Hire When it Hurts
Basecamp is known for hiring infrequently, but it’s in the midst of adding five new employees to its roster—including the company’s first-ever director of marketing. Over 4,000 applications have come in for the open positions. In this episode, we go deep into how we knew it was time to hire, why we spend so much time writing job ads, and how teams of future co-workers evaluate candidates without using automated filtering software.
- Big Integer, our episode about the outage - 3:56
- DHH's posts on subsequent outages - 3:59
- "Basecamp is hiring a Head of Marketing" (Signal v. Noise) - 6:15
- archive of past talks by Basecampers - 6:29
- Books by Basecamp - 6:30
- Six Hours of Phone Calls, our episode about looking for an SEO consultant to help with Basecamp's Google ranking - 6:46
- Basecamp Support - 8:28
- "Basecamp is hiring Customer Support Representatives" (SvN) - 8:38
- "We're hiring a Director of Operations" (SvN) - 9:19
- "Basecamp is hiring a Senior Programmer" (SvN) - 11:12
- Workable - 14:38
- Hiring Is Not Hazing, our episode about code reviews and other aspects of tech interviews - 20:00
- Know Your Team, our episode about the company formerly known as the product Know Your Company - 29:25
- "Why work doesn't happen at work," Jason Fried's 2010 TEDxMidwest talk - 31:27
The Full Transcript:
Andrea: [00:00:00] I answered an ad on Craigslist and I met Jason here and he kind of showed me around. It wasn’t really an interview. It was kind of like a conversation. Offered me the job that day, and that was it.
Jeremy: [00:00:11] I worked on Ruby on Rails with David and talked to David and I actually met Jason in Chicago after getting hired.
Kristin: [00:00:21] My friend told me this company was hiring. There was no formal job ad anywhere. I just emailed Jason, and I emailed him like a treatment for some sort of video or play. God, I hope no one has that still. Came in for an interview. I asked Jason if this was like Comcast, and he still sometimes asks me that back.
[00:00:50] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:00:52] Hello and welcome to Welcome to Rework, a podcast by Basecamp about the better way to work and run your business. I’m Shaun Hildner.
Wailin: [00:00:57] And I’m Wailin Wong. As you heard at the top of the episode, there was a time at Basecamp when hiring was done in a very ad hoc way. The company was small, it didn’t have anything even approximating a human resources department, and it hired very infrequently.
Shaun: [00:01:13] Well, we’re a little bit bigger, now, just over 50 people. And for about the last year and a half, we’ve started to formalize the way we hire. But bringing on new employees is still a rare occurrence at Basecamp. It happens maybe a few times a year. A big reason for this is a long-standing philosophy we call “hire when it hurts.”
Wailin: [00:01:30] Hire when it hurts means that if you feel overworked for a sustained period of time, or you feel like the quality of your work is sliding, that’s when it’s time to hire. And the pain should be persistent. Something that can’t be resolved by using a new tool or saying no to extra work.
Shaun: [00:01:47] And recently, it’s been hurting at Basecamp in a few different ways, and that’s led to what qualifies around here as a mini hiring boom. We’re bringing on a whopping five new people. Two in customer support, one senior programmer, one director of operations, and something we’ve never had here at Basecamp before, a director of marketing.
Wailin: [00:02:04] Between the five positions, over 4,000 applications have rolled into Basecamp and every single one of them is reviewed by a human being. We don’t use software that filters resumes by keyword or anything like that.
Shaun: [00:02:18] On today’s episode, we go deep into the hiring process at Basecamp. You’ll hear about why we’re bringing on new coworkers, how we write job listings, and how we go through all those applications. We’re going to start with Jeremy Daer. You’ve heard him on Rework before. He leads the Security, Infrastructure, and Performance team, and they’re looking for a senior programmer. It’s been about two years since his team made their last hire.
