Basecamp is hiring a Head of Marketing

For the past 20 years, we’ve been passive marketers with a little m.

We speak at conferences and on podcasts, we write books (REWORK, REMOTE, It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work), we share our point of view on thousands of blog posts, we invented a framework (Ruby on Rails) that changed an industry, and we make products that redefine their categories (Basecamp, Highrise, etc.). And right now we’re working on something new that’s going to surprise people.

We’ve gotten by on strength of product, cult of personality, a unique point of view, running against the wind, and incredibly generous word-of-mouth promotion from our customers. We’re fortunate it’s been working. 20 profitable years in business is the proof. We’re naturally proud of that.

But we feel like we’ve begun to saturate our natural sphere of influence, our current reach. Passive marketing can only get us so far, and we have a desire to go further. Today, if we’re in the mix, it’s by chance, not choice. And because of that, we feel a bit invisible outside of those who know us already.

And it’s no surprise: We haven’t really advertised. Or made it easy for new people to find us online. Lately we haven’t explained our brand particularly well. Or thought much about how we’re perceived in the modern market. We don’t show up in places where potential customers hang out, and we haven’t gone far enough supporting and sponsoring events and like-minded organizations. Basically, we’ve never deliberately focused on actively getting the word out, making sure our brand is positioned properly in the market, or meeting customers where they are.

We lack a Marketing strategy with a capital M. It’s time to change that.

Moving forward, we want to be intentional about creating awareness (how do we introduce Basecamp to people who don’t know us?), prompting consideration (how do we get people who need a product like ours to consider us for purchase?), and driving conversion (how do we get people who are considering Basecamp to sign up, pay us, and start using our products?).

So, for the first time, we’re ready to hire someone to lead that charge and own that responsibility. We’re looking for our first Head of Marketing.

How’s that challenge sound to you?

ABOUT THE JOB AND THE WORK
Fundamentally, this job is about developing and executing a broad strategy to bring more people to the front of the funnel by increasing awareness and interest outside of what we’ve already built. We’re not looking for somebody to spend time on email drip campaigns or improving onboarding. While important, this role is much broader than that. This also isn’t a job for self-described growth hackers.

This is a role for someone who knows how to mix a wild idea with a practical pitch. Someone who’s eager (but not annoyingly so) to pick up the phone and negotiate a major partnership deal. Someone who has an eye for talent, a nose for bullshit, ears close to the ground, and the creative mind of a conductor. Someone who’s previously managed large spends and helped a brand transition through a similar process. Someone who recognizes an opportunity when they see one, but knows how to steer clear of high effort low reward mirages. You see things other people miss, and you know how to put leverage to good use.

And while we’ll support your strategy with a multimillion dollar budget and creative support from the CEO, you’ll start this process without a dedicated internal team. While we have designers, writers, and a data analyst occasionally available to assist, we don’t have a marketing department or spare staff focused on everything you’ll need to get done. This means you’ll initially be expected to identify, vet, choose, and manage external vendors or agencies to help pull off your plan. Building an in-house team is something we’ll discuss down the road.

While some may see this as a disadvantage, we think it’s a big opportunity. You’ll be able to pull in the best agencies, freelancers, shops, and creative specialists to help pull off the plan. You’ll bring us creative ideas we’ve never considered in the past. You’ll challenge our thinking and help us see ourselves in a new light.

In addition to big picture strategy, you’ll focus on practical day-to-day work like fielding sponsorship opportunities that come our way. Keeping an eye on analytics. Reaching out to groups, organizations, movements, events, and other brands we should be partnering with. You’ll also be expected to regularly detail progress, setbacks, and marketing insights for the whole company.

We’re aware that at many companies, this is a multi-person position. Someone focused on the marketing strategy. Someone else focused on brand. Someone else focused on partnerships and sponsorships. And so on. We’re not expecting a herculean marketing turnaround with a single person at the start, but we absolutely believe the right person   can point us in the right direction, guide us, come up with campaigns, be resourceful enough to get them produced, manage the process, study the results, course correct, revamp, and try more things. We know someone has to own this, or we’ll end up where we are today.

Bottom-line, this is an impact position. In time, the business should look better with you on board.  A clear case of before and after. You’ll help us be noticed, be seen, and be found. We should also feel better about ourselves with you around. This is a big responsibility and we are here to support you, cheer you on, and make it happen. We’ve talked about having someone like you on board for years, and now we’re finally ready.

ABOUT YOU
You’re creative. You’re organized. You’re experienced. You’ve done this before. You want to do it again. You absolutely want to do it for us.

We value people who can take a stand yet commit even when they disagree. We’ll often subject ideas to rigorous debate, so you’ll need to stand up for what you believe, but we remember that we’re here for the same purpose: to do good work together. Charging the trust battery is part of the work.

