Jason Fried: lessons learned building Basecamp

An interesting speech on the IT conversations podcast from the O’Reilly Emerging Technology conference from Jason Fried, the founder of 37 Signals. He explains what he’s learned while creating the Basecamp application (web-based project management).
For instance: his 5 criteria for hiring people in small teams. They have to be …

  • positive and enthusiastic (“I’ll take someone who’s happy and average, over someone who’s a guru but is disgruntled and frustrated”
  • well rounded: people that can do multiple things, not just one
  • quick learners: people who can figure out what something new is about
  • trustworthy: you can trust them to find a solution, you don’t need to clean up after them
  • good writers: people communicate through email/messenger more than verbally

His 4 key points:

  1. watch out for inertia: you need to be able to change quickly, so watch out for locking yourself in (long term contracts, hardware/software choices) 
  2. embrace constraints: limited time, limited people, limited funding, they make you creative (“spending money should be the hardest thing you ever do”)
  3. get real: start building from the interface, start with minimal features, allow for making errors online, admit them and fix them
  4. manage your debt: if you create debt (financial or by careless hacking, bad coding), fix it sooner than later

He has well-defined interesting ideas: “Every decision is temporary“, “Perpetual Beta is nonsense“, …
Definitely worth a listen: Jason Fried @ IT Conversations


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.