All Articles
All Articles
CULTURE

Making Ideas Happen vs. Rework

CULTURE

Making Ideas Happen vs. Rework

We pit two new forward-thinking business books against each other to see what we can learn

by Ami Kealoha
on 02 April 2010
makingideashappen_belsky.jpg

Sharing release dates within weeks of each other, premises that promise success in business, and even covers with red-white-and-black color schemes, our colleague Scott Belsky's book " Making Ideas Happen" and " Rework" have more than a little in common. The two—Belsky as the founder and CEO of Behance, a company devoted to enabling creative professionals, and Rework as the product of 37signals, also a creator of productivity-enhancing tools—both represent a new generation steeped in Internet culture and the fresh vision of capitalism that comes with it, but their approaches come across as markedly different.

While "Making Ideas Happen" represents Belsky's tireless years of researching the techniques that make companies successful, Rework's appeal comes from authors and 37signals founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson' direct, mincing-no-words style, outlining the directives they've found to work. In lieu of reviews on each, we put together this side-by-side comparison of some of their core principles to see what we could glean. "Rework" sells from Amazon or Powell's.

1. Working

Much of Belsky's mission is about getting people organized and finding ways to do it. His tips for staying focused involve stripping out work that isn't goal-focused, creating rituals to "out-work" the competition to quote ad exec Roy Spence, and tailoring workspaces. Rework, on the other hand, flat out discourages workaholism, criticizing the atmosphere of guilt and burnouts that it creates.

2. Entrepreneurs

Fried and Hansson dismiss "entrepreneur" as a stale-sounding word that doesn't really define what's important. Instead, they encourage thinking of yourself as a "starter" as a way to get beyond the usual formulas and focus on the confidence necessary to go ahead. MIH positions entrepreneurship as both a way to make a business think longterm and to make them bravely take the plunge and embark on new ventures (i.e. be starters).

3. Love

What Rework defines as "scratching your own itch"—pursuing a curiosity, or taking something you already do further—Belsky looks at as a potential way to set yourself up for disappointment. He warns of the problems inherent to having a passion for something, advising to stay focused on the process in the face of outcomes that don't reflect the original inspiration for it.

4. Culture

Citing Zappos as one of a few examples of how to keep work environments positive, MIH explains how the company actively fosters happiness as a way to authentically create the rah-rah attitude that's core to the success of their service-based business. Fried and Hansson also recognize the importance of "truly standing for something," cautioning against coming across as insincere when you're not backing up the mission with "believing it and living it."

rework_fried_hansson.jpg
5. Negativity

Both books recognize the value of saying no and embracing constraints. Belsky explains how embracing limits helps cut down on wasted efforts, while Rework describes cutting "ambition in half" as a way to more successfully execute. Rework goes so far as to suggest that saying no should be a default.

6. Action

Where MIH focuses on organizing work flow into actionable steps, Rework pushes the bolder moves, encouraging an attitude of "launch now" as a way to prioritize what needs to happen. Similarly, Belsky cites Seth Godin's talk at The 99% Conference (an event we co-sponsor with Behance), which encouraged people to center their work around the proactive approach of "shipping."

7. Meetings

Another point both books agree on is the problems inherent to meetings. Where Belsky advises dispensing with regularly-scheduled meetings, ending by going over "Action Steps," and conducting them on the fly, Rework suggests setting timers, limiting the number of people who attend, setting agendas, and working from a problem.

8. Priorities

In MIH, Belsky offers tips that include keeping one list for more important items and others for less critical to-dos, picking five top projects, making daily "focus areas," not spending too much time worrying, making sure to delegate critical tasks too, and creating a system to divvy up responsibilities appropriately. Fried and Hansson's less structured approach advises tempering excitement with what actually needs to get done.

9. Inspiration

While Belsky's focus is all about "overcoming the obstacles between vision and reality," Rework ultimately encourages readers to act when the idea strikes to capitalize on the potential of getting "two week's work dones in twenty-four hours" when under the spell of ideas.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity
Loading More...