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the owner’s word weighs a ton – signal v. noise

yesterday i was in a board meeting for a company i advise. great group, strong business, profitable, all the good stuff. but the owner-ceo was stuck. he felt like he’d laid out a pretty clear vision and direction, but people’s priorities kept shifting. this thing was important, then all the sudden it was this other thing. lots of bouncing around, not quite enough focus. he didn’t know what was causing it, but it turns out it was him. but how?we dug into it. as we went, i recognized the problem.as much as we’d like to pretend we’re just one of the crew, the owner is the owner. and when the owner makes a suggestion, that suggestion can easily become high priority. it’s rarely what the owner intends, but it’s often how it’s received. when the person who signs your check says t...





see where projects really stand with the hill chart

for years we’ve used basecamp to-dos to track all of our design and programming work here at basecamp. they help us make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.however, for some projects, tracking to-dos isn’t enough. when you have dozens or hundreds of tasks, you need a way to see the bigger picture. is the project going to be done on time? are we making progress on the right tasks? which things need to be solved now and what can be deferred until later?to solve this problem, we built an entirely new idea into basecamp to-dos. it’s a 10,000-foot view of our projects that answers the hard questions about where things really stand.introducing the hill chart.progress is not a number“42% of the tasks are complete.” what does that tell you? very little.for creative work and soft...





what’s new in basecamp 3.9.3 for ios – signal v. noise

thanks for using basecamp!as always, please keep suggestions, feedback, and bug reports coming our way. if you’re interesting in seeing new features before everyone else, we have a few openings left in our private beta. send us an email and we’ll get you invited.❤️???? the ios team at basecamp, tara mann, dylan ginsburg, zach waugh, and me.





you need less than you think – signal v. noise

the first farmer’s fridge in chicago (photo from farmer’s fridge instagram)who needs a fancy office when you can work out of a dingy food court? who needs fancy equipment when you can buy what you need at walmart? who needs to hire an seo specialist? what does an seo specialist do, anyway? (a question for another episode, or maybe another podcast altogether.) on this episode of rework, three very different companies — a fashion brand, a company that sells fresh salads from vending machines, and an auto detailing shop — discuss their humble beginnings and offer practical advice about being resourceful and staying lean.





see where projects really stand with the hill chart

for years we’ve used basecamp to-dos to track all of our design and programming work here at basecamp. they help us make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.however, for some projects, tracking to-dos isn’t enough. when you have dozens or hundreds of tasks, you need a way to see the bigger picture. is the project going to be done on time? are we making progress on the right tasks? which things need to be solved now and what can be deferred until later?to solve this problem, we built an entirely new idea into basecamp to-dos. it’s a 10,000-foot view of our projects that answers the hard questions about where things really stand.introducing the hill chart.progress is not a number“42% of the tasks are complete.” what does that tell you? very little.for creative work and soft...





reflecting on five years at basecamp – signal v. noise

back when i was a kid, they called this place 37signals. ????????????this week i celebrated my fifth year around the sun at basecamp. for a lot of people that’s probably not a big deal, but for me it kind of is — it’s by far the longest i’ve ever been at any one job (my previous record was ~3 years).that got me wondering — what’s so different this time around that made it stick? i eventually realized it basically came down to this:i’m happy at basecamp because every day i’m in a position to ship the best work that i can.i admit that’s a rather generic statement, and pretty much every company in the world tries (or claims) to do the same. so what does basecamp do that works so well for me?now before we get into the specifics, let me just say that this post isn’t ...





see where projects really stand with the hill chart

for years we’ve used basecamp to-dos to track all of our design and programming work here at basecamp. they help us make sure that nothing slips through the cracks.however, for some projects, tracking to-dos isn’t enough. when you have dozens or hundreds of tasks, you need a way to see the bigger picture. is the project going to be done on time? are we making progress on the right tasks? which things need to be solved now and what can be deferred until later?to solve this problem, we built an entirely new idea into basecamp to-dos. it’s a 10,000-foot view of our projects that answers the hard questions about where things really stand.introducing the hill chart.progress is not a number“42% of the tasks are complete.” what does that tell you? very little.for creative work and soft...





what’s the best use of a leader’s time? – signal v. noise

time is the one constant we are all given. no one gets more or less of it than anyone else.as leaders, it’s how we spend our time — what we choose to prioritize, and what we choose not to do at all — that reveals what’s important to us, and determines our team’s outcomes. if we want to figure out how to be an effective leader in the workplace, we must start with examining how we spend our time.as a ceo myself, i’ve personally wrestled with this. i’ve had weeks where i’ve had fires to put out, meetings to show up to, business development calls to make, interviews to hold… before i know it, the week is over, and i’m looking back at it thinking, “what the hell just happened? where did my week go? is that really where i wanted to spend my time?”as a result, i de...





