I've been planning. Planning product assortments, time and action calendars, manufacturing matrixes. The time away has given me space to go deep. And it's paying off.

I suggested picking up Cal Newport's new book Slow Productivity in last week's newsletter. I've since devoured it and overlayed it with my plans for the next Best Made. Newport's thesis could not be more simple:

1. Do fewer things
2. Work at a natural pace
3. Obsess over quality

What I'm about to say is with the obvious luxury of hindsight. But I wish Newport's book was around when I started Best Made in 2009.
Back then I wanted Best Made to be big, I wanted it to be the next LL Bean, the next great American outfitter. In short, our growth — my ambition — meant I did not work at a natural pace or do fewer things. My head spins when I look back through our old catalogs. Did we need to do that much? Miraculously we did not fall short on quality. But the scale and pace at which we worked meant we often had to execute with both hands tied behind our backs. Could we have made things even better? Maybe.
Starting and running a business is damn hard. In many ways, Newport's three principles are much easier said than done. Had his book been around in 2009, and had I been of the mindset to adopt it, Best Made might have worked out differently. But who cares. To be armed with his book now, and to believe in it, is a blessing.
Buy Slow Productivity
Or better yet: buy it at your local bookstore.