Getting Real Book Summary By Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

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Getting Real is an important read for anyone wanting to start a business in the web app market.

Written by 37signals, this book seeks to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of the challenges entrepreneurs face before getting started.

It breaks them down into manageable sections that provide hard facts and practical advice on what to do and what not to do when it comes to launching your app business.

With a clear and easy-to-follow narrative, Getting Real gives you the knowledge and confidence you need when starting out.

Getting Real Book Summary

Book Name: Getting Real (The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application)

Author(s): Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

Rating: 4.5/5

Reading Time: 18 Minutes

Categories: Entrepreneurship

Author Bio

Jason Fried is a well-known figure in the web development world.

He's the co-founder of 37signals, one of the leading companies in web development and design.

With expertise in coding and business strategy, Jason is a truly accomplished entrepreneur with a wealth of knowledge related to developing tech products.

His book “Getting Real” is one of the pillars of modern web design, offering invaluable insight into techniques that have enabled developers to launch successful businesses.

If you're looking for advice on how to take your idea from conception to fruition, be sure to check out this must-read publication!

The Secrets To Successful Entrepreneurship: Real Wisdom On Creating, Launching And Managing A Product For Leaders Of Any Kind

Successful Entrepreneurship

When you’re trying to launch a new business, it’s essential that you know how to skip the useless bits and focus on the essential tasks.

Jason Fried, author of Getting Real, shares his insights on the challenges of creating, launching and managing a new business, drawn from his own personal experiences with developing an agile start-up.

This book is full of useful advice about how to identify and prioritize tasks when starting out in the business world.

You’ll learn why competing with established players is often counter-productive; why generalists can be more valuable than specialists; and how finding your ‘work zone’ ensures success.

Most importantly though, you’ll renew your understanding of what it takes to succeed: Skip the fluff and stay focused on the core ideas underpinning your project if you really want to win – get real!

The Key To Small Business Success: Going The Opposite Way Of Your Competitors And Doing Less

Early entrepreneurs who want to build successful apps should focus on building ones that speak to a demographic they know best – themselves.

After all, no one knows your problems better than you do, so you are the best source for solutions.

This is certainly true for the author of ‘Getting Real’, who crafted an app to fill a gap he noticed within his own web design business: he needed a communication tool for staying in touch with clients and keeping tabs on projects.

As soon as he had created such an application himself, it became an instant success.

This strategy of focusing on creating your own solution instead of trying to mimic what other companies do has many advantages.

Not only will you have more control over the product itself, but it also means you’ll save time and money by not needing to conduct surveys or customer feedback.

However, it’s important to avoid seeking external funding when crafting your own product too early on in the process.

That way, you can stay in control of how it develops and remain true to your own creative vision without having to answer anybody else’s demands or wishes.

The Benefits Of Keeping Your Business Small And Nimble

Having a lean and agile team is essential when launching a new, successful product.

After all, physics tells us that the heavier the mass, the harder it is to change its direction.

This means that smaller teams with fewer features are more flexible and can latch onto good ideas while quickly abandoning bad ones.

For instance, if an unexpected development such as virtual reality suddenly becomes popular among consumers, who would adapt faster? A small start-up with minimal features and flexible strategy or a large enterprise with hundreds of employees and complex products?

The answer should be obvious!

That’s why keeping your team as lean as possible is key to success.

A maximum of three people is enough manpower to remain productive while staying agile.

When building web applications you should only need a developer, designer and sweeper (the mediator between design and development).

For other businesses it should include one person dedicated to core technology, one in charge of business development, and another for financial matters.

If you find that three people aren’t enough for your first version then maybe you’ve bitten off more than you can chew – trim down your ambition and stay focused on creating simple yet effective products with a small flexible team of experts.

Prioritize Vision And Resist Perfectionism: The Essential Tips For Launching A Product Successfully


When it comes to producing a successful product, being mindful of priorities and focusing on the present are essential.

Sure, it’s important to have big dreams for your product – but don’t get so wrapped up in details that you waste time with needless delays and arguments.

Instead, the author suggests drawing a picture – literally or figuratively: start by getting the proportions right, sketching out the broad outlines before filling in the details.

As easy as it may be to get sidetracked with questions of scaling and hypothesizing future issues that may arise, you don’t need to overthink this part yet; instead wait until your product has launched and can supply data which can be used for improvements.

At the same time, try not to get too caught up in minor details at this stage.

This is especially true during early development since focusing on details like these can cause arguments over matters which have little relevance right now.

It’s OK to perfect later – when launching your product, set your priorities first and avoid sweating any unimportant specifics while you work steadily towards success.

How To Optimize Your Time And Avoid Wasting It When Setting Up A New Business

Creating a strong organization is crucial for maximizing time for productive work.

