A lot of businesses start as side ventures or hobbies that grow into full-time pursuits. The trick is often in knowing when to quit a comfortable day job to start a new business. We sit down with one of our own at this crossroads. Noah Lorang headed Basecamp’s data team for the last eight years, and now he’s the sole proprietor of a woodworking shop that makes topographical maps. In this episode, Noah talks about how he made his hobby into a viable business, what Basecamp taught him about entrepreneurship, and what he gets from carving wooden maps that he doesn’t get from writing code. Thanks for all the camaraderie, data analysis, and puns, Noah! We’ll miss you.
The Bean Machine
*taps mic* Is this thing on? We’re back from sabbatical! In our first post-hiatus episode, Shaun heads to Denver to visit his sister, who left a catering job at a big restaurant chain to run a coffee shop out of a Volkswagen Bus that she bought on impulse off Craigslist. Erika Hildner shares what she’s learned as a first-time business owner about risk-taking, customer service, and using common sense.
Take a Break
Smell ya later! Shaun and Wailin are taking off the month of August. Before they left, they interviewed three business owners about sabbaticals. In this episode: Adeline Koh of Sabbatical Beauty shares the story of how she ended up starting a business while on leave from a different job; Jason Fried explains why Basecamp offers paid sabbaticals as an employee benefit; and Rachel Winard of Soapwalla talks about what it’s like to go on sabbatical when you’re the boss.
Out in the Open
In a bonus conversation with Sarah Park of MeetEdgar, she talks about making the company handbook public and why they have a policy of opening up meetings and conversations to everyone.
One of our colleagues on the Basecamp customer support team, Jayne Ogilvie, wanted to find out how other tech companies with remote staffs handle issues like communication, career development, and hiring. Jayne sent out a survey and got back a wealth of information and ideas about how other teams work together. In this episode, we hear more from two participating companies: Sarah Park of MeetEdgar talks about how their staff gathers internal feedback on important decisions, and Patrick Filler and Anitra St. Hilaire of Harvest talk about taking on the challenge of making their company more diverse and inclusive.
Go Behind the Scenes
A famous guy once said, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” But he was a grifter. In fact, going behind the scenes—whether it’s a factory tour or cooking show—can be a valuable experience for both visitors and guides. In this episode, we crash a middle school field trip to the Method soap factory on Chicago’s South Side. We also hear from Basecamp’s CEO Jason Fried on his YouTube series on making design decisions and from the managing partners of Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan on why they don’t believe in secrets.
You Need Less Than You Think
Who needs a fancy office when you can work out of a dingy food court? Who needs fancy equipment when you can buy what you need at Walmart? Who needs to hire an SEO specialist? What does an SEO specialist do, anyway? (A question for another episode, or maybe another podcast altogether.) On this episode, three very different companies—a fashion brand, a company that sells fresh salads from vending machines, and an auto detailing shop—discuss their humble beginnings and offer practical advice about being resourceful and staying lean.
But Wait, There's More
Do you struggle with finding the right podcast? Are you tired of true crime shows and hosts trying to sell you a mattress? Introducing Rework, a podcast that’s free of both murder and midroll ads. When you listen to this episode of Rework, you’ll learn the fascinating history of infomercials and hear sales tips from experts like the marketing guru who made the Thighmaster a ’90s sensation. But wait, there’s more! Stick around after the episode to hear Wailin explain the premise of Three’s Company to Shaun. Subscribe to Rework today!
Rework Mailbag 2
Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson answer listener questions about workplace communication and remote working. Alison Green of Ask A Manager, whom we featured in our previous episode, gives her advice on a couple of questions too. If you’d like to submit a question for Jason and David to answer on a future mailbag episode, call us at (708) 628-7850 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ask A Manager
Wailin interviews Alison Green, the advice columnist whose Ask A Manager column offers friendly and practical guidance for all kinds of workplace dilemmas, from “How do I ask for a raise?” to “How can I get out of eating lunch with coworkers?” Alison talks about memorable letters, her community of commenters, and seeking advice from fellow advice columnists. Wailin also shares a story about a particularly horrible day at work where she could have used Alison’s help.