protect your basecamp login with google’s two-factor authentication

using sms as a second security factor for signing into web applications is no longer recommended by security experts. therefore we will be ending our homegrown sms verification program on july 2nd, 2018, and switching to google’s state-of-the-art two-factor authentication (2fa) system.moving forward, if you want to secure your basecamp account with 2fa, you’ll need to log into basecamp using a google sign-in. you can use google sign-in with 2fa through their own authentication app, 1password (we love those guys!), or the gold standard of a physical yubikey.how to switch to google sign-in with 2fa for basecamp:it’s never been more important to take serious precautions to guard your security online. hacks are common, and failing to protect your online accounts with a second factor make...





but wait, there’s more! – signal v. noise

do you struggle with finding the right podcast? are you tired of true crime shows and hosts trying to sell you a mattress? introducing rework, a podcast that’s free of both murder and midroll ads. when you listen to this episode of rework, you’ll learn the fascinating history of infomercials and hear sales tips from experts like the marketing guru who made the thighmaster a ’90s sensation. but wait, there’s more! stick around after the episode to hear wailin explain the premise of three’s company to shaun. subscribe to rework today!





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 ...





the owner’s word weighs a ton – signal v. noise

yesterday i was in a board meeting for a company i advise. great group, strong business, profitable, all the good stuff. but the owner-ceo was stuck. he felt like he’d laid out a pretty clear vision and direction, but people’s priorities kept shifting. this thing was important, then all the sudden it was this other thing. lots of bouncing around, not quite enough focus. he didn’t know what was causing it, but it turns out it was him. but how?we dug into it. as we went, i recognized the problem.as much as we’d like to pretend we’re just one of the crew, the owner is the owner. and when the owner makes a suggestion, that suggestion can easily become high priority. it’s rarely what the owner intends, but it’s often how it’s received. when the person who signs your check says t...





the owner’s word weighs a ton – signal v. noise

yesterday i was in a board meeting for a company i advise. great group, strong business, profitable, all the good stuff. but the owner-ceo was stuck. he felt like he’d laid out a pretty clear vision and direction, but people’s priorities kept shifting. this thing was important, then all the sudden it was this other thing. lots of bouncing around, not quite enough focus. he didn’t know what was causing it.we dug into it. as we went, i recognized the problem.as much as we’d like to pretend we’re just one of the crew, the owner is the owner. and when the owner makes a suggestion, that suggestion can easily become high priority. it’s rarely what the owner intends, but it’s often how it’s received. when the person who signs your check says this or that, this or that can quickly ...





the owner’s word weighs a ton – signal v. noise

yesterday i was in a board meeting for a company i advise. great group, strong business, profitable, all the good stuff. but the owner-ceo was stuck. he felt like he’d laid out a pretty clear vision and direction, but people’s priorities kept shifting. this thing was important, then all the sudden it was this other thing. lots of bouncing around, not quite enough focus. he didn’t know what was causing it.we dug into it. as we went, i recognized the problem.as much as we’d like to pretend we’re just one of the crew, the owner is the owner. and when the owner makes a suggestion, that suggestion can easily become high priority. it’s rarely what the owner intends, but it’s often how it’s received. when the person who signs your check says this or that, this or that can quickly ...





opening the rework mailbag – signal v. noise

lc is a business owner now. call us, lc!we have another mailbag episode, where jason fried and david heinemeier hansson answer listener questions. in this installment, they tackle questions about workplace communication and remote working. alison green of ask a manager, whom we featured in our previous episode, gives her advice on a couple of questions too.you can listen to previous mailbag installments here and here. if you’d like a question answered on a future episode, leave us a voicemail at 708-628-7850 or email us at [email protected]





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...





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...





ask a manager – signal v. noise

last summer, my little corner of the internet blew up with a post on ask a manager, a workplace advice column by alison green. the letter writer said that 10 years ago, he’d ghosted on his girlfriend of three years. while she was visiting her family, he moved out—not just of the home they shared together, but of the entire country—without so much as a post-it note. and then, as karma would have it, he learned that his ex-girlfriend was about to become his new boss. oof. alison responded with her trademark thoughtfulness and honesty:i don’t know that you can salvage this! it’s not reasonable to ask sylvia to manage someone who she has this history with. you can try and see what her take on it is, but i’d be prepared to have to move on, whatever that might look like for you. i ge...





heyyy … improved hey! in basecamp 3 for android – signal v. noise

there’s a new hey! screen design in basecamp 3 for android. hey! is already pretty good on desktop and web. currently you get a chronological list of unread campfires you’re following and discussions you’re part of.on mobile, however, you’re probably peeking in for a quick summary of what’s new. hey! should help you prioritize what’s important at that moment. a better design can save time.here’s how the current android hey! and this new design compare:the new design (right) makes hey! easier to parse and prioritize.✨ what we improvedshow me my pings. excerpts from unread ping conversations are now shown at the top of the hey! screen. if you have more than one unread ping conversation they’ll be grouped together. you’ll see all your new pings in one place. note: all pin...





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...