Basecamp – I have my eyes on you

There is this absolutely fantastic company that I have been obsessing about for the past week. The more I read about them, the more fascinating they get. I’ve been talking about them to my team, people from other teams, people outside of work and everyone around. If you’ve heard about Ruby on Rails, 37signals or Jason Fried – you know who I am talking about. (Actually, if you have read the title, you know which company I am referring to.)

There are innumerable things that I love about this company. It began with their obsession to stay small. For all of my working life, scalability has always been a factor in designing anything. My usual response to any idea was this – ‘Ok. That sounds good. Is it scalable?’ And that has been because groups around me have always scaled to at least the limit of Dunbar’s number if not beyond. When on 5th February 2014, 37signals made an announcement that they were going to focus on one thing and Basecamp alone, I knew that this was a company I’d like to watch. I did not write about them then but when I sat down to think about the topic of my 100th post, I knew that it was high time.

Rapid expansion, spreading themselves too thin at 43 employees was at odds with their culture. They made two simple decisions back in 2014 – to focus on Basecamp and to stay small enough so that everyone knows everyone’s name. They believed in functioning differently and how!

There are two more things I want to talk about before I stop. I don’t want the post to be over 2 pages long (though I am very very tempted). Firstly, ‘Work can wait’. This is what got Basecamp back into focus for me. Not only do they understand and implement the concept, they added it into Basecamp 3. I could do an entire post on the pressure of being reachable all the time and the bane of a connected world, but I’d rather direct you here.

Which brings me to the second – Signal v Noise. This blog is a treasure trove. At first look, it might be mistaken for a tech blog but you’re wrong. You can learn a lot about business and how to manage people.

So go take a look and get obsessed. Happy reading!


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