Friday, June 24, 2011

Kick-A** Half

Early in my career, I was known to ramble during speaking engagements. So I really liked the advice in a recent book, Rework, by the founders of 37Signals.

During the first speeches, I was trying to cram in all the information I knew about a subject. I would meander and circle and sometimes have a hard time finding a way to finish. Recently, I wrote two eBooks that are less than a hundred pages. I said enough on the subject. I could have written more, but I think the point was made. Writing more would compel me to charge more and I'm not sure that more needed to be said. I became clear about the audience, the main points and the how to finish it up.

Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson give several pieces of advice in their book and one has stuck with me. In fact, I shared it with an aspiring musician who was cutting his first CD. He has a lot of songs he could publish, but the advice confirmed his thoughts that he should pare them down.

Fried's and Hansson's advice: "You're better off with a kick-ass half than a half-assed whole."

The trick to this is to make sure the half is really kick-ass, and not just short due to laziness. Make sure of what you're trying to accomplish and do it really well. Don't try to expand beyond the scope and end up with a so-so effort.

This also works as a business strategy. Being clear about the niche your organization fills is important. Then dominate that niche. If you grow for growth's sake, but you can't dominate, you might as well invest your money in the stock market. Your company's strategy should be kick-ass in the half you have your core competencies.

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