Jason Fried, Co-Founder and CEO, Basecamp
Ditching Growth and Setting Up Camp
How Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson turned their backs on lofty goals and created a profitable tech company quite unlike any other.
Growth is exciting. Sales boosts, climbing revenue, and eager investors are all signs of a happy, healthy company. Right?
Basecamp founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson beg to differ. While they rejoice in revenue and profit as much as the next set of tech company founders, they define success a little differently.
Instead of chasing arbitrary growth goals and deadlines, they simply aspire to do their very best work day in and day out.
Instead of always expanding their line of software products, they double down to perfect the one they already have.
Instead of scrambling to hire more people when revenue is climbing, they enact a hiring freeze so as to not lose sight of their mission.
Critics might call their approach too timid. Others call them brilliant. Fried and Hansson don’t care much either way. They’ve followed the startup road less traveled and have pitched sturdy camp at the end of it—all while remaining profitable and highly respected.
Today, Basecamp is one of the leading project management and team communications tools on the market, while boasting remarkable employee satisfaction. The duo also have a new book out explaining their unique take on startups and how they’ve found success.
Setting Up Camp
The origins of Basecamp date back to 1999, when Fried started 37Signals as a web design company. It’s since transitioned to a web development company, specializing in project management and team communication software, and became Basecamp in 2014.
The transition to web development happened in the early 2000s, when young Danish developer Hansson responded to Fried’s blog query about PHP. Hansson had been a fan of 37Signals for years and jumped at the chance to help out. After a handful of emails, Fried decided it was easier to hire Hansson as a programmer than learn to code himself.
The firm created Basecamp’s flagship software product in 2004 and drummed up 45 customers in its first year. The idea was simple, but met an important need in the modern workplace: It allowed for real-time, remote communication to help teams identify what needs to be done (and when) and work together smoothly and efficiently. In the following years, the pair saw their product achieve steady growth, which also caught the eye of venture capital and private equity firms.
Even so, working with investors never made sense to Fried and Hansson. They didn’t want to sell any control of Basecamp or be forced to exit their business on someone else’s timeline. But they did need money to continue developing Basecamp and its products.
In 2006, the pair was approached by Jeff Bezos himself. In exchange for a yearly dividend payout (but without making any other demands or staking any other claims to the company), Bezos purchased a piece of ownership and became a member of Basecamp, LLC. This arrangement worked well for Fried and Hansson as they didn’t have to sell control of their business to raise money, and the purchase was a lucrative investment for Bezos.
“[After Bezos’s investment], the appeal of selling the company subsided and allowed us to pursue our mission to build a wonderful company to work in for the long term,” Hansson said.
Fried and Hansson maintain a fiscal relationship with Bezos, but that’s about it in terms of what they’ve taken from the richest man in the world. As for perspectives on growth, productivity, and culture, Basecamp has blazed a trail of its own.
It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work
Or does it? Fried and Hansson’s latest book introduces a new perspective on the modern-day entrepreneurial hustle. They published this book to “[send] out an alternative beacon,” Hansson says.
The cover of It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work features a big red “X” crossing out words like “packed schedules,” “80-hour weeks,” and “overflowing inboxes.”
Sadly, a lot of today’s business literature and role models celebrate crazy schedules, packed days, and little sleep. “[This has] been a predominant narrative for quite a long time,” Hansson says.
Pushing back on the norm, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work argues that this kind of lifestyle isn’t healthy, sustainable, or necessary. “You can do great work in a normal eight-hour day and 40-hour week,” Fried says.
Basecamp’s culture and success is a testament to this ideal. The 20-year-old business has been profitable every single year since it started, and the company’s 50-plus employees work a totally normal schedule. “At Basecamp, it isn’t crazy at work,” Hansson says. “Crazy at work should be an exception; it shouldn’t be the norm, and certainly not be an aspiration.”
The (Mis)Guiding Principles of Goals and Growth
As of 2018, Basecamp has more than 100,000 companies utilizing its software. But unlike most tech companies, that number goal doesn’t dictate their work.
“We have no interest in building [our] company to a certain amount of dollars or size,” Fried says.
In Silicon Valley, businesses often feel the need to dominate industries and destroy the competition. Basecamp isn’t driven by those criteria, and they’re definitely not driven by constant growth or lofty goals. “We’ve always felt that we don’t need to chase anything but profit and quality…and quality of life, for both our employees and customers,” Fried says.
To Fried and Hansson, it’s much more about running a sound, sustainable, profitable business. Instead of prioritizing OKRs or various other acronyms, they simply focus on doing the very best work they can every day.
“The idea that a goal should be driving you harder. … I don’t understand why that’d be,” Hansson says. “People forget that goals are figments of their imagination.”
He explained that as a primary indicator of what success should look like, goals are not helpful. They’re arbitrary measures of success or failure…and falling short of one can make you feel bad when you shouldn’t.
Moreover, goals are often determined by looking at others. “They become this death of enjoyment by comparison,” Hansson says.
Basecamp does set a few loose, top-level goals, such as “build a good product,” “create a great place to work,” and “treat customers with dignity, honesty and kindness.”
But what about specific metrics, like sales, retention rate, or customer success? “We can look at [those] numbers, like retention rate, renewal rate, etc., to see how well [Basecamp is] working,” Fried says. “But we don’t have goals around those numbers.”
To measure the success of their product, the team simply uses it themselves. They actually use it more than any other company. By employing their own product and improving it every day, they’re able to better understand their customer experience. And when it works better for them, it works better for their customers.
“We judge our success by how we feel about our work, and the customer reaction and reviews,” Fried says. They ask themselves, “Are we proud of what we did today? Are we proud of the way we did it? And ultimately, do customers like the product?”
How Basecamp Approaches Success
Such a nebulous approach to growth and goals is sure to make employees feel adrift, right? One might think so, but the opposite is actually true for Basecamp employees, they say.
“[We believe] work should be a pleasurable experience,” Hansson says. “Success to us means we set our own agenda, control our own destiny, and have a sense of independence,”
There are very few meetings at Basecamp, and that’s not just because they are a mostly remote workforce. The company does have an office in Chicago, but even those who live nearby only come in a few days a week.
“We’re a writing-heavy company,” Fried says. Instead of insisting on weekly stand-ups or organizing project check-ins, the pair encourages their employees to chronicle all updates, ideas, and thoughts. This gives employees a chance to ponder what they’ve read and formulate thoughtful responses—instead of presenting an immediate reply the way you’d expect in meetings and boardrooms.
