I participated in my first Kickstarter project this year. If you do not know about Kickstarter, it is an online company that helps creative people fund their projects. In this case, the Kickstarter project funded a book called Peoplework, rather than a piece of art or a music album or such.
The authors of Peoplework are Austin Allison and Chris Smith, with a byline to Austin’s company dotloop and mentions of support from LaunchSquad, 1000Watt, Nathan Scherotter and 260 people who contributed $73,000 to get the book to press. I mention this because the story about how the book was published is as much a part of its text as anything.
The authors both run companies in real estate technology. Chris Smith’s business is focused around helping REALTORS® onboard customers using modern tactics like marketing on social networks and AdWords, driving prospects to websites, and using customer relationship management tools to drive conversion. Austin Allison’s company is all about managing the real estate transaction.
Both authors are in the spring of their business lives, and they share 10 principles of running a people to people business. Principle one is that P2P replaces B2B and B2C. There are many books that tell the story of how great companies have been successful by attaching themselves to new methods of operating a business. In contrast, this book tells the story of how new companies should operate. There is little mention of how you turn your ship, although they do mention that the world moves fast and that a key ingredient to success is change management. “Just remember–it is sand, not concrete.”
When I read books, I highlight text that I find particularly attractive. For me, the money quote from the book that crafts the entire thesis is on pages 16 and 17, where they write:
“Put people first in a technology-driven world … You can’t ignore technology in business, in the same way that you can’t ignore people in business.”
And, later, in the book:
“We have gone from a web full of pages to a web full of people.”
I do not have any critiques of the book. There was nothing objectionable. It is a good, quick read to sharpen the saw of business strategy. They reinforce a point that everyone in real estate should always remember–namely, that technology does not sell anything. People do, and that is an important lesson.
Start-up businesses are the key audience for this book. If you run any size of a company, the book is a good reminder or refresher course for how to be people-centric – which is their mantra for being both customer centric and employee centric.
Author Chris Smith set a goal to read a business book every month. That is a good goal for any business professional. Sharpen the saw! But the real value of the book is a roadmap for starting a company with a blueprint focused on the people first.
The book is sold out on Amazon – but you can order for the next run here.