With the right strategic planning and structure, businesses can identify and avoid wasting their precious resources that come with starting up a new business.

One way to get the full benefit of effective productivity is to create an environment where you can focus without distractions.

You may find that this is easier in the mornings or late nights when there’s less noise and motor activity around you; this is when most people find themselves in ‘the zone’, when they are fully focused on their tasks and not distracted by the outside world.

In order to make sure you’re taking advantage of this magic hour, it’s best to dedicate at least half of your workday where there are no interruptions like talking with others, answering phones, or responding to emails.

Similarly, meetings should be kept concise and only necessary parties should attend; setting agendas in advance helps cut out irrelevant discussions which would otherwise waste time.

communication also needs to be handled properly; siloed departments creates limitations where teams miss out on understanding the broader objectives of their project, therefore having integrated teams can foster inter-specialization dialogue so problems are solved collectively and quickly.

These measures will ensure that your organization runs efficiently and productively, leading your business closer to its goals quickly and efficiently!

How To Choose The Right Team Members For Your Small Business

When it comes to building your team, you’ll want to make sure that all the members have the right attitude.

Individuals with enthusiasm and genuine interest in the project are more likely to be motivated and committed to success, so they’re ideal members of any small team.

You might also want to look for someone who has worked in a big corporate environment before and is excited about joining a start-up – this kind of person usually brings lots of energy and enthusiasm with them.

It’s also important not to hire too quickly when starting out – taking time to find the best people for each role will mean better communication and fewer personality clashes later on.

Delay hiring for as long as possible until after the product launch, so there is a better chance of assimilation into company culture.

Even if that means scaling back your project ambitions temporarily – it’s worth it in the long run!

Less Is More: How To Build A Quality Product By Deciding What’s Essential

Quality Product

Creating a great product means being selective with the features you include and saying “no” to the rest.

As an entrepreneur, it’s incredibly important to understand what makes up a good product and how to choose the most essential elements, then ruthlessly cut out the rest.

Mark Zuckerberg’s original version of Facebook was much less developed than what we use today, but he understood that it was important to launch his product when it was just good enough for his target audience – not necessarily perfect.

He then worked on refining the site by slowly adding more features over time.

This is an example of doing things with focus and discipline – something Steve Jobs encouraged as well when asked about “missing features” for Apple’s iTunes store.

It’s all about understanding which features are absolutely necessary for your product, then limiting other options in order to keep your product lean and simple yet intuitively designed.

Design Your Web Applications With The End User In Mind – Leave Preferences Out Of The Equation

When building a software application, your interface is the first and probably the most important thing a user will interact with.

It’s essentially your product, so it’s essential to take care of the interface right from the start of your development process.

For web applications, it’s even more important to focus on the interface before you spend too much time programming.

If you neglect it, it may be extremely complicated (and expensive) to go back and try to fix it later.

To create a great interface, you need to identify what is essential for each page by asking yourself questions like: “What’s the essence of this page?” and “Which elements are vital for its comprehension?”.

For example, if you’re creating a blog, then the core component isn’t going to be something like the header or sidebar; it will instead be the blog posts themselves.

Another crucial factor for creating an excellent interface is limiting customization options – aka ‘preferences’.

They may seem appealing but often come with code complexity, additional development effort and potentially require extra testing – none of which are desirable outcomes!

How To Strategize For A Product Launch Without Sacrificing User Experience

User Experience

When it comes to launching a new application, making it as hassle-free and inexpensive as possible is of utmost importance.

You want your target audience to be able to sign up painlessly so that you can easily convert them into actual customers.

To this end, having a message like “Sign up and login in under a minute!” on your website helps immensely.

Further, you should also give potential customers the chance to test out your product before asking for payment information.

Also, instead of long-term contracts with early termination fees or charges incurred for breaking a contract early, offer monthly billing without contracts or penalties instead.

Another excellent way to bring in more customers is by offering free samples of your product.

Apple did this wonderfully well when introducing their iPod and iTunes store – they gave away the iTunes software for free, enticing people to check out their offerings.

Finally, blogging about your product is an effective and inexpensive promotional tool that allows you to reach your audience quickly and provide detailed information about what you have to offer.

Wrap Up

Getting Real by 37signals is a book all about web application development, but with a caveat that the lessons learned can be applied to any form of entrepreneurship.

The overall message found in this book is one of staying organized and hiring smart people as well as promoting your project strategically.

And when it comes to taking action, it’s essential to take advantage of the size of your business.

Smaller companies should embrace their size and not try to pretend they are bigger, by speaking to customers like humans instead of corporate robots.

In summary, Getting Real offers key insights on how small businesses can think differently about web app development and use that knowledge for success in any field.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

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