The Second 'Get Real' Wave Thursday November 5, 2009

If you look back over the duration of your life, you’ll notice that you’ve probably been tied to a Philosophical Wave or two in your life.

When I talk about Philosophical Wave, I’m talking about a period of life where someone’s ideas become the doctrine of your life. It maybe the political viewpoints of your parents, the spiritual concepts hidden in a book, or like me, it could be your embarrassing Anarchy-phase spurred on by too many nights listening to Rage Against The Machine and memorizing AdBusters. Either way people go thorough these phases all the time. Some stick, some you grow-out of, and most linger to become the fabric of your beliefs.

A couple years ago, I went through the Get Real/37signals phase. If you remember some of my blog posts back in those days I was all about throwing out the shackles of corporate North America and getting stuff done. It was all I would talk about and I spent many days sluffing off other peoples opinions, because they were too bloated and inflated.

A couple years have passed and some of the concepts from my Get Real phase have stuck and some have drifted, but I’m noticing a sudden reemergence of the company’s philosophy in the articles and stories I’m reading. In particular there is this great interview with Founder Jason Fried, on the way he works. Here are some solid bits for you to digest.

I spend another good portion of my day thinking about how to make things less complicated. In the software world, the first, second, and third versions of any product are really pretty good, because everyone can use them. Then companies start adding more and more stuff to keep their existing customers happy. But you end up dying with your customer base, because the software is too complicated for a newcomer. We keep our products simple. I’d rather have people grow out of our products, as long as more people are growing into them.

We rarely have meetings. I hate them. They’re a huge waste of time, and they’re costly. It’s not one hour; it’s 10, because you pulled 10 people away from their real work. Plus, they chop your day into small bits, so you have only 20 minutes of free time here or 45 minutes there. Creative people need unstructured time to get in the zone. You can’t do that in 20 minutes.

At night, I often get a real productive boost, and I do a couple of hours of work. Usually the more complicated, detailed things that require deep thought. But sometimes, I just wind down by reading or watching TV. I relate to Larry David on Curb Your Enthusiasm. I also watch House, M.D. And sometimes I’ll watch American Idol. I love the whole American dream, underdog thing, but I also love the conflict. Simon is brutally honest. And he’s always right.

And I could quote dozens of great little tid bits from their writing, but it’d be pointless. If some of these ideas have sparked an interest check out their book GetReal and then follow the Signals vs. Noise Blog for more inspiration.

Categories: The-Blogosphere, The-Corporation,

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