Jeremy: [00:02:48] We say we hire when it hurts and how do you know when it hurts? It feels like a kind of a frog in a pot effect. We’ve got small teams. We’re over-subscribed kind of intentionally. We do a lot—juggle a lot of different roles, and often when we feel some hurt, the right thing to do is take the pain way and try to drop some responsibility, try to reduce the footprint of our applications, try to reduce the demands on our work. But sometimes that’s not possible. And usually we discover after something happening two or three times. Once you’ve really recognized you’re feeling a pattern of pain and that it’s something that’s indispensable to our work and our responsibilities. And we experienced this after a series of outage, with one outage after another, we needed to draft in help to respond to them effectively. And that can be okay in a short term, maybe days to maybe weeks in an extreme situation. But this was dragging out to multiple months so something had to give.
Wailin: [00:03:50] Back in November, Basecamp suffered its worst outage in a decade. We did a whole episode on that incident called Big Integer. The following months brought several more outages and the stress of this period fell especially hard on Basecamp’s Ops team. Here’s Basecamp cofounder and Chief Technology Officer, David Heinemeier Hansson.
David: [00:04:10] The Ops role became available because we took the, for us, very drastic step of saying good bye to someone who had been in that role for a long time, due to the serious, multiple compounding crises we had around uptime and availability at Basecamp over five to six months. And the conclusion that… the reason we found ourselves in that predicament, which was probably the most un-calm period of Basecamp’s entire history, was because we had made bad choices.
[00:04:52] The conclusion being that those choices stemmed from the leadership that was running that team. And whether, sort of, you just want to pin that on a person which is always unfair, because it’s always about a team, and it’s about a company, and it’s about the whole executive suite. We still were left with this idea that we need to try something new. We need to learn something new. We need to get a new perspective. Which was also this odd situation where, unlike the vast majority of managers at Basecamp, we did not open this position for internal hiring.
[00:05:32] Most of the other team leads and managers we have at Basecamp were promoted into that role from within the existing teams. This particular role, we said, we’re not going to do that because we need a completely fresh perspective where someone can come in from the outside and had experiences and perspectives on resilience and uptime and how we should run our operations. I think that’s probably the most difficult role we’ve had to hire for in maybe even the history of the company.
Wailin: [00:06:06] The outages produced a particular kind of hurt for Basecamp and there was another kind of pain that led to the creation of the Director of Marketing position. Here’s Basecamp cofounder and CEO, Jason Fried.
Jason: [00:06:18] We’ve been really good over the years at getting the word out the only way we know how, which is writing, which is speaking loudly, which is sharing our point of view. Conferences, and books, on Twitter, that sort of thing. But it feels like we’ve sort of hit the edges of that sphere of influence and how does—why does it feel that way? Some of it’s in the numbers a little bit. Our traffic is sort of declining a little bit, here and there. Part of that is because we’re invisible on Google. Other parts might just be people don’t know about us as much as we think they do. Turning 20 as a business is a good moment to reflect on what have we done and what do we want to do next. So, this is more about the next 20 years of the business and I don’t think we’re going to get where we want to go if we do the same thing we did the last 20.
[00:07:03] We just think it’s time to make the investment. And in fact, speaking to, like hire when it hurts. It’s like, I think we should have made this investment three years ago, probably, because now we’d be seeing the benefits of it.
Shaun: [00:07:14] The other team that’s hiring at Basecamp is customer support. They’re tackling pain from yet another angle. They’re anticipating a bigger case load, and they want to make sure that they still have that time to do important projects outside of responding to emails. Here’s Kristin Aardsma, the head of that team.
Kristin: [00:07:28] We had one person quit and it’s really bittersweet. They’re pursuing their dreams and their dreams are no longer to work at Basecamp on the support team. So we have to hire to replace this person but I think there’s also an opportunity in growing the team and so I wanted to hire a second person. So I think that we’re going to get more customer emails based on a few things that Basecamp is currently working on. We’re a lean team and we’re also a seasonal team. And, we’re a reactive team. I try to create more space for proactive work, teaching customer classes and updating documentation and trying to learn the console to fix really small bugs that we see pretty regularly. Things like that are more of the proactive stuff that can get lost if you don’t make space for it.