This notion of slow, delayed communication inherently pushes back on live chat, an up-and-coming trend in today’s tech companies.
“The idea of chat as a primary means of communication inside of a company, I believe it to be a very toxic idea,” Fried says. He argues that outside of social communication and quick check-ins, keeping in touch with chat can cause a massive distraction for employees.
“I think that, right now, chat is why work is more hectic for more people,” Fried says.
Like they contend in It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work, Fried and Hansson don’t expect, require, or support a culture that’s “always on.” They routinely monitor for “overwork,” and occasionally have to gently remind employees that late-night emails or mid-weekend product updates aren’t necessary. In fact, they’re frowned upon.
We don’t reward late, hard overwork,” Fried says. “We’d rather reward someone who works normal hours and gets a lot done…someone who protects and manages their time. There’s no celebration of long hours here”
Basecamp hasn’t always been like this, though. Some of the values have been around since the beginning, but the company has spent the last 20 years constantly tweaking the way they work.
One major change Fried and Hansson have made is the way Basecamp gets projects done. The company used to work with absolutely no deadlines, then started implementing three-month work periods. Today, they work within six-week cycles.
The team doesn’t do anything they can’t complete in six weeks. When asked if that sort of deadline adds pressure, Hansson is quick to respond: “It could if you don’t approach the idea of the budget as a tool. It’s there to shape your decisions and guide you. Budgets make it easier to say ‘no’ or ‘not right now.’”
Fried and Hansson are less interested and impressed by the results of work done with unlimited resources or timeframes. In the past, working with no deadlines left each project open-ended. It was harder for developers to say “no” or know when to stop working.
Each six-week time budget forces employees to make decisions and weigh tradeoffs. “That’s what’s enjoyable about product development,” Hansson says.
By implementing changes such as these, Fried and Hansson have noticed that Basecamp has become a calmer company. While the pair conducts employee audits twice a year, they mostly take the pulse of employee success and satisfaction by staying close to each team, which isn’t hard given the company only has 53 employees.
“We’re constantly seeing [our employees’] work and talking to people,” Fried says. “We have a really good sense of how things are going. It’s pretty obvious when someone’s not doing well.”
How does their remote culture affect this? It doesn’t. The team has a few in-person outings each year—when they gather everyone in their Chicago office—but even those are spent “reconnecting and recharging social batteries,” as Hansson explains.
Basecamp’s culture is simply based on trust and harmony between words and actions.
When asked about the challenge of building a culture with a remote workforce, Hansson says, “[That is] based on a misconception of what culture actually is. Our definition is that culture is repeatable actions, what you actually do.”
Fried and Hansson do instill specific values and principles throughout the company, but Basecamp’s culture arises when they live up to those words. “Nothing transmits culture more than seeing actions, especially during hard times.”
He also believes that a remote workforce is better situated to building a strong culture because such culture is derived even more explicitly from the actions you actually take and the shared writings you commit, given there’s no office or in-person meetings to do the work for you.
The numbers behind Basecamp’s culture and employee satisfaction are off the charts. The industry average for employee turnover is about 18 months. Of the 53 employees currently at Basecamp, the average length of employment at Basecamp is 5.8 years. Eight employees have been there over 10 years, and almost half have been there over seven.
“Basecamp employees stick around a long time, even in traditionally high-churn positions,” Hansson says.
The company has recently enacted a hiring freeze, announced by Hansson in a post on their blog, Signal V. Noise, aptly titled, “Things are going so well we’re doing a hiring freeze.”
In the spirit of constraints, they’ve capped their headcount and are doubling down on good, effective work.
“We have no love for size,” Hansson says. “Big companies can’t solve small problems. The bigger they are, the more divorced and less able they are to relate [to customers]. More layers of management and indirection only harm empathy and kindness.”
- How his latest book, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work, is pushing back on Silicon Valley’s excessive work culture
- Why chasing growth in your business can blind you
- Why Basecamp doesn’t set OKRs, KPIs, or any goals of the sort
- How to know if you have the right people on your team
- How to ensure your remote team is doing their best work
- The evolution of Basecamp’s culture and work processes over time
- The difference between deadlines and “dreadlines”
- When Slack can be toxic to your company
- Why in-person communication isn’t as important as you think (and might even be detrimental)
- How to eliminate meetings once and for all
- The story behind selling a piece of ownership to Jeff Bezos
Full Transcript of Podcast with Jason Fried
Jason: Running this company?
Jason: I created my job luckily because I feel like I’m probably unemployable to be honest. I’ll give you a little bit of background I suppose right out of college. So I got a degree in finance, but I just had to pick a degree. I didn’t really know what I wanted to study, but I was always into business so I picked that. When I was in college, this is ’92 through ’96, the Internet was just becoming a thing around ’95, like a commercial thing. People were starting to actually put up websites, and so I started to learn how to do that myself. Just figured out like everyone else did at the time, and started doing some freelance web design work in college. Then after I got out of college, I did some more freelance web design work and then finally started 37signals, which is now today known as Basecamp back in ’99. So I’ve always pretty much worked for myself ever since college. Before that I had a bunch of jobs, but that’s how that all came to be.
Nathan: Wow. As I said offline, massive fans of everything that you guys do. Your philosophies on work and just everything. So the reason we’re chatting is I wanted to touch base and speak with you guys around your latest book, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. Can you just give us I guess a synopsis, or a bit of a breakdown around the main concepts behind the book? Then I’ve got a tonne of questions for you, because this is really fascinating stuff.
Jason: Sure. The nice thing about the book is that if you look at the cover, it says it all. So there’s a big X on the front and the X is through all these things. I’ll give you a few of them. 80 hour weeks, super busy, packed schedules, endless meetings, overflowing inbox, unrealistic deadlines, can’t sleep, Sunday afternoon emails, et cetera. This is what most people’s day is like or work is like. It’s just crazy. You ask people what it’s like working, like it’s crazy. I’m crazy busy. There’s so much to do. I’m working crazy hours, I’m working on the weekends and we just don’t feel like that’s healthy, or sustainable, or necessary frankly. It’s not even about the other things as much as it’s necessary, it’s unnecessary.
You can do great work in a normal eight hour day, in a 40 hour week and go home, be satisfied with your work, have a life, do something else, sleep well and go back to work the next day, or take the weekend off of course, and come back the next Monday and do great stuff. You don’t need to be crazy all the time. It just doesn’t make any sense. So this book is a pushback on what’s become the norm, which is just everyone feels like it’s crazy at work. Everything’s urgent, everything’s being rushed, everyone’s busy all the time. No one has any time to actually work during the day, even though they’re busy all day. They’re not actually getting work done. They have to work at night or on the weekends to actually get that work done, which is why they’re working longer. It’s just, it’s wrong.
