What is it about?
How do you build a creative company? Do the opposite of a lot of common wisdom. Robert I. Sutton explains how companies can be more creative and why it is hard to be creative.
Generate variance: If you want to run a company efficiently reduce variance, i.e. erase as much derivation to the norm. If you want a creative company increase variance. Build heterogeneous groups, allow people to experiment and be open.
Hire slow learners: Slow learners are people who don’t integrate them too fast into a company. Often some kind of rebels. They don’t accept the status-quo and think that things can be improved. These people often aren’t efficient but they can generate great ideas.
Fight (over ideas): If you extracted some expectant ideas initiate a fight. This probably improve the idea and increases its success.
Be open: Don’t discard strange ideas. Try to develop the strangest idea or find out the worst product you could build and do exactly the opposite. There’s a story about a Microsoft engineer who thought about the worst toy possible. It was a Barney who learn kids to count to six. Actually, some other engineer later built a speaking Barney. Although it wasn’t a blockbuster, it sold about 60k times and was awarded multiple times.
One statement is really important. Robert Sutton says that a lot of people want to work in a creative company but most of them wouldn’t like it all it. I think that’s true. However, this is a really nice book which don’t miss to show the advantages and disadvantages of a creative company. He clearly states that a company must exist of creative (exploratory) part and a efficient (exploitative) part to generate profits.
What is it about?
I have always believed that each man makes his own happiness and is responsible for his own problems. That’s the first sentence in this book and Ray Kroc meant it. He describes his pursuit of happiness from a piano player to the chairman of McDonald’s.
You are responsible for your own life: In the early years a franchisee opened a McDonald’s restaurant nearly to some other burger restaurant. The other restaurant offered burgers for 10 cents each (15 cents at McDonald’s) but people got their fries and milk shakes at McDonald’s. After a while the other restaurant lowered all prices to 10 cents. The manager of McDonald’s called Ray Kroc and asked if he should inform the Center for Combating Unfair Competition. Ray Kroc said: “No, make burger which are worth 15 cents.”
Stay Green: Basically you should try to get not too conservative or too comfortable. “When you’re green, you’re growing. When you’re ripe, you rot.” Try new things, be open and don’t afraid of failure. At McDonald’s they introduce a lot of new meals, some fail, some prosper (e.g. the BigMac).
QSC and V: Quality, Service, Cleanness and Value these are the main values of McDonald’s. They are easily portable to other businesses.
What a great book! I love how Ray Kroc impersonates the American Dream. He worked hard, he took responsibility for himself and he helped other people to reach their dreams. Definitely a recommendation!
What is it about?
In my opinion it is about questioning existing behavior. Do we have to go the graduate school? Do we have to get a real job? Do we have to stay in the same country we were born?
It is not bad to do things for yourself. It is also not bad to do things for others. Try to leave an imprint. Don’t ask for permission!
I really love this book. Firstly, it is very well written and it doesn’t sound like one of this “LOOK! I will change everything, and you Sir! You will be a billionaire tomorrow!” books. Although I wouldn’t recommend everyone to reading this. Some will be disturbed or thinking that he is a lunatic. Read it if your are really open for new ideas.
For a short introduction in his idea, read A Brief Guide to World Domination. (free)