Wailin: [00:08:26] The customer support team is the biggest one at Basecamp and has 15 people. And it’s the one that hires the most frequently. This means they also have the most practice writing job postings. Here’s an excerpt from the customer support ad.
[00:08:40] “Once fully up to speed (2-3 months), you’ll write about 100 emails per day. This is a significant volume so be sure that you’re ready and able to deal with that kind of daily load. You’ll get all the support and guidance you need along the way.”
Kristin: [00:08:53] We update it every time. I like to think that this is the best job posting that we’ve ever posted for support and I like to think that’s true every time we update it. I just want to be really clear about the expectations for what this job is, day in and day out. And I wanted it to show our personality, too.
Shaun: [00:09:12] Setting expectations is a crucial part of the job ad. Here’s David on describing the role of the Ops Director.
David: [00:09:18] I’d say that job posting, in many ways, was the most difficult one we’ve written. Some of the failures that we suffered in the time of poor reliability, and lots of down time and so-on, was the fact that we hadn’t taken the time, from an executive level, to really define what this role entails. What are the responsibilities and what is the accountability like? This is, in many ways, the most critical position at Basecamp. There’s nothing that can run us out of business as quickly as the apps being unavailable for long periods of time. Nothing.
[00:10:02] I mean we can screw up the launch of a new product, we can screw up a new feature design. We can screw up some marketing. We can screw up a lot of things that might wound the company and put us on a bad trajectory on the long term, but nothing can put us out of business in as short as a couple of weeks or a month of downtime as the failure to have the applications available. We didn’t want to project, oh, this is all shit, because that also wasn’t a fair reflection, but we did want to make it clear that this is a highly critical role and we set the bar, in a lot of ways, very high. We asked for a level of experience and a level of knowledge around some of these issues that is probably higher than any other role we’ve tried to hire for.
[00:10:57] That was also, of course, paired with the fact that this was the highest advertised salary that we’ve ever had on any job posting, because this literally is one of the most critical roles in the company.
Shaun: [00:11:06] Most of the job ads have specific examples of what the day-to-day work might be. The one for the senior programmer position lists 12 bullet points of real-life tasks that Jeremy’s team has tackled. Like, responding to a credential-stuffing attack and making sure we’re up to snuff with European data privacy laws.
Jeremy: [00:11:22] We don’t have many steps. This is one of the most important ones, is introducing ourselves to candidates. To what this role will be like. So, this is encompassing both posting that we have an opening and kind of a first interview. This is a lot of the things that would come up through multiple interview steps at another company. Our posts reflect that the teams are writing them. Everybody’s participating in these and contributing to an accurate feeling picture of what the role is going to be like and what working here is like.
David: [00:11:56] There’s a lot of eyes on these paragraphs. And we spend an uncommon amount of time working, rewriting, and perfecting those. We really want to present the very best of ourselves, but in this fully authentic way that also serves as a filter in and of itself. And someone can read that job posting and go, do you know what, that’s not for me.
[00:12:23] For us, for example, one of the things is remote work. Remote is just how we work. There’s a lot of people who for all sorts of valid reasons will go, remote work is not for me. So if you’re a person who needs to sit in a large office or you draw a bunch of energy from having 100 people around you in an open office. Again, Basecamp is not the place.
[00:12:45] We’ve gotten more wordy in our openings. They’re a lot longer than what they used to be, and part of that is kind of the unfortunate thing that we need to reset the default assumptions people have about technology companies. The default assumptions, for example, being that it’s long hours. And we have to spell that out in detail in ways where we perhaps used to take that for granted. And I think, unfortunately, the toxicity of a lot of what’s going on in the industry requires these active stances.
Wailin: [00:13:16] Here’s how Jeremy’s team put it in their job ad for the senior programmer.