So we’re pushing back hard against that we don’t think it’s necessary we built our entire business, a 20 year business that’s profitable every year with over 100,000 customers working eight hour days, 40 hour weeks and we think everyone else can do the same.
Nathan: Yeah wow. So it’s crazy because I love you guys’ his philosophies. I read a lot of this stuff, your blog post Signal v. Noise, I’ve watched a lot of interviews with you guys. Some of my really successful smart Foundr friends always say, “Hey, have you seen what these guys are up to? Read this, read this, read this.” There are some things that, like all of what you described on that front cover of your latest book, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work, around the productivity side that’s probably me. As a founder, we’ve been around for about four years. Tens of thousands of customers, nowhere near as big as you guys but I guess we’ve got your really, really great growth and I work pretty hard as a founder. That stuff I probably haven’t really, I’m not that good at that kind of stuff but then at the same side, we’re a 100% bootstrapped.
We’ve been profitable basically since day one, the same as you. Don’t have any interest to raise venture funding, want to be out of control at growth. I love all that side of things. So I guess I’d love to delve deeper into why do you think society’s this way? Like in the startup world, you guys are pushing back, you guys reference Silicon Valley culture quite often. I’ve spoken to many successful founders out of Silicon Valley and they all tell me, if you want to build $100 million company, you’ve got to work 80 hours a week. That’s just how it’s done.
Jason: Well that’s what they’re around. So that’s what they’re used to and that’s what they see, and so that’s what they think has to happen first off. So that’s one thing. Second of all is we have no interest in building a company to a certain amount of dollars or size. So I think that’s another part of it. A lot of people feel like they need to dominate an industry. They need to destroy the competition. They need to build $1 billion business and all these things they need to do. Look, I don’t know what our evaluation is. Someone could easily give us a billion dollar valuation. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone would do that. We still work eight hour days, 40 hour weeks.
So valuation has nothing to do with your hours. It has to do with your revenue or your profits, or however people want to measure, or your growth potential or whatever it is. It’s disconnected from ours, but as far as like in general the idea of growth is something we push back against pretty hard that growth is the key to everything. It seems like that’s where people start to get lost, which is they believe that they have to grow at extreme rates, and continue to beat last year, and beat last year, and beat last year. Also, hey gosh, this other company is growing 40%, we better grow 50% and they’re chasing each other for no good reason. Except of course if you raise a bunch of money, your investors, or the public markets are going to require that kind of growth.
If you’re not that kind of company, you don’t have to chase that kind of growth. We’ve always felt like we don’t need to chase anything other than making sure that we’re profitable. Chasing a level of quality and quality of life, a quality in product and quality of life and quality of treating customers, that’s what we’re looking for. That’s what we’re after, and we believe we can do a great job eight hours a day, 40 hours a week. So I recognise that a lot of people feel like they can’t. The thing is if you look at why, if you really dig into why and you start to break down their day, you’re going to find out that they’re stuck doing a bunch of stuff that doesn’t need to get done. People typically waste more time than they spend on things that are worthwhile. They’re really bad at figuring out how to say no to things, and protecting their own time and attention.
So the reason that we’re putting in 80 hours is because 40 of them are wasted on things that don’t matter. So if you really look at the amount of time they’re actually spending working on things, it’s probably 40 hours a week actually. Then they’re spending 40 hours on the things that they don’t need to spend time on. Now I’m generalising because I can’t talk about each person’s day, but I’ve seen those kinds of days. I’ve seen lots of people spend time on things that don’t matter, then they only have a little bit of time left. So they have to work extra hours to get their work done. So I just don’t think piling up hours and going that’s what you need to do to be X, Y, Z is actually accurate. I don’t buy into that argument.
Nathan: Yeah and I’m keen to explore that. So tell me how, like you guys don’t care about growth. I’ve read that you don’t even have okay hours. Is that correct?
Jason: That’s correct.
Nathan: Correct. So you don’t, and you said you guys don’t care if you’re growing faster, or you grew more than you did last year? Do you have company, you must have like off sites with the team, how do you strategize yeah, I’m just really curious. This is all really for me and I’m sure many other founders listening, this is really, I wouldn’t say left of field but it’s a different way of thinking for sure.
Jason: For sure, and I recognise that it’s very different.
Nathan: It’s cool.
Jason: Yeah, I mean it works for us. So we don’t have okay hours, we don’t have all the other acronyms. We don’t have goals, we don’t have financial goals, we don’t have any goals. We really truly go. What we do is do the best work we can every day, and that’s what you should be doing. So the idea that a goal should be driving you harder, I don’t really understand why that would be if you’re just trying to do the best work you can every day anyway. The other thing with goals is that goals are set to either, if you don’t get it, then there’s a disappointment which is I think oftentimes unnecessary. If you do meet it, then it wasn’t high enough and you got to keep setting it higher. So either set it and you don’t meet it, it’s a disappointment. You set it, then you set another one. Just how about just doing the best work you can, and not measuring beyond that besides of course being profitable.
That’s the number one thing because there’s a lot of companies out there with all sorts of okay hours, and all sorts of other KPIs and goals that are shitty businesses. They’re meeting their goals, but they’re not making any money. They’re losing money. That’s broken, like I don’t care what your goal is. If you can’t stay in business, it doesn’t matter. So to us, profitability is the goal that matters. As long as we’re profitable and we’re doing a good job and enjoying the work we’re doing and we’re doing our best, then none of the other things really matters so much which is why we don’t spend time worrying about them. So yeah, I think the first goal is to get to profitability and then you can decide if other goals matter to you or don’t. To us, they typically don’t.
Nathan: So with the culture that’s embedded within Basecamp around no 80 hour weeks. I read the synopsis if you go to Basecamp.com/calm, you can see, I haven’t read the book, I’m excited to read it but you say that you encourage your team to not work over 40 hours a week, even in summer. You guys have four days, you do a four day work week. How does your team know what success looks like, or do you not even worry about … You talk often around doing your best work, how do you gauge that or how do you measure that?
Jason: Sure, that’s a good question. First off, we use the product that we build. So we use Basecamp every day. We use Basecamp more than any other company in the world. So for us, Basecamp is, it’s clear when we’re doing good work because the product’s working better and better and better for us, and better and better and better for customers of course. We know that because we hear from customers, we can look at our sales, we know how things are going. We can look at retention rates. We can look at all these things, but we don’t have goals around them. So we’re not trying to get to a certain retention rate. We know what it is, but we’re not like we know what our renewal rate is. We know all these things are if we’re curious about looking at them, but we’re not saying like we’re 92% this year, we got to get to 94 next.
