Get out your Bunsen burner! It’s time to do some experiments. In this episode, we talk to two businesses that aren’t afraid to try new things. First, the three founders of The Mad Optimist, a soap company in Indiana, talk about letting customers choose what they pay for their products. Then Natalie Nagele, the co-founder and CEO of software company Wildbit, talks about an ongoing experiment with four-day work weeks and what she’s discovered about productivity, happiness, and deep work.
Venture Capital and Control with Dave Teare
Dave Teare is the co-founder and official “heart and soul” of 1Password, which recently raised $200 million in its first round of venture capital. Basecamp is a longtime happy customer of 1Password and also a longtime critic of venture capital, so the funding announcement led to some back-and-forth on Twitter between Basecamp co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson and Dave Teare. In this episode, DHH and Dave get on the phone to hash out their feelings about venture capital and what this funding round means for 1Password’s future.
Calm in the Political Storm
Workplace cultures in politics and tech share many similarities: Overwork is glorified; long hours are the norm; employees are expected to respond to communication instantly, no matter the day or time; and those that opt out are seen as lacking hustle or ceding ground to competitors. Marty Santalucia, a political consultant in Pennsylvania, wanted to do things differently. In this episode, he talks about applying calm work principles to an industry that’s known for the opposite dynamic.
Basecamp: This Time it's Personal
Basecamp has a long history of experimenting with “freemium” models and recently launched its most generous free plan yet: Basecamp Personal. Co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson talk about the debate and data analysis that went into the launch, what makes this a little scary, and why it’s healthy for a business to experiment.
Spending in the Clouds
Basecamp has cut back its reliance on Amazon and Google, but there’s one area where it’s tough to find alternatives to Big Tech: cloud services. Even so, there are ways to cut spending on this $3 million annual expense while keeping the company’s apps running smoothly. In this episode, Blake Stoddard on Basecamp’s Ops team talks about how he volunteered to look for savings on cloud services and really delivered—to the tune of over a half-million dollars.
Breaking the Black Box
Basecamp co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson sparked a national controversy this week when he posted a series of livid tweets about how his wife received a much lower credit limit than he did on their Apple Cards, despite applying with the same financial information. What began as a rant against opaque algorithms turned into a regulatory investigation and more. In this episode, Dr. Ruha Benjamin of Princeton University and entrepreneur Mara Zepeda, co-founder of the XXcelerate Fund and Zebras Unite, talk about how the tech and financial sectors perpetuate systemic inequalities and how to start repairing the damage—or building something more equitable and inclusive from the ground up.
Big Brother at the Office
Between cameras, sensor-equipped ID badges, and keystroke-logging software, employers are keeping an ever-watchful eye on their workers, all in the name of security or increased productivity. Jason Meller has spent his career in computer security and witnessed what can happen when a corporation’s obsession with safety results in harmful surveillance of its employees. On this episode, he talks about navigating those ethical boundaries and why it’s important to have constant consent instead of constant surveillance.
Rework Mailbag 5
Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson answer listener questions in this short but jam-packed mailbag episode. Among other topics, they discuss whether they prefer reading physical books or the Kindle; talk about providing feedback to rejected job candidates; and imagine a world where Jason and DHH didn’t end up working together.
A Hosty Retreat
Basecamp has taken a clear stance against tracking on the web, so when we learned that our podcast hosting provider had introduced listener-targeted advertising, we decided to decamp to a different company. On today’s episode, Wailin talks to Lex Friedman, chief revenue officer of Rework’s old podcast host, about what they’re doing with targeted ads. Then she talks to Justin Jackson, co-founder of our new podcast host, about how he’s approached building his startup.
Basecamp’s new head of marketing, Andy Didorosi, talks about starting a bus company in his hometown of Detroit to help fill a gap in public transit; what he learned about building a business with a “buy one, give one” social mission; and why he left the company he founded to join Basecamp.