[00:13:20] “We won’t treat your life as dead code to be optimized away with free dinners and dry cleaning. Quality time to focus on work starts with quality time to think, exercise, cook a meal, be with family and friends. Time to yourself.”
Shaun: [00:13:34] If you think Basecamp sounds like a nice place to work, you’re not alone. After the break, we’ll talk about how many people applied for our five open positions and how the teams evaluate the candidates with a human touch. But first, let me tell you a little bit about Basecamp.
[00:13:48] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:13:50] Basecamp is a software tool for managing projects and teams. Maybe you’ve used an earlier version but moved on. Maybe you’ve heard of us but never signed up. Today’s Basecamp will surprise you. It’s all new, thoroughly modern and unlike anything else. The idea is that now you can ditch Slack, Asana, Trello, Jira, Dropbox, or some other messy mishmash of products. Simplify and centralize around Basecamp instead. It’s all you need for project management and internal communication. You can try it free today at Basecamp.com.
[00:14:26] Over 2,000 people applied to the customer support positions. 1,400 people put in for the marketing position and over 400 sent in resumes for the Director of Ops. That’s a lot of applications. We used software called Workable to collect and track these applications and then it’s time for the teams to read. Like in the case of the marketing job.
Andrea: [00:14:43] I literally touched every application and read every single one.
Wailin: [00:14:49] This is Andrea LaRowe, our head of people ops. She joined Basecamp eight years ago as the office manager. She’s the one you heard at the beginning of this episode saying she responded to an ad on Craigslist. Today she handles human resources and issues related to company culture.
Andrea: [00:15:03] We don’t use screening software or like, keywords. We don’t do that. It’s just me and Jason and whoever else has the time.
Kristin: [00:15:12] We asked for applicants to demonstrate their compassionate empathy, so we have to show them compassionate empathy during the process, and I feel like the automation just leaves too much up for error.
Wailin: [00:15:26] There are some basic things that are automatic disqualifiers. Like, if an application comes in and it’s just a resume, no cover letter, it gets culled right away. If there is a cover letter but it doesn’t answer specific questions posed in the job ad, that application would also be disqualified. Again, here’s Jeremy, head of the Security, Infrastructure, and Performance team.
Jeremy: [00:15:46] Everybody on the team triages and reviews incoming applicants and we read resume, read cover letter, and we have one question providing a little snippet of code and that’s special to the applicant and telling us some of the story behind it. And we just kind of build, at this point, it’s a subjective impression. You’re going out on the job market and you’re apply to hundreds of jobs, and who are we to think, like, oh, Basecamp, we’re going to have—we ask for this tailored kind of application. And that’s rough. If you’re applying for hundreds of jobs then you don’t have the energy or attention for one single company to kind of put in the extra effort. But that is what we’re looking for and that’s what we need to make a hiring decision.
[00:16:35] One of the dangers of doing this and having people who are on the team review applicants is that it’s very subjective and it’s vulnerable to all kinds of bias. And so, how can we prevent that at each phase? And we can’t pretend that we’re being objective. So that’s part of it, it’s like, one, admitting the situation. We’re looking for who we’d like to hear more from right now.
Kristin: [00:17:00] What we’re looking for is something more interesting with personality and confidence and ease in writing. You have to stand out in a way that demonstrates your dynamic writing skills. We’re looking for someone who has a unique background, who can bring something to the team.
[00:17:21] So, for example, two people on the team right now have MFAs in Poetry and it’s hard to hire someone else with an MFA in Poetry because I feel like, it’s like, you know what, we can’t just have a team of poets here. That’s not a unique background for us.
Andrea: [00:17:41] With Marketing there’s, everyone kind of came with the same background and the same experience. You really had to read, and it’s kind of a feel, too, you get a sense of how people write and how they approach their work. How does that match up with how we talk about work and what can they bring that’s fresh and new?