We don’t talk that way. That’s just not how we are. Every six weeks, we choose what work we’re going to work on next and we do that work to the best of our ability. We judge the success of it by first of all, how do we feel about doing the work itself? Were we be proud of the work, did we like the process, were we exhausted by it? Do we hate it? Do we love it? Did we feel like we were burned out on it? Did we feel like we had plenty of energy for it? We look at those things and then of course we put it out there. When we put out there, customers are immediately willing to tell you what they really think. So we hear from them, we hear from them through support. We hear from them through Twitter. We hear great things, we hear bad things, we hear all sorts of things but at the end of the day, it’s our judgement call on what the product’s supposed to be doing and how well supposed to be working. So that’s what we do.
We look at ourselves and go, are we proud of what we did today? Are we proud of the way we did it? Are we proud of the way we’re working and communicating with each other? Are we proud of the debates we’re having, the discussions we’re having? Of course, do customers like the product? That’s of course a big part of it, and big part of that also is tied to the fact that we charge for our product. So we can’t hide behind giving away free stuff and saying we don’t care. If people pay for stuff, they care and they tell you exactly what they think and their money speaks. So it’s pretty obvious to us how well things are doing by talking to customers, hearing from customers, and also fundamentally first and foremost, being proud of the work that we’re doing for ourselves, and making sure the product that we’re using, that we’re spending all day in is getting better and better and better on the metrics that we care about, which is the things we’re trying to do together as a team.
Nathan: I see. When it comes to auditing people in your team, because obviously your team is everything, even if your focus is just on looking at and it should be, looking after your customers producing the best possible product, how do you audit or for a better word, ensure that you have the right people are on your team and that side of things.
Jason: Sure. Yeah, we do reviews twice a year. We do a formal review process, but that’s really not never enough to really know how well people are doing. The only way to know how well people are doing is by looking at the actual work itself. So I’m very involved in the product development side of Basecamp as is David. So David and I pay very close attention to the teams that are working on Basecamp itself, and we’re oftentimes involved in that work. So we have a pretty good sense of how people are doing and what’s going on. We have a relatively small company, 55 people in the company. So there’s really nowhere to hide. You can’t sound like you’re working for a big company where you just coast, along and not really be noticed. People know who’s doing what work.
Teams are small, teams are three people or less that work on a product feature, or a piece of the code or whatever we’re working on. So it’s pretty obvious when anyone is not pulling their weight on, when someone’s not doing a great job, or when someone’s burned out, or when someone’s unhappy. It’s all the stuff’s pretty obvious when the team is relatively small. It becomes much harder when teams are bigger, and bigger and bigger. People can hide and there’s multiple layers of management, so people don’t really know who’s doing what. That’s not the case at our company. So it’s all just pretty obvious when you’re small and you’re doing the work, and you’re working with the people who are doing the work, and you’re involved in doing the work itself.
Then again, on top of that, we do these semiannual reviews twice a year where we go into more detail about the projects people are working on, how they felt about the work, and how we felt about the work, and what work they’re proudest of, and what work they prefer not to have been involved with. We go into detail there but other than that, we’re constantly seeing the work and talking to people. It just we have a really good sense of who’s doing what, and how they’re performing and how things are going. If someone is underperforming or not feeling great about the work or whatever, it’s pretty obvious. We talk to them, we figure out what’s going on. Sometimes it’s the work itself. Other times it’s something’s going on at home, which is difficult for them.
They’re not getting enough sleep or they’re having issues in their personal life, or mental health issues. Whatever it might be and we just want to figure out what those things are so we can give people some additional room, or help them with the issues they’re having so they can get back to a more fulfilling life, and fulfilling job as well. So it’s a series of observations and communications, and it really honestly is pretty obvious when you’re in the day to day.
Nathan: Okay. One thing that you guys are really big on is obviously not being super busy. You’re having a packed schedule, 80 hour weeks or overflowing inbox. How do you, especially with a mainly remote team, how do you monitor that because time zone is so different? How do you make sure that people aren’t … There are some people that just love working, right?
Jason: Sure. Yeah and we don’t monitor hours with software or anything like that, but you can tell when people are communicating and checking in code, or submitting a design or whatever. It’s pretty obvious. For example, if someone works, someone lives in Chicago like where I live, their day is roughly 9:00 to 5:00. I don’t want to see them posting messages on Basecamp at 8:30 PM. That’s not what we want to see. I don’t want to see them checking in code at 9:00 at night. Like those kinds of things. When we do see that, especially with new employees sometimes who aren’t used to the way we work, we’ll just gently remind them that hey, you don’t have to do that. You can wait till the next morning for that. Your day ends at 5:00 or 6:00 or as a reasonable eight hour day depending on when you start, and nothing has to happen at 9:00 at night.
You can wait till 9:00 AM the next morning to do that. Just gently reminding people. So there’s that, through again just observation and just paying attention to what’s going on and seeing who’s doing what when. Then sometimes people do seem to be around a little bit too much, and we remind them that they don’t have to be and they should be taking more breaks. Sometimes we say, “Hey, you know what? You put in some hard days here for whatever reason. Why don’t you take a few extra days off?” That sort of thing. So we just try to be reasonable people, and certainly I’m sure there’s a few hours that slip through the cracks here and there but the point is that we don’t expect, or demand, or require, or support a culture that is always on where people always need to be available, where people are expected to always be available, where people are expected to respond at all times of the night, or even just even at 8:00 or 9:00 at night.
No, you should not be responding there. So it’s a variety of inputs that just reinforce and encourage a reasonable workday, and reasonable work week. If we see things out of line, well we’ll mention it. Also it comes down to leadership too, living this too. So at some companies, the manager, there’s this sense that like your car should be parked in the lot really late. That means that you’re putting in great work and you’re really valuable. We don’t have that sort of thing. We don’t reward that sort of thing. I’d much rather reward someone who works fewer hours than everyone else, but gets as much work done and is really good at focusing their time and in protecting their time so they have a full day’s work, or they can get a full day’s work done in seven hours versus nine, or versus 10. There’s no celebration of long hours here.
