37signals – Getting Real

This was quite possibly one of the greatest books that I have read about building web apps. And as it states in the book, not only can these rules and guidelines be used for web apps, but they can literally be used in any aspect of your life.

I got the electronic version of this book and after I started reading it, I couldn’t stop. It is a pretty easy read. I kept on coming back to it for inspiration and finished it in 2 days; although, it could easily be read in a couple hours. BTW, if you are a web app developer you will immediately be inspired. The motivation and insight from this book may have you taking a second look at the way things are done around you.

‘Getting Real’ is the perfect name for this book because they don’t beat around the bush, they get real and straight to the point. With that said, I would like to point out some of the things I took away from this book. Here they are as follows:

  • In order to make a better product than your competitor, you do not have to over-do them. In fact the best way to compete is to under-do your competition. Just because your competitor has 20 features does not mean that your application needs to have 30 features. In many cases, you may have fewer features than your competition, yet the features you do have are executed to perfection. Don’t try and bloat your project. Simplicity is virtue.
  • If you have a deadline to meet and you have so many things to finish up before that deadline, don’t throw it all together real quickly and say “it’s good enough”. Instead, hold off on finishing all the ‘less demanding’ things and give all your effort to the things that matter the most. Deliver Half,… Not Half-assed!
  • When you are passionate about your work, it will show. The same goes for if you are not passionate, that will show too. So keep yourself and your customers happier, because if you’re not passionate about what you are doing then maybe it’s time to search for that passion.
  • Meetings are a waste of time. When people have meetings after meetings, nothing ever gets accomplished. People tend to get into arguments and finally once they have come to a resolution there will still be so many unexpected variables that will tornado into more disagreements. Have you ever had meetings all day and then by the end of the day you feel like you didn’t really accomplish anything or that now you’re in the dark even more? This is because meetings are giant time suckers and they don’t show results. If you must have meetings keep them as short as 30 minutes, set a timer and stick to it!
  • Execution… How something gets done? This is a major key to success and failure. Even the most brilliant ideas with so-so execution will fail; however, even a so-so idea with brilliant execution will succeed.

There are so many other great things that I have taken away from this book; however, I could go on and on. You’ll just have to take my word for it and check it out yourself. You can visit the book website at:

The bottom line: Getting Real is trying to tell us something that we have all heard before… ‘Less is More’. If you try and take on too much, you will most likely end up failing in one way or another, so focus on the things that are important get them done and do them well.

Finally, I’ll leave you with another key element and a quote from the book.

You should refrain from adding additional features. Steve Jobs said that they say no to 10 projects before saying yes to 1. Awesome!

Make each feature work hard to be implemented. Make each feature prove itself and show that it’s a survivor. It’s like “Fight Club.” You should only consider features if they’re willing to stand on the porch for three days waiting to be let in.

Love it ;)