Jason: [00:17:59] For me it was a little bit of storytelling. Obviously grammatically, they have to be grammatically correct for the most part. Some people make mistakes. I’m not one of those people who throws something out because there’s a spelling error. I used to be, actually, but I’ve kind of relaxed on that a bit. It’s more about the flow and the storytelling and how someone presents themselves. Maybe the questions, they weren’t numbered. They were just sort of interwoven in sort of a story. That was more appealing to me versus just like, here are the questions you asked, and here are my answers to those questions. And because this is all we have at this point, I just try to imagine who they are based on how they’ve written.
[00:18:39] So, for example, if the writing is very, sort of formal and sort of structured in a way where I feel like they might be a bit too corporate, it’s not a complete disqualification or anything like that, but it’s just like, in my mind, it might be a little too rigid.
Shaun: [00:18:56] Communication skills are important on the programming side, too. Like Jeremy mentioned before, his team asked candidates for a snippet of code. As you’ll hear, this application requirement has some drawbacks, but here’s why they ask for it.
Jeremy: [00:19:07] This is something that we change all the time, despite our growing experience with job posting. Doing technical review is something that’s really difficult. So what we do is try to approximate what doing code review at Basecamp is like. Somebody’s produced something. Let’s walk through it and let’s tell the story of the code. What is it like to talk to somebody and communicate about a change? What motivated the change? What was the intent? What were the caveats? It’s an understanding of the context of the code, the history of it, the purpose, what the other pressures at play are? The team that produced it… that’s the kind of thing that reflects and understanding of a working, production-level development team.
Shaun: [00:19:51] One big problem with asking for a code sample is that not all candidates have one readily available. We covered this in a previous episode called “Hiring is not Hazing.”
Jeremy: [00:19:59] If you ask for, show me some real-world code that you’ve created and ethically you can’t share code that’s not yours, it’s your employer’s, and so what do we do? Well, typically the next place to go is code that you’ve written that you own. And who does this? It favors those who spend their free time coding more. Do you work after hours? Do you do it for fun? Do we want to attract only people who do Open Source programming? And the answer is no. So it’s a tough thing to ask for, and particularly to ask for up front because often that means that we’re requesting somebody to write new code for us. And that’s a whole other level of work. It’s not a very kind request. Just like with any job application, it’s a gamble that takes a lot of work. You’re putting yourself on the line and we need to be conscious of that and respectful of that.
Wailin: [00:20:58] The Director of Ops position is also a highly technical one. In fact, the kind of experience that David and the Ops team wanted was so specific that they broke with a long-held Basecamp hiring practice and looked closely at resumes. Typically the cover letter is the first and most important piece of the application. But in this case, Andrea, who did the initial triage for the Ops role looked at CVs first and cover letters second.
David: [00:21:22] We were quite particular about the CV part. We were asking for someone to come in with direct, provable experience, doing essentially just job somewhere else. I think the other part of this is when you hire someone at this level, it’s a bit of a fine walk between is someone really just a manager? Do they also have a connection to the work itself? And Basecamp is perhaps unique in that respect, too, in the fact that we don’t really have a lot of, or any, really, full time managers.
[00:21:53] One of the sticking points with that role in particular were that we said, the Director of Operations at least has to come onboard initially, they have to do On Call. There’s a fair number of people who’ve reached that level of seniority, who’s like, yeah, no. Fuck that. I’m past that point. So, that perhaps narrowed it down even further and made it even harder of a fit. And we got down to maybe 60, 80. So then it goes from there and we go in and really read the cover letters and the resumes in detail. You pick out the people who really stand out.
Andrea: [00:22:32] Normally the process we follow is I or the hiring team get down to about ten and then I speak with those people on the phone and it’s an interesting start, especially when we hire for more technical roles because I am approaching it from a culture perspective. And I think that that—it starts the process off in a really different way than ppl are used to. But for us it works.
[00:22:53] Well, for Ops, I really got a sense of their leadership qualities. We hired a Director of Operation. So not only are they leading the Operations team, they’re kind of a leader for the company. They have to step up and be kind of a pillar. So getting a sense of not only how they lead a team, but how do they view a director. What does a director mean, what does that mean to them. From there I narrow it down to my kind of top 5-ish, and then they move on to the rest of the hiring team.