In a lot of companies especially in Silicon Valley, there’s a celebration and it’s sort of a bragging of people who work long hours and get little sleep. You’ll see people bragging they only get five hours of sleep. That’s not the culture we have here and we’re just the complete opposite. So I’d love to see someone bragging and they got nine hours of sleep. That’d be wonderful if you’re going to brag about something. So it’s just like reinforcing the kind of qualities and values that we have as often as we can, and as many places as we can. That’s really how you keep an eye on this versus actually installing software on people’s computers, and making them punch in and punch out. That’s not the kind of company we want to run either. So that’s how that goes. So I’d say it’s a fuzzy 40 hours, it’s about 40. Could be 42, could be 38, could be 32, could be 46, but it’s not excessive hours. It’s not that kind of thing at all.
Nathan: I see. Basecamp’s been around for quite some time, 20 plus years. Is this a culture that has fostered over time in the past 10 years, or has it been something that you guys have constantly been iterating on and just, how did this all form and has it been like this culture of it doesn’t have to be crazy at work for the past 20 years, 15 years, or is it more the past five? Were you guys at one point in time very inspired, or had ever I guess have this kind of the society mentality off what is expected and this growth mentality? I’m just curious there as well.
Jason: Yeah. One of the first chapters in the book, or the first essay in the book actually is called your company is a product. The idea behind that is that we all know how to improve products. We continue to iterate on products. We launch something, we put it out there, we iterate, we get feedback, we think about it, we have new ideas. We make it better over time. That’s how you make things better. Everyone knows that. A lot of companies though are quite static. They launch working a certain way in a certain style, and they just stick with it forever. That’s not us. We’re constantly tweaking the way we work, and iterating on the way we work. So this has been a 20 year process. A lot of the values have always been there. Things like no overwork, no ridiculous hours, that kind of stuff. In fact, when we built Basecamp originally, the product Basecamp in 2004, David could only give us 10 hours a week on it because he was a full time student.
So this has been baked in from early on. It’s a wonderful constraint because it forces you to figure out what’s really worth doing, what’s really important. That said, a lot of the benefits we offer are things that we couldn’t afford to do way back when we layered in over time. We’ve changed the way we work right now. We work in these, what we call six weeks cycles, but we don’t do anything that takes longer than six weeks. We always pick a couple of projects every six weeks and do those. Before long time ago, we used to work on things with no deadlines at all and they would go as long as they could go. That just didn’t, it sounds interesting in some ways, but ultimately it’s not. We don’t think it’s a good model. So we tweaked it to do like three months cycles, and then we’re falling down to six week cycles and this feels like the right amount of time.
Before we would go cycle to cycle, to cycle but we realised that didn’t work so well. So we now have like a two week period between cycles where we allow everyone on the product team to roam around, and freelance internally to figure out other products they want to do or things they want to tighten up. There’s no driven, there’s no not driven. There’s no defined product work in those two weeks between cycles, but people are working on whatever else they feel like they need to do. So that’s something that evolved. Things like answering emails on the weekends, or collaborating on the weekends, or working late nights, or the demand for doing stuff at night versus just waiting until the next morning, those are things we’ve always held very, very dear and those values have always been there.
One interesting thing that changed though over the years was that we used to ship a lot of software on Fridays. We wrote about this in the book and a lot of companies do. It’s like the end of the week and you finish the week and you ship. Thing is that we used to do this, but what we realise is that whenever you ship something, there’s inevitably going to be something that’s not quite right. When you ship on a Friday, that means that someone has to be working on a Saturday to fix those problems and that’s not healthy. Then what you do is you turn a five day week, which is Monday through Friday into a six day week, into a seven day week. If someone has to also work Sunday because something’s busted. Then if you don’t get any time off, you have to add five more days of that because they have next week. So that’s how you can end up with 12 day weeks, which is a weird thing which you obviously don’t want to do.
So now we ship, typically we ship software on Mondays versus on Fridays. That makes sure that the weekend is always still sacred to each person. No one has to ever work a weekend because we shipped something that broke on a Friday, and they say we ship on Mondays. That was again not something we always did, but we do it now. So this is again a continual evolution of how we work and iterating over time. If you and I talk again in three years, I’m sure there’ll be some things we do differently than we do today.
Nathan: Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah. I guess really what I was trying to gauge as well is the difference. If you guys were at some point in time where some of these things and you’ve mentioned this, Sunday afternoon emails or no time to think stuck at the office. Have you seen the difference now, the way that you guys work?
Jason: Yeah, I do think that we’re a calmer company today than we may have been at some points in our past. Not because of hours though, but primarily because of the way we worked. For example, when you work on things without deadlines, that sounds like it’s calm but it’s not because things go on and on and on and on and there’s no constraints. Then you end up not being sure when something’s good enough to ship. Maybe it’s about like we need to make everything absolutely perfect because we have unlimited time, and that’s actually a form of stress and stresses people out. We’ve actually found that deadlines are our best friend actually. Real deadlines, not what we call dread lines which is in the book. Dread lines, D-R-E-A-D lines. Dread lines are things that are deadlines people don’t trust, are deadlines that are unreasonable, are deadlines that something’s do finally on Friday but on Wednesday a whole new pile of work is dumped on your desk.
Those are dread lines. Dread lines you don’t want, but our deadlines are things that help us get work done, help us actually be calm, help us make decisions, help us cut workout that we can’t do. So I think we’ve definitely matured in terms of being able to figure out our workflow and how we work in our work load, and that we’re a lot more synchronised in real time. A lot of companies these days are moving into more real time communications. I think that’s a terrible direction. I think it causes people a lot of stress, it speeds up decisions which I don’t think is a good thing. I don’t think it gives people time to think. I think it leads to more knee jerk reactions. So the methods and the tools in which you use to work have a big impact on the actual work you have. So instead of chatting all the time about stuff, we write things up in long form and let people think it through, and sleep on it and get back to you the next day.
Very, very different mentality than making everything real time where everything’s on a ticker tape and everything is many, many real time conversations going on, and decisions being made all the time really fast and not giving people time to think. I think that’s very stressful. So we don’t work that way. We used to work a little bit that way maybe six, seven years ago, but we’ve really toned that back. Chat is now something that’s built into Basecamp 3, but it’s something we only use mostly for social stuff or for very, very small teams that just need to talk about something in real time for a short period of time, versus constantly chatting all day long about things. I just don’t think that’s a very healthy way to work at all.
Nathan: Yeah, that’s an interesting one. So you see many, many, many companies now all about the real time, the Slack, the notifications constantly going and it’s actually, this is something I’ve been thinking about and I always think about it. I haven’t changed anything, but it is actually insanely distracting.
Jason: It’s horrible. I’m not singling out Slack. They just don’t want to be the most popular one, right.
Nathan: No, and neither am I.
