141: Jason Fried - Running the Tailwind Business on Basecamp

Full Stack Radio


To bring on our first team members. This is full stack radio episode one forty one. So the reason I wanted to have you on the show today and the stuff that I want to talk about is The company that I run with my business partner Steve we create user interface tools for people, so we run open source projects like Tallahassee S S and We lately have been building like P- redesigned templates and stuff to sort of. Kind of like a commercial branch of the open source business who also do educational products and stuff, but it's just been the two of us for a long long time, and we're hitting the point now where it's like we're drowning, and we need to bring people on to help us out and That's a really crazy. Kind of turning point in how things are going to be going for US I feel like a little bit nervous about it because I up until now it just been kind of working for myself managing my own work Steve Works pretty independently to but we are hiring a couple of people to come on and help us, and honestly I feel like I. Don't know the first thing about making sure. That that all goes successful. So I attended a workshop that you guys did at the base. Camp Office a few years back where you kind of walk through how you guys use base camp, and it was really eye-opening inspiring to me, but I feel like at the time, not running my own remote company. There's just lots of stuff that just when one ear and out the other that I missed right and I feel like. Like, it'd be awesome to revisit some of that stuff with you today and talk about some of the ways that you guys run the team at base camp how you use basecamp to do it and sort of lessons learning mistakes that you made along the way. Yeah, that sounds like a good topic. clearly got a lot to share about that, so yeah, anyway I could be helpful would be. My Pleasure I. Think the first thing that I'd be curious to know which. Is kind of ten generally related. But when I came to the workshop that you guys, base came, I was sort of surprised that the way that you presented the tool. It was not. The way it had sort of been pitched to me over the years like I. Always Thought of Basecamp is like a client team. Communication Project Management Tool which I think is absolutely how it started, and that was the problem. You're song for yourself in the beginning but watching you kind of walk through the product at the workshop seemed much more like a like a remote company hub than it did like project management to like it seemed like you. This is the company. Is this online? Portal where everything happens, and you used it for a lot of stuff that just was not what I had in the picture of my in the picture in my mind about what basecamp was supposed to be. I'm so I, a little bit curious to like. How you sort of tell the story of like the evolution of base camp from solving the initial problem that you had which I think was much more around communicating with clients and how that got to where you are today which I feel very different product, even though it can be used to solve a lot of the same problems. Yes so. In my opinion, running a company and managing projects the same thing. Company is a collection of projects. It's a collection of people All work needs to be organized into orderly needs to be predictable. All those things and I think it needs to be in one place need is a strong word, but okay. I use it like it kind of needs to be one place otherwise like stuff is everywhere. Everyone knows what that's like. And that's in fact why we built base camp originally because back in two thousand and four when we built, we built it in two thousand three. We were running projects for clients and stuff was everywhere like. had stuff in my email David stuff in his email. Ryan had stuff in his email. I use the calendar thing they use account like stuff was everywhere. The client feedback was maybe in in my inbox and not David David couldn't see what I talked to the client about so stuff's everywhere in this happens today to not with us, but like project management in general scattered across tools. Some people use this tool in some people use that tool and some. Some people use slack for communication. They used your for project, management or task. Whatever? Task Management or they use Asana or they use both Asana and Jira the engineering team uses Jira the other people use. This is no way to run things because it's a mess still. So. We've we've always decided to build what we need and back? When we launched Basecamp, we were a client services firm, so it was primarily around communicating communicating with clients, keeping feedback on the record, and making sure everybody internally knew what was going on, and we had one central stored. Shared, basically center of truth for everybody involved in a project, and that's still true today. We just don't work with clients anymore. We work with ourselves, but so the spirit of the product is the same, but the execution has definitely changed based on. You know a little bit around our needs, which is kind of how we've always built things, which is what do we need? What do we know and we put something out there and we try to find other people or other companies like us was similar in similar situations who are looking for something that we were also looking for? And so while the client features based, can today are probably better than they've ever been? We don't use them as much US occasionally, but we them as much as we used sort of the h q piece of. The the remote hub part of it. Yeah, awesome I think it's kind of I came away from that workshop. Thinking like basecamp seems like the ultimate tool for remote teams, but at the time the positioning wasn't really is focused on remote at the at the time, but now with all the coronavirus coronavirus covid nineteen stuff happening I noticed that you guys did make some changes to the marketing copy and stuff to really sort of double down on like Hey, we're all going to remote.

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