This is a collection of personal notes for Getting Real by 37signals. For more, read part one, part two, and part two.

Many companies separate design, development, copywriting, support, and marketing into different silos. While specialization has its advantages, it also creates a situation where staffers see just their own little world instead of the entire context of the web app

Your team is not one plus one. Your team is one plus one and it equals three. For perfectionists it’s easy to do everything on their own. Up to some time ago I’d rather doubled my effort than delegate ‘my tasks’. Don’t do that.

When you’re working with younger colleagues, especially those that just finished high school, you’ve got to be ready to accept generation clash. For most young developers Facebook or Internet exist from the very beginning.

‘When I was old I didn’t have a smart phone’. ‘I still remember days when you connected via dial up’. Face it, when you told something like this to younger colleagues, you’d sound or looked like the same way as perceive Richard Stallman. Yet, despite his unsellable image, it is Stallman that created the movement and tools that you can use today in your macbook.

To finish this off topic, the more broad skillset your team has, the easier it would be for you to tackle difficult tasks.

People need uninterrupted time to get things done

It’s hard to balance open space culture vs. putting nose the the grindstone and avoiding all possible distractions. I finished many tasks working late in the evening. I finished many tasks in the morning. Still when I was stucked, the helping hand of other team members also let me moved forward.

As you might know, you’d be better of when managing energy, not time. You should try to scale up not scale wide. Human progress or performance increases only when in the same amount of time you’re able to finish more. Getting things done is strictly related to the amount energy you have. In order to get things done you have balance time and manage energy.

Getting in the zone takes time. And that’s why interruption is your enemy. It’s like REM sleep – you don’t just go to REM sleep, you go to sleep first and you make your way to REM.

REM is where the real sleep magic happens. The alone time zone is where the real development magic happens

Interruption can be your enemy but consider the scenario when your team member needs your help. Would you tell him: ‘hey, I’m busy now, so reach me in 3 hours’?

What is real development? Is it measurable? By what factor? Amount of commits? Ammount of added, removed or changed lines? Are you sure that being in the ‘flow’ for next three hours will not affect your health next day? Are you sure that not taking breaks, not drinking water and getting energy from food helps you move forward? Getting in the zone, being in the flow is, in my opinion, very subjective and very elusive.

Do you really need a meeting? Meetings usually arise when a concept isn’t clear enough. Instead of resorting to a meeting, try to simplify the concept so you can discuss it quickly via email or IM or Campfire. The goal is to avoid meetings.

Just balance it. Don’t go into ‘performance’ extreme. Suppose that your daily meeting is spruced with absurd and abstract sense of humour. After five minutes you feel nervous as you want to get back and do something productive. For you all that bullshit hinders your performance. Really? What if I told you that, by just mere observation and common sense the laughter, jokes, and absurd humour will give you positive energy that will span for the whole week?

You’d be surprised that most western countries base economic wellbeing on the number of nuclear warheads, napalm, or armored cars for police to fight riots in cities? In poor countries you’d rather heard from people that they’re thankful for what they don’t have. Don’t take everything for granted. Don’t try to build ‘neurons network’ for everything. Don’t try to optimize everything. Don’t try to avoid ‘human factor’.

By definition, involvement in open source requires at least some passion. Otherwise why would this person spend free time sitting in front of a screen? The amount of open source involvement often shows how much a candidate truly cares about programming.

I wish some people knew that software development is not a walk in the park. You know, you earn a lot, have flexible hours, have fun and sitting all day long in front of a computer while drinking coffee. You just playing safe. Really? I can assure you that without the passion you’d finish this job years ago. People only see what is they want to see. They don’t see the fact of continuous learning and improving yourself. If you meet a naysayer that will know better then you do, tell him to move his ass and put nose to the grindstone-the whole IT industry needs developers. ;)

Blogging can be more effective than advertising (and it’s a hell of a lot cheaper) Advertising is expensive.

Yesterday The Power of Habits was liked by WakaTime. The profile that has 9.5k followers. I didn’t expect that. The article, by the way, was removed and supposed not to be published, but it’s another story. I send the link to the same article to buffer when they were posting questions and tips about habits. Then the man behind the profile replied and was enthusiastic about the article. This way buffer started to follow me. Profile that can reach over 500k followers.

Don’t afraid to reach other devs and people and send them your articles. Blogging for busy programmers by Andrzej Krzywda-short notes wasn’t even considered a book review. Short notes, grammar errors, published within an hour. Yet guys from Arkency asked me to use some quotes in the book landing page.

Many similar situation happened recently. Write, blog and you will be amazed of how many ‘second-class’ posts or articles catch up.

Start off by creating a blog that not only touts your product but offers helpful advice, tips, tricks, links, etc. Our Signal vs. Noise blog gets thousands of unique readers a week thanks to the helpful, informative, and interesting bits and anecdotes we post on a daily basis.

Start with 15-minute protips to keep the flow. You won’t be able to write large articles each week. Fill the gap with something small. Don’t forget to setup a newsletter.

Education can come in many forms. Post tips and tricks at your site that people will want to share with others. Speak at conferences and stay afterwards to meet and greet with attendees. Conduct workshops so curious fans can learn more and talk to you in the flesh. Give interviews to publications. Write articles that share helpful information. And write books. ;)

Write and blog. Deliver something useful. Give something back. Passive income is secondary, yet it will come true sooner or later. Be patient.

Sometimes it’s OK to just be a pencil. You don’t need to be a swiss-army knife. You can just be a screwdriver. You don’t need to build a diving watch that’s safe at 5,000 meters if your customers are land-lovers who just want to know what the time is.

Sometimes it’s more OK and beneficial to use paper and pencil than trying all existing note taking app. Still not convinced? Start with markdown files and keep them locally.

Getting Real doesn’t apply just to building a web app.

Thanks guys for the book! I hope that some of you find it useful. I’m the master of going into long digressions full of abstract ramblings. Don’t like it? Don’t read!