Jason: The medium, the idea of real time chat as the primary method of communication inside of a company, I believe to be a very toxic idea. I think chat has its place. Of course, it does. I think it’s really good for small groups, for occasional quick bursts of communication when it’s really efficient to do that. I think when everything, a lot of people are tossing email out the door and going in full realtime chat all the time. I think that’s a terrible direction and really unhealthy. It’s distracting and breaks your day into a bunch of small bits. You’re forced to follow along with multiple real time conversations at the same time all the time. Otherwise, you’re going to miss out on a conversation or decision. That’s a terrible burden to put on people. How does anyone expect …
This is by the way one of the reasons people are working 80 or 90 hour weeks is because they’re on a conveyor belt all day long chasing conversations around, and feeling like they’re going to be afraid of missing out. So they’re paying attention to stuff all day long. How can you possibly get into a deep state of work when you’re constantly clearing out notifications all day long, or wondering what that notification means. Wow, is that a conversation I need to be part of? So let me jump in and see and you get sucked in. It’s a dangerous, terrible cycle. So I think that more than anything actually right now is one of the reasons why work is becoming more and more hectic for more and more people. Technology, specifically realtime chat is making things worse in most workplaces than making it better.
It might be more convenient, a more convenient way to reach out to talk to somebody, but you’ve got to step back and wonder what is that doing? Maybe it shouldn’t be so convenient to reach out to at any time and get an immediate answer, and I don’t think it should be convenient. I think it should be harder to do that, but technology is making it easier which I think is making it worse. Sometimes especially in the tech world, we think everything is progress. It’s not always. Again, there’s a time and a place for real time, but it’s not all the time. I think it’s some of the time.
Nathan: So this poses I was writing another note as you were speaking, Jason, around you guys are really big on remote, right? From my experience, remote is awesome. For us we’re based here in Melbourne, Australia. In terms of talent, I think it’s incredibly powerful because we have an online business just like yourself. We are not limited by having to hire people in Melbourne as we build out our product. So I guess one thing I’ve found though at the same time though is nothing beats in person collaborations. Yes, when you have a remote team you can do quarterly or half yearly off sites, but what is your take on that as you guys, would you say you guys are hybrid because you do have an office in Chicago?
Jason: Yes, we’re hybrid but even the people in Chicago only work in the office a couple of days a week. It’s a small, we have some people on product but we also have some people on Q and A and some people are programmers. It’s not like there’s a specific team that works in Chicago only. I agree that in person is hard to beat when you need it. My pushback is that you don’t need it that often. In fact, most of the time it’s not a good idea. Well what we found is that the more you’re around other people, the easier it is to pull them into a room, and start meeting and brainstorming and going on and on and on about stuff that’s not often required most of the time. I think that there’s always definitely a time and a place for getting in person and talking something through, and there is no substitute for sitting around a table, but you shouldn’t be sitting around tables hours and hours on end every day.
You don’t need to be doing that. You should go and have these sessions and then you should go and do your work. Work is more of a solitary thing actually in most cases. Like actually getting in there and doing the work you need to do is more solitary. So the easier it is to just jump back into a room and riff on more stuff, I think the more distracting it is and actually the less work you get done which is why if you actually ask people where they go to get real work done, they rarely would say around a bunch of other people that I’m working with.
Nathan: Yeah, I agree.
Jason: Again, I do agree that it’s very useful from time to time, no question about it. What I like is when we do it occasionally, it’s actually more valuable because it’s rare. Whenever something is rare, it’s more valuable in every world and every sphere. So I love the idea that when we do get together that we value that time more because we know we don’t have as much of it, and we really use it versus I think lose it which is what ends up happening when it’s so convenient all the time. Again, I will also want to stress, and I should have said this at the beginning. I think you alluded to it a little bit, which is that we’re different in that this is what works for us. I’m not suggesting everyone should do any of these things. This is what works for us.
I think it’s really good to put an alternative out there, which is what we’re doing and showing people that there are different ways to do things, but people have to find their own way of doing things. What I want to push back on primarily is that the Silicon Valley way is the way and the only way, and I just don’t believe that to be true at all. I think it’s actually quite harmful for many companies. So I would love for people to try this. So for example, even if you have a local company where everybody works in the same office, one of the things we encourage people to try to do is do what we call no talk Thursdays. So pick one day a week, let’s say it’s Thursday and just shut up on Thursdays. No one can talk to each other and that means verbally. It also means through tools.
Just give everyone one day a week, or let’s say one day a month to start where people are just on their own. I think what you’re going to find is that people are going to request more of those kinds of days. They’re going to go I want another one of those, verses I want fewer of those. That’s just a good sign that maybe you need to find a balance here. Maybe it’s not all remote, maybe it’s not all local, but that there are other things going on here and you’re going to see the people are going to enjoy these times when they have a day to themselves. Maybe then it ends up being two days a month, or maybe it’s every week, or maybe it’s twice a week or whatever it is and you find the right balance for each company and then you settle into that. So I think that’s what I’d recommend people do.
Nathan: Yeah, that’s a great one. I was going to ask you at the end. We’re working towards wrapping up just actionable takeaways that you’d like people to take away from this conversation. Maybe we can start with that now.
Jason: Sure. I mean that’s one of them for sure.
Nathan: Yeah, 100%.
Jason: Try like there’s no talk Thursday or no talk first day of the month or whatever it is, right? The other thing is that I would really encourage people, or companies, or and I should say this. Part of this is difficult for people who don’t have power in organisation to change your organisation, right? So it’s very difficult if you are one of 300 people and you’re a little bit lower on the totem pole, and you just don’t have the opportunity to enact or to force some of this change through, or even to suggest some of it. So I think the best advice I have for anybody is to work with in your local sphere. I own the company so I can encourage, my local sphere is the whole company. Some people, it might be a team leader for a team of three, or four, or five.
There might be some things you can start to do with those three, or four, or five people that you have the power to do. So maybe it is a matter of not reaching out to each other at night. Maybe normally you would do that, stop doing that for a while. Maybe it’s a matter of typically you’d expect an immediate response from someone. If you instant message them, you’d expect them to instant message you back. Perhaps you should cut back on instant messaging and write things up instead in a way where it can be posted somewhere so people can get a notification about it, but the expectation is not have an immediate response. It’s instead of a thoughtful response, give it some time. Think it through, write something up in more detailed versus talking one line at a time like you typically do in chat.
