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the little trade-offs – signal v. noise

i was running a leadership training a few months ago, when a ceo said this to me…“i think i know why it’s so easy to become a bad manager, even when we don’t mean to be: it’s because of the little trade-offs.”i nodded and smiled. i knew exactly what he meant by “the little trade-offs.” i’d made so many myself as a leader, across my own career.the little trade-offs are the moments when we succumb to what feels most pressing in front of us, at the expense of what our company needs down the road to be successful. we swap “the thing that will help the team in the long-run” for “the thing that needs to be done right now.”as a leader, we make a dozen of these little trade-offs every week (if not every day!) we negotiate in our heads: “i need to finish this critical pr...





the little trade-offs – signal v. noise

i was running a leadership training a few months ago, when a ceo said this to me…“i think i know why it’s so easy to become a bad manager, even when we don’t mean to be: it’s because of the little trade-offs.”i nodded and smiled. i knew exactly what he meant by “the little trade-offs.” i’d made so many myself as a leader, across my own career.the little trade-offs are the moments when we succumb to what feels most pressing in front of us, at the expense of what our company needs down the road to be successful. we swap “the thing that will help the team in the long-run” for “the thing that needs to be done right now.”as a leader, we make a dozen of these little trade-offs every week (if not every day!) we negotiate in our heads: “i need to finish this critical pr...





an all-new way to show your support in basecamp

with all of these ideas in mind, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a fresh new approach that’s never been done before. we’re calling it boosts, and it’s way better than all of those crummy digital grunts.here’s how you boost something in basecamp.in various places in basecamp, you’ll see a new rocket icon:boost button!click that, and it’ll morph into a small text field.a field in which to boostyou’ll notice there are no predetermined options or smiley face buttons to choose from. that’s on purpose. you have to make it up yourself!add some emoji or write a tiny text note, up to 16 charactersmax. then click the green check mark to save your boost (or the red x to cancel.)you can add more than one boost if you want, and they’ll collect into a little bundle ...





conceptual compression means beginners don’t need to know sql — hallelujah!

it used to be a fundamental requirement that you learned an extensive amount of sql before you were able to start working on database-backed applications. it was taken as self-evident that you needed to speak the native language of the database before you were qualified to use it. and better yet, you really ought to understand and care about your particular brand of database engine.this is no longer so. that fact has snuck up upon us, but it’s none the less true — and that’s amazing.through advances in leaky abstractions, we’ve managed to compress the conceptual overhead of the database so much that it needn’t feature in the introduction material for making database-backed applications. in rails, we call that abstraction active record, and it falls into the category of object...





an all-new way to show your support in basecamp

with all of these ideas in mind, we went back to the drawing board and came up with a fresh new approach that’s never been done before. we’re calling it boosts, and it’s way better than all of those crummy digital grunts.here’s how you boost something in basecamp.in various places in basecamp, you’ll see a new rocket icon:boost button!click that, and it’ll morph into a small text field.a field in which to boostyou’ll notice there are no predetermined options or smiley face buttons to choose from. that’s on purpose. you have to make it up yourself!add some emoji or write a tiny text note, up to 16 charactersmax. then click the green check mark to save your boost (or the red x to cancel.)you can add more than one boost if you want, and they’ll collect into a little bundle ...





mind the gap – signal v. noise

this morning something happened that reminded me of an important lesson re: time well spent.three of us are working on an illustration project for our forthcoming book, “it doesn’t have to be crazy at work”. in our previous books, we had an illustration per essay. this time we’re going in a different direction. rather than an illustration per essay, we’re aiming for ~15 full page spreads spaced evenly throughout the book.we’re going to be illustrating historical and contemporary figures with work methods that line up with our point of view on work. people who’ve done big important things without pulling all nighters, working crazy hours, or forgoing leisure for the eternal hustle.here’s an early example of a spread:we like the direction, and so does our publisher. we’re g...





someone’s underperforming. now what? – signal v. noise

someone’s slipping. you see it. you feel it. you’re not on the same page. you desperately want to pull the person up, but you’re not sure exactly how. do you encourage them? switch them off the project? change how you’re leading them?you’re now facing one of the toughest tasks as a leader: how do you manage underperformance at work? and more specifically, how do you sit down and talk about their underperformance with them, during a one-on-one meeting with her or him?it’s tempting to look outward first. to blame the person herself or extenuating circumstances. “they don’t pay attention to detail.” or, “the client is being unreasonable with them.”while those may very well be the case, you should also turn inward. as leaders, when an employee is underperforming, we must ...





