Rework Mailbag 1 - Part 1
This is the first of two episodes where Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson answer questions from our listeners. In this episode, they talk about the role of luck and timing in starting Basecamp; ass pricing (yes, you read that correctly); hiring in the early stages of a business; and more. If you’d like your questions answered on a future mailbag episode, leave us a message at 708-628-7850.
Planning is Guessing
Basecamp’s founders never wrote a business plan when they started the company. Even today, they don’t like to look too far ahead. Too much long-term planning can hamper your ability to react to the present. Did you have plans to listen to this episode later? Be spontaneous and listen now! You’ll hear from a seasoned investor on how he came to run one of the oldest vinyl record pressing plants in the U.S.; Basecamp CEO Jason Fried on working in six-week cycles; and an independent toy store owner on surviving the holidays without giving into fads.
Can You Sell Water? Part 2
Some of the tech industry’s most vaunted companies revel in their origins as mavericks or rule-breakers, having flouted regulations in the name of disruption. That kind of risk-taking is celebrated in Silicon Valley but punished in other places, most notably minority communities. In this episode: A legal advocate for low-income entrepreneurs talks about the hurdles her clients face, and a husband-and-wife team of street food vendors share what they’ve learned making the transition from the informal to the formal economy.
The Price of Basecamp's Water
Jason Fried talking about Basecamp’s pricing changes in some leftover bits that didn’t make it into the last episode.
Can You Sell Water? Part 1
Selling is a core skill. You have to know how to sell, whether it’s a product, an idea, or yourself. In 2012, Basecamp CEO Jason Fried saw the results of a bottled water-selling challenge at Techstars Chicago, a bootcamp program for startups. That one-day competition is the starting point for a conversation that includes the art of negotiation, Jason’s experiences selling knives, tennis rackets, and software; and other adventures in business.
Jason Fried at INDUSTRY 2017
Basecamp CEO Jason Fried talks about ideas with Paul McAvinchey, co-founder of Product Collective, at INDUSTRY: The Product Conference in September 2017.
The Moral ABC
Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soaps, which bills itself as the top-selling natural soapmaker in North America, wasn’t founded to sell soap. The company was started to promote a religious philosophy developed by Emanuel Bronner, a third-generation German Jewish soapmaker, who printed his message on the labels of his potent peppermint liquid soap. Successive generations of the Bronner family have used the label’s message of a united humanity to guide the company, which spends much of its profits on charitable causes and is outspoken on issues like wage equality and fair trade. Today, even as the idea of a united humanity seems more distant than ever, Dr. Bronner’s continues to spread its soap and message worldwide.
Take A Stand
Business and politics tend to make uneasy bedfellows, but in these divisive times, even businesses that have historically stayed out of hot-button issues are coming off the sidelines. In this episode: An online florist tells racists to shop elsewhere; Basecamp stops reimbursing employees for Uber rides; and a Chicago couple creates a lighthearted product with a serious message about the treatment of female bodies.
It’s easy to say yes, whether it’s to a customer request or a deadline from your boss. But saying yes too many times can result in an unmanageable workload or distract you from the stuff you really want to be doing. It’s good to practice saying no and setting boundaries. In this episode: A personal organizer helps her clients say no to physical clutter; a programmer at Basecamp peers into the abyss of burnout and steps back just in time; and a healthy meal-planning startup rejects complexity, even if it means letting some customers go.
Pick A Fight (on Twitter)
Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson is known for many things, including creating Ruby on Rails and writing business books. He also has a knack for arguing with people on the Internet. This cheerfully profane conversation explores how Twitter is like a virtual pillow to scream into and the role that extreme voices play in moving important conversations forward. We also relive some of David’s memorable Twitter melees, including the one that got him blocked by Paul Graham.