Maybe it’s again, if you have some power maybe you can allow your team to work from home a few days a week, or one day a week, or one day a month to change the setting for them. Perhaps it’s if you have the freedom here to have deadlines, or maybe you didn’t have deadlines before, or give people more autonomy over the work they’re doing. You just have to think about what’s possible for you to actually do. Another thing is just to look at like yourself. If I don’t want other people to interrupt me all day, maybe I shouldn’t interrupt others. So what can I do to be the change I want to see in the world basically? Like the famous Gandhi quote, be the change you wish to see in the world. So if I don’t want to be interrupted, maybe I shouldn’t interrupt others and maybe that can rub off on other people. So maybe if I want other people to write things up thoroughly and thoughtfully, maybe I should set the tone and do it that way.
I think everyone has a little bit of control, everyone has a little bit of control certainly over themselves. Some people have a little bit more control over people around them, and other people have more control over a larger group of people. Sometimes the CEO is the problem. They’re the ones that are driving hard, driving hard, charging everybody and then it’s very difficult for any team to have any sort of alternate work way, but that’s not always the case. So I would just look and figure out what can you control? This is true by the way in life in general. You got to figure out what’s in your control and what isn’t in your control. The things that are not in your control, you can’t worry too much about them because they’re going to drive you crazy.
The things that are in your control, those are the things you have some power over and that you can enact some change, and you can start to push a little bit, nudge a little. I shouldn’t even say push. You can nudge things in the right direction and slowly but surely, you might get to where you want to be. It might take months, it might take years, but you have to start somewhere. I would recommend starting as small as you can in the smallest possible place.
Nathan: Yeah, I love the one around just like no talking Thursdays. One thing that I do want to implement, and it’s funny what you’re saying rings true. One of my friends who’s doing quite well, he told me about this book by Cal Newport called Deep Work. He said, I’m sure you’re familiar with the practise, but he said that that was so game changing for him as a founder. His name is Sabri Suby, we’ve interviewed him for another one of our shows. He said that it was so effective and he was so much more productive. He’s actually implemented across his whole agency. He has a digital agency, and now he says his team is more effective than ever. So over a two hour period between, I think it’s like 10:00 AM and 1:00 PM from Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, they have deep work mode where it’s pure silence. All tools off and everyone can just focus. He says it’s one of their secret weapons.
Jason: I love it and that’s a great book. I recommend that book. I love that that works for them, and I think it’s a great idea for others to try. Ultimately I think you want to get to everyone controlling their own day completely. So at Basecamp, we really truly try to give everyone full eight hours to themselves every day. If they want to meet up, if they want to meet up with other people and to talk about things, they’re free to do that. They’re free to do whatever they want to do, but they are in control of their schedule versus the company being in control of their schedule. What I mean by that is that a lot of companies, there’s a standup meeting in here and there’s another meeting there, and they’re pulled into things and before you know it, you’ve got only a few hours to yourself and it’s scattered and cut up in a bunch of different pieces.
I want everyone at Basecamp to have a full eight hour day to themselves to decide how they want to spend it. So if that’s what’s tools off for half the day, great. If that’s a tools off for the whole day, great. If that’s what every other day they do tools and whatever it is, I think that’s the ultimate goal and that’s where we’re headed. That’s what we’re trying to get. A lot of people are there already, but I love the idea of at least step one for a lot of companies is two hours, one day a week even. Just be quiet, be to yourself, get in that mode, do whatever you can and if you have questions and you can’t answer a question, move on to something else that you can answer yourself, that sort of thing. So I love that approach. I think it makes a lot of sense.
Nathan: Yeah. I’m curious, I have to talk to you about meetings because that kills me personally. One-on-ones with direct reports, then obviously each team has their own projects, they’re doing project meetings. What’s your take on all that? How do you guys operate? For us, it’s Monday meetings day. My day’s all gone. I’m curious around that.
Jason: Yeah. We don’t have meetings at Basecamp that are scheduled, or required, or anything of the sort. We do have one-on-ones and that sort of thing. I don’t consider that a meeting. That’s a personal session with somebody, but we don’t do them regularly. I mean they’re occasional but for example, no one’s day, no one’s … To have one day a week be blown on meetings, I feel it’s unfortunate. I’ll just put it to you that way, because you only have a few days a week and then take 20% of it, five days a week, 20% is gone on meetings.
Nathan: It kills me man.
Jason: Yeah it’s killer, right? So we don’t do any of that. We don’t have any of those things. So project discussions or whatnot, they happen in Basecamp. People write things up and then when people write things up, and so we’re very writing heavy company. When I mean writing, I don’t mean like one line at a time. I mean long form writing. Of course, we’re not talking about pages because we’re not talking about paper here, but you think about if I want to write up an idea, it’s going to be a page or so. A page or two of writing if it was printed out. We do that instead of pitching ideas verbally. So this is actually really detailed well in the book. I’d recommend checking this chapter out, or this essay out. We write things up, we don’t talk about things first.
The reason we do that is because I want everyone to have everyone else’s full attention. I don’t want any knee jerk reactions. When you sit in a meeting room with somebody and you’re pitching an idea, you may have thought about this idea yourself for three weeks before you pitched it, but now you’re dropping someone in on the spot to give you their thoughts on it. That doesn’t seem like a fair deal actually. Probably not what you want. What I want is I want people to think about what I wrote up, and get back to me on their schedule in their own time without the expectation of immediate response. Think about sitting in a meeting room and having everyone be silent the rest of the day, or rest of the meeting, that’d be so weird. So people end up filling the time with responses and thoughts and whatever, and a lot of these are not considered yet. They’re just what I have, I have to respond because I’ve been presented with something.
So I’d much rather people get back to me the next day, or the day later, or whatever and think it through and write up their response and have a more of a slower conversation versus a real time conversation about something that doesn’t need to be discussed in real time. So our meetings are replaced with write ups in Basecamp. We don’t ever do stand ups, or anything like that. People write up at the end of the day. So Basecamp 3 has a feature that we call Automatic Check-ins, which prompts people on a regular basis automatically. You can set it up daily, weekly, every other week, once a month, to write something up. So at the end of every day, people are asked to write up what they worked on in their own words. They take a few minutes to just write down some things, and that’s shared with everybody in the company.
On a semi regular basis, let’s call it monthly or so, team leads are expected to write up what we call a heartbeat, which is a summary of what their whole team has been working on over the last month or so. That’s published and goes out to the whole company. Every week we’re asked to write up what we are expecting to work on this week. So people have this general sense of what everyone’s probably going to be doing this week but may not be, but things they’re going to be doing. So we have these different pulses, these different heartbeats, these different cadence of updates. None of these have to happen in real time. No one’s pulled into a room to go around the room and ask people what they’re working on, and what they expect to work on, or what they’ve been doing.
