Johan Ekenberg

Computer Programmer and Double Bass Player

Book Review: Execute

Book: Execute by Josh Long / Drew Wilson

This is a shallow book, both historically and contextually. Historically because the writers live in “Internet time”, meaning that everything further back than a decade is lost in a prehistoric blur. Contextually, because their message is only applicable to a very limited number of people (male urban internet designers between 20 and 30). Still, if you are in the web-business and want to get more productive, there are a few gems here.

Inspiration: A powerful energy source

After adrenaline for survival, inspiration is the most powerful source of energy a creative person can have. A main theme of the book is the need to stay inspired as much as possible, and how that can be accomplished.

80-100 rule

Always do your work at a 80-100% intensity. If you cannot maintain that level of focus, stop. Switch to another task that inspires you more, or get what ever recreation, rest, food, etc needed to get back to the 80-100 zone.

The ultimate goal is to live inspired, all the time. As for myself, I’d say I spend on average 1% of my days being really inspired. So, a modest increase to 2% would be a 100% gain.

SPV: Smallest Possible Version

Whatever you make, make it the smallest possible version. Spend time removing features, sliming and simplifying. Simplicity is everything. Focus on cutting away anything not strictly necessary. The leaner your product, the narrower your focus, the more likely you will actually deliver.

“It’s the best for ___”

This is SPV put another way. Make it clear what single purpose your product is best for. Don’t invent a slightly improved copy of some general product - invent a lean solution to a singular problem.

Build for yourself

Building stuff for yourself, you will not fail. Building for others is so much harder, and taxing on inspiration.

Planning, stalling or executing?

To keep your self in check, keep asking yourself: Am I planning, stalling or executing? Planning is guessing. Don’t get lost planning.