This 2013 book by Scott Berkun explores his journey into the unique workplace culture behind WordPress, which powers a huge amount of the blogs and sites on the internet. Coming from his previous experience at Microsoft, Berkun comes in with an outsider's perspective on how a bunch of people all over the world can work together remotely to help power twenty percent of the web (comes out to be millions of websites).
To put it simply, I really enjoyed this book. It has some great insights into what makes teams and companies work. Everything from workflow, culture, to relationships is covered here through stories and a sort of journal of Berkun's year at WordPress. I highlighted so many things from this book. While Berkun is certainly relative about why the workplace culture behind Wordpress works and its limitations, he has a lot of great general thoughts about management, teamwork, and getting things done. These can be taken by anyone to help them do better with whatever they do. Not every company can have everyone work remotely, not every company can simply mash together their business with how WordPress works, but there are plenty of solid insights here.
Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book:
"Trust is expensive to build and easy to destroy, which is why it's rare."
"The fundamental mistake companies that talk about innovation make is keeping barriers to entry high. They make it hard to even try out ideas, blind to how much experimentation you need to sort the good ideas from the bad."
"This is the advice paradox: no matter how much advice you have, you must still decide intuitively what to use and what to avoid. Just as there is an advice paradox, there is a data paradox: no matter how much data you have, you still depend on your intuition for deciding how to interpret and then apply the data."
"Your model of the universe can be a perfect model of the past, but the past is not a reliable predictor of the future because there is no such thing."
"The culture in any organization is shaped every day by the behavior of the most powerful person in the room."
"It's a great bullshit test of any boss who says, 'X is important.' If she doesn't match that statement with resources, she's incompetent, insincere, or both. If it's important, prove it."
Also, I will accept the irony that I writing this review about a guy working at WordPress on my SquareSpace blog (I used to use WordPress). I really enjoyed the platform and still use it on other sites I write for. I would use it again since the blogging part of it was great, but I wanted some more functionality out of the rest of my site, so I left. Nevertheless, Berkun's experience working at WordPress really captured some of my frustrations that I've had working as a full-time professional and some of the aspirations I'd have for organizations I'd be a part of.
I highly recommend you check out this book! You can find it at any of your favorite book retailers.