how well do you know yourself? – signal v. noise

a few months ago, i asked ben congleton, ceo of olark, what he wished he’d learned earlier as a leader. no, he didn’t mention learning a new business development hack, nor did he talk about the importance of hiring well. rather, what ben wishes he’d learned earlier was how to improve his self-awareness as a leader.self-awareness, really? after considering it for a moment, i caught myself nodding vigorously at his answer. how true!in my head, i recalled all the moments i’ve personally lacked self-awareness as a leader: when i micromanaged someone yet had no idea, when i argued against a new idea because of my own bias… the list goes on. each time, i’d shot myself in the foot.the more i thought about it, the more i realized: self-awareness at work just might be the most underrate...





highrise is back with basecamp – signal v. noise

welcome home!in 2014, highrise was spun off as a separate (but wholly-owned) company from basecamp. last year it celebrated its tenth anniversary in business. and this year it’s moving back in with basecamp.in some ways, it’s like it never left. while highrise operated as an independent company under nathan kontny as ceo, basecamp’s technical operations team continued to run servers and systems. our support team still has a lot of people who used to answer customers when highrise was a direct part of our suite of products. and almost all the members of the original product team for highrise are still with basecamp.in other ways, this is indeed a change. nathan kontny had built a team of seven to lead new development, and they made a lot of improvements over the years. we want to than...





someone’s underperforming. now what? – signal v. noise

someone’s slipping. you see it. you feel it. you’re not on the same page. you desperately want to pull the person up, but you’re not sure exactly how. do you encourage them? switch them off the project? change how you’re leading them?you’re now facing one of the toughest tasks as a leader: how do you manage underperformance at work? and more specifically, how do you sit down and talk about their underperformance with them, during a one-on-one meeting with her or him?it’s tempting to look outward first. to blame the person herself or extenuating circumstances. “they don’t pay attention to detail.” or, “the client is being unreasonable with them.”while those may very well be the case, you should also turn inward. as leaders, when an employee is underperforming, we must ...





life after shark tank – signal v. noise

the abc show shark tank is irresistible reality programming: entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of famous investors and have the potential to make a life-changing deal. but as with any reality show, there’s much more to the shark tank experience than what gets shown on tv. in the new episode of the rework podcast, we talk to three business owners about what it was really like to go on the program — and what happened afterward, when they had to get back to the very real work of building their companies.this episode features:melissa butler of the lip bar, a company that makes vegan and cruelty-free lipstick in vibrant shades that work on a broad range of skin tones. watch a clip of their episode.chris ruder of spikeball, the maker of a game that’s a mix of volleyball a...





highrise is back with basecamp – signal v. noise

welcome home!in 2014, highrise was spun off as a separate (but wholly-owned) company from basecamp. last year it celebrated its tenth anniversary in business. and this year it’s moving back in with basecamp.in some ways, it’s like it never left. while highrise operated as an independent company under nathan kontny as ceo, basecamp’s technical operations team continued to run servers and systems. our support team still has a lot of people who used to answer customers when highrise was a direct part of our suite of products. and almost all the members of the original product team for highrise are still with basecamp.in other ways, this is indeed a change. nathan kontny had built a team of seven to lead new development, and they made a lot of improvements over the years. we want to than...





death to process machines! – signal v. noise

you hear a ton of different advice on the right and wrong way to go about designing an app or website.“you should be using sketch.”“design systems or gtfo.”“real designers design 100% in code.”“wireframes are a waste of time.”“if you’re not making prototypes, you’re not doing it right.”“you need to start on paper.”you’d think there’s no agreement whatsoever about the right way to design, but there’s one point that’s largely free of controversy — that your process should be linear.the classic linear approach looks something like this: research → sketch → wireframe → static comps → prototype → codeit’s kind of like those rube goldberg-esque manufacturing machines they use to make doritos and ding-dongs. drop an idea into the process mach...





