In a world where scaling fast and exponential growth are the watchwords, Jason Fried pushes against the rushing tide. As the co-founder and CEO of Basecamp, he has committed for 18 years running to building his business in a calm, measured, and profitable manner.
Jason is also the co-author of numerous bestselling books. We spoke as he was writing his latest, The Calm Company, a testament to the power of a slow and steady approach in the workplace.
Key takeaways from the interview:
- Why the “expectation of immediate response” has been the most momentous change in the way we work over the past 20 years
- How to set boundaries and put “hard edges” in your day so that you can leave work at a reasonable hour
- Why real-time conversations distract us (hint: they feed your ego), and how to shut them down in favor of more considered, thoughtful debate
- How Basecamp breaks its workflow into 6-week cycles, and why short timelines keep team members motivated, engaged, and focused
- Why you should consider ditching technologies like the “shared calendar” which could be doing your business more harm than good
- How you can push back against an over-demanding boss who is trying to usurp your time outside of work
“Eight hours a day is plenty of time to get great work done if you have 8 hours a day to do that work. The problem is when you have an 8-hour day but you only have 2 hours to yourself. And those 2 hours are made up of eight 15-minute chunks. It doesn’t work. There’s not enough time.”
“If you don’t have your own time, then you have no control of your day. And if you have no control of your day then you end up working longer than you should.”
“We think about how much time we put into work, but it’s valuable to consider how much time we put into life.”
For those who want to take a deep dive, here are all the books, blog posts, and ideas that Jason and I mention during our conversation:
- The idea behind Jason’s new book The Calm Company
- A detailed breakdown of Basecamp’s 6-week work cycle
- Description of Basecamp’s “work can wait” feature
- Details on France’s “right to disconnect” email legislation
- Adam Grant interviews filmmaker Christopher Nolan
- Jeff Bezos’ shareholder letter and the idea of “disagree and commit”
- Louis Hyde’s book The Gift and the rhythms of creative labor
- Thoughts on the calendar as the new battle ground
- Basecamp’s problem avoidance strategy
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