Yes, you’ll need to learn how we work at Basecamp, but we’re also looking for someone to teach us how to work. And once we’ve figured that out, be able to share that story with the world. We should tell the story of how we changed our approach to marketing.

We’re not looking for a superhero who thinks sheer hours = good work. Excess doesn’t impress us – creativity and efficiency does. You’ll have 8 hours a day to work, and, we hope, at least 8 hours a night to sleep. What you do with the other 8 is up to you, never to us. You’ll report directly to the CEO.

ABOUT OUR PAY AND BENEFITS
The starting salary for this position is $181,000. You can read about how we set salaries here.

Our benefits are all aimed at supporting a life well lived away from work. None are about trapping people at the office or cajoling them into endless overtime. Just the opposite. We’re all about reasonable working hours, ample vacation time, summer hours, fitness, wellness, food, education, and charity. See our full list of benefits here. In fact, if you’d like you can browse the entire employee handbook as well.

Basecamp is a remote-work company so you can be anywhere, but you’ll need at least 4 hours of overlap with Chicago time in your normal work-day routine.

We strongly encourage candidates of all different backgrounds and identities to apply. Each new hire is an opportunity for us to bring in a different perspective, and we are always eager to further diversify our company. Basecamp is committed to building an inclusive, supportive place for you to do the best and most rewarding work of your career.

HOW TO APPLY
We want to get a sense of how you think. To that end, please use your cover letter to share with us your take on the following questions:

  1. Tell us how you’ve taken an existing brand to a new place by revamping their approach to marketing. How would you begin to approach figuring out where we stand and where we should be standing?
  2. Give us an example of a small-to-medium sized business that you think markets themselves particularly well? Who’s doing an outstanding job out there? And why?
  3. Since you’ll need to bring in outside talent to get the job done, which creative agencies or freelancers do you think are doing particularly interesting work? And why?
  4. Share an example of a time great marketing caught your attention and turned you into a customer.
  5. Tell us about something you almost bought recently, but decided not to. What failed to convince you?
  6. What’s inspired you lately? What’s the most creative thing you’ve seen or experienced in the last few years?

We value great writers, so take your time with the application. Keep in mind that we do not equate length with substance, so please keep your cover letter to fewer than 1500 words. Stock cover letters won’t do – tell us why you want this job, not just any job.

Click here to apply. We are accepting applications for this position until June 28th, 2019. We’ll let you know that we’ve received your application. After that, you probably shouldn’t expect to hear back from us until after the application deadline has passed. We want to give everyone a fair chance to apply and be evaluated.

We can’t wait to hear from you!

How Buffer Meets Up

Even remote companies need actual face time every once in a while. That’s why Basecamp holds companywide, weeklong meet-ups in Chicago twice a year. Fellow remote tech company Buffer has 85 employees across the globe that get together once a year for an annual retreat, and they’ve visited countries from South Africa to Iceland. On this episode of the Rework podcast, Carolyn Kopprasch of Buffer talks about the kind of work that gets done during this time, helping introverts manage energy during an intense week, and her favorite parts of Retreat.

Why wear a watch when I have the time on my phone?

As a “technology person” (ugh), people ask my why I wear a mechanical watch when I already have the time on my phone?

I love mechanical watches for a number of reasons – the art, the science, the ingenuity behind the mechanisms, the continuation of a craft dating back centuries, the look, the feel, the freedom from batteries and tethers and cords.

But lately it’s really come down to this: When I look at my watch, it gives me the time. It asks nothing in return. It’s a loyal companion without demands.

In contrast, if I look at my phone for the time, it takes my time. It tempts me. The time is paired with notifications. The time is paired with a big color screen. The time is paired with a temporary cure for boredom. It seduces. It’s a rare moment that you look at your phone and you only see the time. I don’t like that trade.

I use my phone when I need what my phone does. I use my watch when I need the time. I like being on time, I like knowing where I stand in the hour, in the morning, in the afternoon, in the day. I look at my watch a lot, and I just love that it doesn’t look back.


Thanks to Krys for the insight.

Habits always form

After a recent talk I gave, a student came up to me and asked me for one bit of advice for someone’s who’s still in school but about to graduate.

I’ve always found these questions difficult to answer. For one, It’s been 25 years since I’ve been in college. I don’t remember what I wished I knew back then, and today I know even less about what would be useful to know right now.

So I backed off a specific, and shot for a general.

The advice was this: Habits are always forming. No matter what you do, you’re also forming habits too. Keep that in mind with whatever you do.

When we talk about habits, we generally talk about learning good habits. Or forming good habits. Both of these outcomes suggest we can end up with the habits we want. And technically we can! But most of the habits we have are habits we ended up with after years of unconscious behavior. They’re not intentional. They’ve been planting deep roots under the surface, sight unseen. Fertilized, watered, and well-fed by recurring behavior. Trying to pull that habit out of the ground later is going to be incredibly difficult. Your grip has to be better than its grip, and it rarely is.

