A lot of businesses start as side ventures or hobbies that grow into full-time pursuits. The trick is often in knowing when to quit a comfortable day job to start a new business. We sit down with one of our own at this crossroads. Noah Lorang headed Basecamp’s data team for the last eight years, and now he’s the sole proprietor of a woodworking shop that makes topographical maps. In this episode, Noah talks about how he made his hobby into a viable business, what Basecamp taught him about entrepreneurship, and what he gets from carving wooden maps that he doesn’t get from writing code. Thanks for all the camaraderie, data analysis, and puns, Noah! We’ll miss you.
Also, if you’d like to be Basecamp’s new data analyst, check out the job listing! We’re taking applications until October 12.
👉🏼🎙 Is this thing on? We’re back from sabbatical! In our first post-hiatus episode, Shaun heads to Denver to visit his sister, who left a catering job at a big restaurant chain to run a coffee shop out of a Volkswagen Bus that she bought on impulse off Craigslist. Erika Hildner shares what she’s learned as a first-time business owner about risk-taking, customer service, and using common sense.
Smell ya later! We here at the Rework podcast are taking off the month of August. Before we left, we interviewed three business owners about sabbaticals. In this episode: Adeline Koh of Sabbatical Beauty shares the story of how she ended up starting a business while on leave from a different job; Jason Fried explains why Basecamp offers paid sabbaticals as an employee benefit; and Rachel Winard of Soapwalla talks about what it’s like to go on sabbatical when you’re the boss.
We’ll be back in September with all-new episodes of Rework! In the meantime, you can catch up on episodes you missed at rework.fm or peruse the archives of our previous podcast, The Distance.
One of our colleagues on the Basecamp customer support team, Jayne Ogilvie, wanted to find out how other tech companies with remote staffs handle issues like communication, career development, and hiring. Jayne sent out a survey and got back a wealth of information and ideas about how other teams work together. In this episode of Rework, we hear more from two participating companies: Sarah Park of MeetEdgar talks about how their staff gathers internal feedback on important decisions, and Patrick Filler and Anitra St. Hilaire of Harvest talk about taking on the challenge of making their company more diverse and inclusive.
Next week, we’ll release a bonus conversation with Sarah Park about MeetEdgar’s culture of transparency and open meetings. Make sure you’re subscribed via Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, RadioPublic, or the app of your choice so you don’t miss it!
A famous guy once said, “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!” But he was a grifter. In fact, going behind the scenes — whether it’s a factory tour or cooking show — can be a valuable experience for both visitors and guides. In this episode, we crash a middle school field trip to the Method soap factory on Chicago’s South Side. We also hear from Basecamp’s CEO Jason Fried on his YouTube series on making design decisions and from the managing partners of Zingerman’s Bakehouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan on why they don’t believe in secrets.
If you leave a comment, be sure to tell us whether you prefer yeast or cake donuts!
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.
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 get that it’s going to be inconvenient — maybe even quite hard — but there may not be an alternative here.
I got hooked on Ask A Manager with this post, but I’m a relative latecomer to the party. Alison’s been dispensing workplace wisdom for a decade now and today she launches a new book that provides practical advice for how to talk to managers, employees, and coworkers about a huge range of topics, from asking for raises or promotions to handling awkward social situations at the office. On the latest episode of Rework, I interview Alison about how she became an advice columnist, how she’s cultivated a community of surprisingly nice commenters, memorable letters (like the ghosting ex), and more.
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 and four square. Ruder played Spikeball as a child and later revived the brand after it had become obsolete.
Joe Moore of First Defense Nasal Screens, which patented an adhesive filter that sticks on top of the nostrils to prevent allergens from entering the body.
A friendly reminder that we are collecting your workplace communication questions for Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson. If you’re seeking advice on how to talk to your boss, your employee, or a colleague, leave us a voicemail at (708) 628–7850 or email us at email@example.com.