Our biggest blindspots as CEOs

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After collecting data from the past 2.5 years through Know Your Team, I’m sharing the most surprising things CEOs overlook… “What’s the hardest part about being a leader?” A few years ago, the Washington Post interviewed Peter Thiel, cofounder and former CEO of PayPal, and asked him this question. This was his response: “As CEO,… keep reading

Some of my favorite Kotlin features (that we use a lot in Basecamp)

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Team Android at Basecamp recently passed a fairly big milestone — over 25% of the Basecamp 3 Android app code base now runs on Kotlin! 🎉 Github statistics for the Basecamp 3 Android app as of 5/27/16. We’ve found that Kotlin not only makes our code much better, but massively increases programmer happiness. All of this ensures we’re… keep reading

How to make the most of your weird work schedule

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Illustration by Nate Otto I’m writing this on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Here in beautiful Berlin, most of my friends are enjoying a lazy start to the day, having returned from the club, bar or all-night pop-up kombucha stand just a few hours ago. Maybe some brunch, they’re thinking, followed by a stroll along the canal.… keep reading

Worker protections for office workers 🇫🇷👏

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Let’s hope it won’t take a revolution this time The French just banned companies with more than 50 people from sending their workers after-hour emails. Well, “ban” is a bit of a strong word for a law that carries no actual penalties and its enactors concede is based on voluntary compliance. Perhaps “strong signal” is a… keep reading

How Basecamp takes a feature from idea to completion

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This is a behind the scenes look at how we work at Basecamp. It is Part II of my article, Getting from ⭐️⭐️ to ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ In Part 1, I wrote about how we were unhappy with the App Store ratings of Basecamp 3. We were mostly getting reviews from people who had problems. The customer… keep reading

Mainstream precludes cool

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When Ruby on Rails emerged on the web development scene in 2004, it was undeniably cool. It brought a new vibe, a new look, a new approach, and plenty of novel ideas about the psychology, culture, and technology to the broader world of web development. It was hip hop assaulting airwaves dominated by techno. It… keep reading

Building on kindness

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Illustration by Nate Otto. DIY ✌🏽skills✌🏽 author’s own. Last week, everyone who works at Basecamp was asked if they had any home improvement tips. In the spirit of sharing the fruits of hard-earned experience, I confessed to my colleagues about the time I tried to hammer in a screw. Now, this is not a parable about… keep reading

Saving the last dance

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Illustration by Nate Otto Businesses that have been around for at least a quarter century, like the ones we feature on The Distance, often build relationships with their customers that last decades. But what happens when a business owner’s need to evolve and keep growing threatens to leave behind legacy customers? The newest episode of The… keep reading

Provide sharp knives

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Ruby includes a lot of sharp knives in its drawer of features. Not by accident, but by design. The most famous is monkey patching: The power to change existing classes and methods. This power has frequently been derided as simply too much for mere mortal programmers to handle. People from more restrictive environments used to… keep reading

“We only hire the best”

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How many times have you heard a company claim that they only hire the best? The top of the top. The crème de la crème. Most of them, by sheer necessity of math, are delusional. There just aren’t that many “the best” to go around. What these companies generally mean is that they hired “the… keep reading