paraphrasing from Sir Alan Sugar, his mentality is that if he requires a university skillset he will just pay someone with that particular degree to do that job for him rather than taking the time out of his life to get the degree himself.

“It’s crazy not to hire the best people just because they live far away.”

Especially, in this industry! I have a few people I work with from Europe and North America but the majority are from either India or South East Asia right now. Their work is just as good as I could get closer to home but they charge a fraction of the price.

“There’s never really a great way to say you’re sorry, but there are plenty of terrible ways.”

“A good apology accepts responsibility. It has no conditional if phrase attached.”

I will group these next two points togeather as they target a similar point. How many times in your life has something gone wrong and the offender either has not said sorry or did it terribly? I can think of a few times in my life this has happened, I have cut all ties with a fair few service providers because of it too.

If you screw up admit is and be sincere when you say sorry and explain what has happened, it may save the relationship and help you keep the business.

Last update on 2017-12-17 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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