They write it up and it’s published, and people can check it out on their own schedule at their own time. Then again, this whole thing is about giving people their day to decide when they want to do things, versus pulling people out of their day to go sit in a room and listen to a bunch of people talk about something that could have been written up instead. So I’d rather give people that hour back to themselves, versus steal that hour from them in a way that they don’t actually have to. That hour is not really efficiently used to sit around waiting, listening to other people tell everyone else what they did. It’s easier to just write that up and absorb it on their own time. So anyway, that’s one example of meeting replacement, writing things up instead.
Then getting on this regular cadence, which Basecamp 3 is great at just to prompt people on a regular basis. What are you doing? What have you been working on and everyone then can read and share and go as deep as they want, or shallow as they want on what they’ve been doing.
Nathan: Yeah. I love it, man. So look, we have to work towards wrapping up. Super mindful of your time, Jason. Couple more questions, two more questions. One, I know you wrote about it, but I’m just genuinely curious. You sold a portion of 37signals or Basecamp to Jeff Bezos. You’ve also spoken publicly that you don’t want to ever sell Basecamp, is that correct? You guys want to build something of true significance longterm. What inspires you? I’ve heard you say multiple times is a company that lasts for 50 or 100 years. So why did you do that? Why would you sell a piece of your company if you don’t intend on selling it so the investor cannot get a return?
Jason: Sure. I think this is something that a lot of founders struggle with, and I hope more founders follow our path here actually. We sold a piece of Basecamp, actually we didn’t sell a piece, well we did sell a piece of Basecamp but really sold a piece of my ownership and David’s ownership. The money that we got from Jeff Bezos went to us, went to me and David, not into the company. The company’s always been 100% funded by customer revenues. Back in 2006, we were two years in on the Basecamp experiment, the Basecamp product experiment and it was going well, but like I don’t know, was going to be a fluke, or someone going to destroy us, or someone going to can take us out, could we make a huge fatal air? Who knew, right? So we said two years in, we’ve been approached by a number of investors at that time, dozens of VC firms and hundreds now at this point, but whatever, private equity and whatever.
None of it made sense to us because we didn’t want to sell a big chunk first of all. We also didn’t want to sell any control. We also didn’t want to get out of the business on someone else’s time schedule timeline. So Jeff eventually came to us, he’d heard about us and he’d seen us speak and whatnot. He presented a different option, or actually we presented an option to him as we discussed this which was, we’re an LLC which in the United States is a form of corporation that pays dividends every year. All the profits that are leftover at the end of every year, it get distributed to the owners or the members technically is what they’re called. We didn’t want to change our corporate structure. So Jeff basically bought a piece of our ownership, and he’s now a member in the company.
So every year he gets a piece of the profits, just like I get a piece of the profits and David gets a piece of the profits. We don’t have to sell the business for Jeff to make his money back and then some, and Jeff has already made his money back and then some. This has been a very lucrative investment for him, even though we have no plans to sell the business. Even though we have no plans to go public or any of the other ways traditionally an investor would get their money out. He’s getting his money out every single year in the form of dividends. So that was a really attractive thing for him. He has no control over the business. We don’t have a board of directors. He can’t force us to sell the business at any time. Anything like that, and that made sense to him and it made sense to us.
Also took a lot of risk off the table for us in the early days, because we didn’t know what was going to happen. So we could put some nice money in the bank. David and I personally and feel like we can now sleep a little bit better because if this goes to hell for some reasons, we still took some money off the table versus a lot of companies, the owners or the founders, they don’t get any money off the table until the company either goes huge, or fails miserably. They never got to partake in the rewards of the risks that they’re taking, unless of course it goes spectacularly and they IPO or sell the business or whatever. A lot of founders don’t get to that stage. Instead, they keep pouring their profits back into the business. Then at some point, there might not be a business anymore and then there are no profits leftover and they never got to enjoy those.
We didn’t want to be that. We wanted to make sure we were enjoying our profits along the way, and also have an investor who’s into that as well. So I think it’s a really good model. I think there’s a number of companies now, investment firms now in the U.S. Not many, there’s only a few. There’s Indievc. I think a new one just launched called Ernst Capital, which is helping bootstrap companies raise some capital in nontraditional ways so they don’t have to be forced out of their business down the road. It’s a good model to look at.
Nathan: Yeah, interesting. Yeah, there’s a massive movement for Indie bootstrappers. So yeah. Awesome. Thank you for sharing. I guess the last question is where’s the best place people can find out more about yourself, Basecamp, your work, your latest book as well?
Jason: Thank you. So basecamp.com is of course where you can find out about the company and our product. By the way, some of you out there have tried Basecamp in the past, but haven’t tried Basecamp 3. It’s a totally new product, a totally new version. Very, very different thing than you’ve ever used before as far as Basecamp goes. So I’d encourage you to try it again if you tried it way back in the day, because we have been around now going on 14 years. So basecamp.com, on Twitter, @jasonfried, you can get me on Twitter there. Our book you can find at any bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, local bookstores. Also, if you want to see more about the book basecamp.com/calm. You can find out more about the book there. I hope you like it and our email addresses in the back. So after you read it, please let us know what you think.
It’s a quick read too, it’s three hours. One of the things I hate are long business books. I never finish long business books. I get halfway through and I give them up. So we wanted to write a book that’s really fast to read, really easy read, full of stuff. No filler, just thick with information, and ideas, and inspiration and points of view. Then you can get back to your own work. So that’s how we wrote the book, three hours or less you can finish it up.
Nathan: Amazing. Awesome. Well I look forward to checking it out and I encourage everyone to grab a copy. Yeah, I just want to say thanks so much for a really interesting, fascinating, enlightening conversation. There’s some things that I’m going to take away from this and implement. So yeah, really appreciate your time, Jason.
Jason: Wonderful. By the way, I don’t think I even mentioned the name of the book exactly. It’s, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. So when I say go to the bookstore and find it, look for that book, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. It’s a black cover, a big red X through it. A list of things you don’t want to be doing at work and you’ll spot it pretty easily.
Nathan: Awesome. Well look, thank you so much for your time again, Jason. We’ll chat soon.
Jason: I appreciate it. This was fun. Thanks so much.
- Follow Jason Fried on Twitter.
- Check out Basecamp.com. If you haven’t tried Basecamp 3, it’s totally new, so Jason encourages you to give it another try.
- Learn more about his latest book, It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. Jason’s email address is in the back, and he’d love to hear what you think of it if you read it.