So be aware of what you do, what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it. Every do digs deeper. Every does grips stronger.

Rework Mailbag

Basecamp co-founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson are back in the Rework studio to answer your questions. In our latest episode, they discuss listener inquiries on topics like why big companies don’t use Basecamp; how they managed the transition from a web design agency to a product company; and what their business partnership means to them. Kristin Aardsma from Basecamp Support also pops in to answer a question about how her team maintains fast response times while making time for breaks.

Minimum pay at Basecamp is now $70,000

We pay at the top 10% of San Francisco market rates for salary + bonus (but not stock options) at Basecamp. Those rates apply to everyone here, regardless of the role or where they actually live. We don’t even employ anyone who live in San Francisco!

We picked San Francisco as our benchmark because it’s the highest in the world for technology, and because we could afford it, after carefully growing a profitable software business for 15 years.

For programmers, designers, operations, administration, and the vast majority of other roles at Basecamp, simply following the top of the market rates is a pretty sweet deal: High salaries, benchmarked against the top market, yet most people live in places with far lower cost of living, which means we’re even more competitive in local markets.

(While we might be top 10% for San Francisco, I’m pretty sure we’re in the top 1% for, say, Fenwick, Ontario or Spokane, Washington or Madrid, Spain.)

But where this doesn’t work as well is when the San Francisco market rates reflect how technology hasn’t really raised all boats. While the rates there for programmers and designers are far higher than many other places, this is a lot less true for, say, customer support or other roles that hasn’t seen the same market competition.

Keep reading “Minimum pay at Basecamp is now $70,000”

We’re hiring a Director of Operations

Basecamp is hiring a director of operations to run the team responsible for all our technical infrastructure. Our suite of applications is served from a mix of our own servers in leased data-center space and cloud setups in Google Cloud and AWS. The job is to ensure that everything runs smoothly, the lights stay on, and we’ve prepared for bad luck with good planning.

This is a role for someone with experience running a team at least as big as ours and a multi-million dollar budget. You’ll be managing a team of seven and report to the CTO.

Basecamp is a remote-work company, but you’ll need at least 4 hours of overlap with Chicago time in your normal work-day routine.

We strongly encourage candidates of all different backgrounds and identities to apply. Each new hire is an opportunity for us to bring in a different perspective, and we are always eager to further diversify our company. Basecamp is committed to building an inclusive, supportive place for you to do the best and most rewarding work of your career.

Keep reading “We’re hiring a Director of Operations”

A letter from a reader

Whenever we write a book, we include our email at the end so people can reach out and share their stories. With their permission, I’d like to share an email we received this morning from a reader of “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work.” Published as written, only their name is being withheld at their request:

Hi Jason, David,

Your book ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work’ prompted me to change my life. Thank you. 

When I started reading the book back in January this year, I was working 14-16 hour workdays, working weekends, and practically had no life outside of work. I was eating unhealthy food because I had no time to cook and my house (I live alone) resounded the inside of a shabby animal’s cage. I was following what was told to me as the right path to success, and I was giving away my life for a boss who somewhere deep down didn’t really care for me at all. My company offered me no benefits and it was a pathetic environment to work in. And I stayed, slogged day in and day out, because I thought I had no choice. 

However, as i read your book, things started to make sense to me. What your book said made a lot more sense to me than the life I was living. It was like a world was opened up to me, one I could not imagine. I thought success wasn’t achieved on anything less than 80 hour workdays. And I almost prided myself on being able to live through them. 

Today, I just five months later, I have been able to change my life. I moved my job to a much bigger firm that gives me a lot more job satisfaction and a lot more time for myself in life. I was able to up my salary by half in this transition and more importantly, get access to a lot more knowledge and resources at work to help enhance my development. I was able to get access to things like healthcare, and even small bits like fruit water at work which helps me stay hydrated throughout the day (whereas even water breaks were seen as bad at my previous workplace). I am able to cook meals for myself almost everyday and I am able to workout on alternate days. I come home by 5 in the evening, and most importantly, I am happy. I very so happy in life, as opposed to being a miserable little person who snarled at everyone all day long. 

I really hope more people are able to understand what it is that you are trying to put across with your book. Thanks a lot for putting the book together and all the best!

With Regards,
A tech-impact writer based out of Gurgaon, India
name withheld by request

Know Your Team

Claire Lew is the CEO of Know Your Team, a company dedicated to solving the problem of bad bosses. The company has its origins as a product developed within Basecamp and today is not just a software tool, but a deep vein of resources for managers of all experience levels. In this new episode of the Rework podcast, Claire shares her unconventional path to becoming a CEO, how she completely revamped her company’s focus and business model, and why so much “thought leadership” around management gets it wrong.