death to process machines! – signal v. noise

you hear a ton of different advice on the right and wrong way to go about designing an app or website.“you should be using sketch.”“design systems or gtfo.”“real designers design 100% in code.”“wireframes are a waste of time.”“if you’re not making prototypes, you’re not doing it right.”“you need to start on paper.”you’d think there’s no agreement whatsoever about the right way to design, but there’s one point that’s largely free of controversy — that your process should be linear.the classic linear approach looks something like this: research → sketch → wireframe → static comps → prototype → codeit’s kind of like those rube goldberg-esque manufacturing machines they use to make doritos and ding-dongs. drop an idea into the process mach...





life after shark tank – signal v. noise

the abc show shark tank is irresistible reality programming: entrepreneurs pitch their businesses to a panel of famous investors and have the potential to make a life-changing deal. but as with any reality show, there’s much more to the shark tank experience than what gets shown on tv. in the new episode of the rework podcast, we talk to three business owners about what it was really like to go on the program — and what happened afterward, when they had to get back to the very real work of building their companies.this episode features:melissa butler of the lip bar, a company that makes vegan and cruelty-free lipstick in vibrant shades that work on a broad range of skin tones. watch a clip of their episode.chris ruder of spikeball, the maker of a game that’s a mix of volleyball a...





a brand new way to work with clients in basecamp 3

when we launched basecamp 3, we introduced a new way for client services firms to work with their clients. we called it the clientside. it was an entirely separate part of a basecamp project where all client-facing communications lived. essentially, it was a mini project within a project — a distinct space with separate tools and a different interface.conceptually it made sense, but practically it was inflexible and not collaborative enough. it worked well for some people, but it missed the mark for far more. we fell short of what we hoped we’d be able to create.so we put our heads together and spent a couple months working on a complete revamp. today we’re introducing something better.introducing clients in basecamp!starting today, not only can you send messages to clients, but ...





a brand new way to work with clients in basecamp 3

when we launched basecamp 3, we introduced a new way for client services firms to work with their clients. we called it the clientside. it was an entirely separate part of a basecamp project where all client-facing communications lived. essentially, it was a mini project within a project — a distinct space with separate tools and a different interface.conceptually it made sense, but practically it was inflexible and not collaborative enough. it worked well for some people, but it missed the mark for far more. we fell short of what we hoped we’d be able to create.so we put our heads together and spent a couple months working on a complete revamp. today we’re introducing something better.introducing clients in basecamp!starting today, not only can you send messages to clients, but ...





someone’s underperforming. now what? – signal v. noise

someone’s slipping. you see it. you feel it. you’re not on the same page. you desperately want to pull the person up, but you’re not sure exactly how. do you encourage them? switch them off the project? change how you’re leading them?you’re now facing one of the toughest tasks as a leader: how do you manage underperformance at work? and more specifically, how do you sit down and talk about their underperformance with them, during a one-on-one meeting with her or him?it’s tempting to look outward first. to blame the person herself or extenuating circumstances. “they don’t pay attention to detail.” or, “the client is being unreasonable with them.”while those may very well be the case, you should also turn inward. as leaders, when an employee is underperforming, we must ...





a brand new way to work with clients in basecamp 3

when we launched basecamp 3, we introduced a new way for client services firms to work with their clients. we called it the clientside. it was an entirely separate part of a basecamp project where all client-facing communications lived. essentially, it was a mini project with a project — a distinct space with separate tools and a different interface.conceptually it made sense, but practically it was inflexible and not collaborative enough. it worked well for some people, but it missed the mark for far more. we fell short of what we hoped we’d be able to create.so we put our heads together and spent a couple months working on a complete revamp. today we’re introducing something better.introducing clients in basecamp!starting today, not only can you send messages to clients, but no...





what’s new in basecamp 3.9 for ios – signal v. noise

find tab improvements ????the find tab now lets you quickly jump to anything you recently viewed without having to type a word! when you open find, you’ll see your most recently visited pages, making it super easy to quickly get back to something you were viewing. or start typing to instantly search in place for anything in your basecamp account. you can also use advanced filters to define even more specific search terms. go forth and find!new project and team pages ⚡️the old project and team pages were… slow. we decided to speed them up, as well as feature your team’s latest activity more prominently with this new design. instead of nearly identical cards for each tool, you’ll see a unique icon in a bright color, making them easier to recognize. each icon also has a bit of da...