I love reading business books - a big part of the buzz of having Snapdragon is working out exactly how to make a small crafty business actually work. Devising ways to bootstrap Snapdragon from kitchen table to profitable company excites me just as much as the actual creation of my products.
My favourite kind of business book is the type that challenges the type of big swaggery business norms and asks "Why?" To be honest it also helps if the book is made up of tiny chapters which can be read between all the other things that clutter my day. I like books that spark me into thinking rather than droning on about how to do things a particular way.
This is why I am a great fan of Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson's Rework.
The book is written by the duo who started the 37 signals software company and advocates keeping things small, agile, not worrying about status, fancy offices, not trying to be everything to everyone.
Much of it is common sense, but often we don't hear enough common sense in the world. For example, as I head down to a trade fair I am re-reading the section on competitors, with its riffs titled "Dont Copy", "Decommoditize your product", "Pick a fight", "Underdo the Competition" and "Who cares what they are doing?". All of them common sense, most of them counter-swagger, all of them helping me to clarify & have confidence of where I am in MY business before I face all those other stands . . .
Snapdragon's motto comes from this book - from a chapter in the "Evolution" section called Be at-home good. It is a page and a half discussing products which are good "in-store", tempting, slick, great looking but ultimately disappointing when you get home and unpack them. It is a page and a half calling for people to care more about products that deliver after being unpacked.
So that is what we aim for. We try to make things that are even better when you unpack them. We are going all out for the e-mails that say that our products are even better than they looked like on the website, for the letters that say how much people enjoyed sketching in our notebooks or how they get compliments when wearing our badges.
Its common sense, but then sometimes reading common sense helps you clarify where you want to be.