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My takeaway

The perfect size of a product team is three people. Three reduces miscommunication and improves coordination—it speeds up the whole process. Be careful when setting expectations because promises leads to rushing, scrambling, and many times a tinge of regret.

My notes

These are my informal notes from It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. It contains a mix of key highlights as well as my own thoughts and lessons.

  • Creativity, progress, and impact do not yield to brute force.
  • Put in a good day’s work, day after day, but nothing more. You can play with your kids and still be a successful entrepreneur. You can have a hobby. You can take care of yourself physically. You can read a book. You can watch a silly movie with your partner. You can take the time to cook a proper meal. You can go for a long walk. You can dare to be completely ordinary every now and then.
  • When you stick with planning for the short term, you get to change your mind often. And that’s a huge relief! This eliminates the pressure for perfect planning and all the stress that comes with it.
  • Time and attention are best spent in large bills, if you will, not spare coins and small change.
  • When people focus on productivity, they end up focusing on being busy. Filling every moment with something to do. And there’s always more to do!
  • “We believe in effectiveness. How little can we do? How much can we cut out? Instead of adding to-dos, we add to-don’ts.”
  • Not doing something that isn’t worth doing is a wonderful way to spend your time.
  • Work ethic is about being a fundamentally good person that others can count on and enjoy working with.
  • You can only do great work if you have adequate quality time to do it.
  • People should be missing out! Most people should miss out on most things most of the time.
  • The quickest way to disappointment is to set unreasonable expectations.
  • Knowing when to embrace Good Enough is what gives you the opportunity to be truly excellent when you need to be.
  • “That’s fine” is such a wonderfully relaxing way to work most of the time.
  • Any conversation with more than three people is typically a conversation with too many people.
  • Having a box full of stale work is no fun. Happiness is shipping: finishing good work, sending it off, and then moving on to the next idea.
  • The next morning (or week) has a way of telling the truth. It’s good to sleep on something.
  • No is easier to do, yes is easier to say. No is no to one thing. Yes is no to a thousand things. No is a precision instrument, a surgeon’s scalpel, a laser beam focused on one point.
  • Becoming a calm company is all about making decisions about who you are, who you want to serve, and who you want to say no to. It’s about knowing what to optimize for.