David: [00:23:20] The team of future of coworkers have the majority say in the hiring selection process. And then when it gets down to two, three candidates in the end, then Jason and I usually have what we usually call a confirmation hearing with that person. By the time we’ve culled it down all the way to this, we’ve already been involved with the process. We already know what the candidates are and we rely on the feedback that the future coworkers are giving about these candidates.
Shaun: [00:23:52] The opening for the Director of Ops drew over 400 applicants. In customer support, over 2,000 candidates applied for the two open positions. Kristin asked five of her team members to help read the applications.
Kristin: [00:24:04] I chose a range of tenure. So we have people who have hired before, kind of who have been instrumental in hiring before. And we have people who were recently hired to Basecamp and recently went through this experience. And I also wanted a range of technical expertise so that we have many different perspectives coming to these applications.
Shaun: [00:24:33] The top 15 customer support candidates take a written test. When the group is down to the final three or four, each person talks with the support team in Campfire, Basecamp’s real-time group chat tool.
Kristin: [00:24:45] I actually thought about cutting it because I wasn’t sure that it would even be necessary, but then I was talking to one of the teammates and I told them I was gonna cut it. And he said that he found it, when he was applying to work at Basecamp, he found it to be one of the most helpful things to understand what the fuck he was getting into. We’re a remote company. This is like—you’re like, is this a real job? We talk over video and Campfire all the time. And because we talk over Campfire, our chat room, all the time, I think it’s important for people to see what that’s like. We sort of throw them into there, and then of course, Joan always asks applicants what their favorite quote from Sister Act is. Of course people have no answer. But it’s sort of like, this is the tone. We do work, we get a lot of work done, but this is also part of our culture. Is that we support each other and we try to bond with each other. We spend 40 hours a week with each other, we’d better get along.
Wailin: [00:25:51] Like Jeremy pointed out earlier, the work of evaluating job candidates is really subjective. We have different reactions to traits like humor and creativity. In the case of the marketing position, maybe because it was a marketing job, some candidates worked really hard to stand out. One person even bought ads on Linked-In that targeted Basecamp employees.
Jason: [00:26:11] We received a bunch of packages. On my desk when I came back from vacation, there was like a dozen or so. And by the way, I don’t want to say that those were bad ideas. But some of them were a little bit too gimmicky and some of them were thoughtful. Clearly some people were trying too hard to get attention. And I’m thinking to myself, like, if they’re going to be representing us to potential customers are they going to go overboard and try too hard? That’s what this job is. This job is about presenting us to people. And so while I appreciate the creative approaches and the effort that some people made, I also look at it and go, there’s just too much here and I don’t want to be represented that way out in the market.
Andrea: [00:26:55] So many applications are so good and it’s like, it’s impressive. That, alone, is so impressive. The time that it takes to write these applications. They’re like 1,500-2,000 words. I mean, that takes a lot of time and I appreciate that more than I appreciate like, the little gimmick, or the little present that gets sent to the office. It’s hard. It’s time consuming to go through all of those applications. A thousand—I mean, it’s hours and hours and hours for me to read them. But I’m like, in awe, and I appreciate so much the care that people put into it and these massively talented people are all—look, there’s literally a thousand massively talented people applying to this job. And it’s—it is. It’s just an honor to read through them and I appreciate them so much.
Jason: [00:27:40] This is one of the hardest positions I’ve ever tried to hire for. I feel like there’s certainly probably people that we’re cutting that would be really great for the job. That when you have a sheer number, of let’s say, 1,400, or whatever the actual, final number was, let’s just call it over a thousand. You’re gonna miss people who would have been great. There’s just no way not to, in a sense. And there’s so many really interesting, great people that it’s really. It’s hard to pass on someone who looks like they could be good but there’s just so many that you kind of can’t talk to every—like, we can’t have a hundred phone calls with a hundred people. You can’t do that, so you have to make some decisions.
