About two months ago or so back in Portland, Oregon–in the midst of building up BilingualHire into a bilingual staffing company, changing diapers and feeding Paloma & Citlali–I was going through my daily feeds. One of the feeds in Quora read something like, “How did Jason Fried get on the Groupon Board of Directors,” or something to this line. Obviously, we know what Groupon is, but right off the top I missed who Jason was. I searched for him and came across 37signals and more importantly came across Rework, by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. The two lines that captured my attention came from Mark Cuban writing,

“If given a choice between investing in someone who has read REWORK or has an MBA, I’m investing in REWORK every time. A must read for every entrepreneur.”

The second one from Scott Rosenberg, co-Founder of Salon.com and author of Dreaming in Code,

“Inspirational. REWORK is a minimalist manifesto that's profoundly practical. In a world where we all keep getting asked to do more with less, the authors show us how to do less and create more.”

These two lines did it for me and its no wonder Jason was brought onto Groupon. Made total sense especially if you’ve been getting their online coupons, the simplicity, value and speed in which you get them. Since expanding BilingualHire w/ account managers and interns, I purchased this book for our guys, made it required reading, and said we’re doing this. They love it.

Since arriving at the Joint Personal Effects Depot at APG, Maryland last week I’ve shared this book religiously and some of the concepts behind it w/ the Operations Officer in Charge, CW3 Couch, and night shift Summary Court Martial Officer Efrain Irizarry and others. A few takeaways:

  • Bigger is not always better; better to be small, flexible, and deliver a product/service that your clients/customers love.
  • Much harder to move when your bigger.
  • Don’t worry about the other side just get there and then worry about your shirts, shaving cream and where your going to stay once your on the ground.
  • Fix a problem that solves your need first. Likely that it will solve others.
  • Stop calling them business plans, financial plans, sales plans, they are guesses, every one of them.
  • Better to adjust off guesses based on real-time data then plans that are not based on reality which are much more dangerous.
  • No excuses. Just work on pushing your work out and iterate on the fly. Your work is constantly changing, just keep refining.
  • Do less and create more.

I continue to reflect back on Rework every week from my MacBook Kindle. I credit Rework for some of our recent company accomplishments and what I see developing this year.

Today, our commander, Lieutenant Colonel Kyburz brought us in for an azimuth check. Leadership vignettes aside, LTC Kyburz shared the most powerful lesson of the day describing the importance of initiative, loyalty and leadership. She told us to Be Like Rowan.

Its the true story of how Lt. Andrew Summers Rowan was summoned for a mission by his boss, Col. Arthur Wagner, head of the Bureau of Military Intelligence. Facing the prospect of War with Spain, the President of the United States needed to quickly get a message to General Garcia, leader of insurgents in Cuba. There was no fax, no mail, no facebook, twitter, nothing and no one in the military could use conventional means to get him the message, hence Message to Garcia. Rowan upon receiving the mission did not say "but" "how" "where" "who" "when" or "why." None. The man just strapped the letter over his heart and took off arriving four days later off the coast of Cuba, through the jungle and three weeks later on the other side. When Lt. Rowan returned he was recommended for promotion to Lieutenant Colonel. Gen. Nelson A. Miles had written to the Secretary of War, "I recommend that First Lieut. Andrew S. Rowan, Nineteenth United States Infantry, be made a lieutenant colonel in one of the regiments of immunes. Lieut[.] Rowan made a journey across Cuba, was with the insurgent army with Gen. Garcia and brought most important and valuable information to the Government. This was a most perilous undertaking, and, in my judgment, Lieut. Rowan performed an act of heroism and cool daring that has rarely been excelled in the annals of warfare."

In How I Got the Message to General Garcia, Col. Rowan explains in detail how it happened. A must read.

Even before Blink had been written, Lt. Rowan demonstrated it. It’s when we go forward and deliver the goods without asking questions, nothing but the finish line.

As an aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Moffett and Brig. Gen. Regua earlier in my career they shared w/ me the concept of race horse and non-race horses. A race horse when given the green light doesn’t ask questions or look around it just goes.

Originally posted on Posterous