Not Your Typical Internet Firm and Huge Lessons For Every Color

Basecamp is a software company for client service businesses. But this is not your typical Green software company culture. Just read their mission statement: “Have fun, do exceptional work, build the best product in the business, experiment, pay attention to details, treat people right, tell the truth, have a positive impact on the world around us, give back, and keep learning.”

Wow. This definitely seems to be a company for all Colors! It gets even better, with lessons for all of us from CEO Jason Fried in a recent podcast interview (on Recode Decode with Kara Swisher) taking about his new book: It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.

We work all day, but we’re actually in meetings all day. You might work eight hours a day, but at most, you have a few 15 minute blocks to actually focus on something. If you don’t have a full eight hours where you control your day, something’s wrong. We don’t have meetings and others don’t get to book your time! They can call you to schedule a meeting, but they can’t see or access your time. It should be hard to get someone’s time! You can’t do great work when you don’t even own your own time. Companies all claim that time is money. But they don’t leave money laying around on the table but they let everyone take everyone else’s time. It’s valuable. You should ask and make your case and not just be able to grab it.

The expectation of immediate responses is a totally broken system. Everyone is trained to make everything “now.” There’s no emergency and there’s no hurry – it’s fake and it’s just a cultural thing.

There are far too many inter-dependancies in companies and departments. Teams should be three people max. When they’re pretty independent you won’t have to wait around for others to do their part. In our company we have JOMO. The Joy Of Missing Out. Focus on your work – you don’t need to be involved in a million other things… Tech fertilizes that and it grows into a horrible monster that grinds real achievement to a halt.

Sometimes best practices are worst practices. Everyone seems to want to adapt that concept from another company without having any idea of how they implemented it or make it work. “They” do it this way, so we need to change things around to implement that…in a herd mentality. If you’re a company of 10 people, you’re going to adopt to what Apple does? They have 20,000 people!