[00:28:17] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.
Shaun: [00:28:22] Rework is produced by Wailin Wong and me, Shaun Hildner. Our theme music is Broken By Design by Clip Art.
Wailin: [00:28:29] You can find show notes for this episode at Rework.fm. You can also find us on Twitter @Reworkpodcast.
[00:28:49] What’s your favorite line from Sister Act?
Shaun: [00:28:51] I don’t remember any lines from Sister Act.
Wailin: [00:28:54] I don’t either and I told Kristin. I said, don’t tell Joan, but I don’t have a favorite part of Sister Act, and that’s when she was like, no one does! It’s a stumper.
Shaun: [00:29:04] How were you hired at Basecamp?
Wailin: [00:29:06] I was a reporter at the Chicago Tribune. I was on the business desk writing about the local technology scene and I had done a daily story about a new product Basecamp had just launched called Know Your Company. And I did a one-day story where I just called Jason on the phone and he told me about it. And the story came out and then Jason emailed me a little bit after that story ran and asked, do you freelance? And I was like, oh, that’s interesting? But the answer is no. The terms of my employment with the Tribune didn’t allow me to freelance. And certainly not for a company on my beat.
Shaun: [00:29:49] Right.
Wailin: [00:29:49] You know, if it—if it had been for something completely different like, maybe… you know? But certainly not in this case.
Shaun: [00:29:56] Someone you’re covering.
Wailin: [00:29:58] Yeah, someone I’m covering. And so, I wrote him back and told him that and offered to put him in touch with some freelance writers in town I knew. Anyway, that kicked off a bigger discussion wherein I learned that he was noodling around with the idea of launching this publication that would cover really old businesses. You know, as a contrast to business publications that only focus on start-ups.
Shaun: [00:30:22] I’ve heard of this publication.
Wailin: [00:30:24] Yeah. It’s… it eventually became known as TheDistance.com, which we turned into a podcast. But anyway, we had kind of exchanged emails and talked and I think I came in and met him for lunch and then met David for lunch when David happened to be in town. And that eventually turned into a job offer to come onboard to do The Distance.
Shaun: [00:30:47] I think we were both hired before any formalization of Basecamp’s hiring practices.
Wailin: [00:30:54] Yes. Although, didn’t you see an official job post? You at least had an official job ad you were responding to, right?
Shaun: [00:31:01] Oh, no, I responded to something on Twitter.
Wailin: [00:31:02] Really?
Shaun: [00:31:03] Mm-hmm.
Wailin: [00:31:04] What was the tweet?
Shaun: [00:31:06] “We’re looking for a video producer.”
Wailin: [00:31:07] Jason tweeted that? And then you tweeted back.
Shaun: [00:31:10] Uh-huh. I think he might have left his personal email address on there, because I sent him an email. Or maybe I had it from something else. I was the technical director on TEDxMidwest where Jason did his big talk about the time that Rework came out.
Wailin: [00:31:24] Oh, the one where he said why work doesn’t happen at work? That one?
Shaun: [00:31:28] Yep. And so I’d, like, met him through that. And then I don’t know, got in touch with Andrea and now here I am.
Wailin: [00:31:37] Didn’t you also have some, well not funny at the time, but funny in retrospect, hiccup with your application where like, none of the sound in your sample reel worked?
Shaun: [00:31:46] I had to make—the reel was fine. I think I got hired on the reel. Yeah, I had to make, like, a video. A sample video covering a business similar to The Distance, actually. And I covered my local comic book shop and lost all of the audio.
Wailin: [00:32:01] Nailed it.
Shaun: [00:32:01] So I had to use camera audio, and it sounded so awful. Oh well.
Wailin: [00:32:07] And now look at us.
Shaun: [00:32:09] And now, we’re here.
Wailin: [00:32:11] Doing…
Shaun: [00:32:11] And this is the end of the podcast.
Wailin: [00:32:11] …a podcast.