Happy Pacifists

Business rhetoric is rife with the language of war — there’s constant talk of conquering markets and dominating the competition. These tropes indicate a dangerous way of thinking that can have real consequences, intended or not, on human behavior. In this episode of the Rework podcast, two professors share their research on the impact of violent rhetoric on business ethics, and a member of Basecamp’s Support team talks about communication techniques that get us out of the mentality that everything is a zero-sum game.

The Chase Jarvis Live show

← Me | Chase →

Back in October I was in San Francisco to record an episode of the Chase Jarvis Live show. We talked for nearly two hours about work, life, building calm (and crazy) companies, FOMO + JOMO, philosophy, the downsides of real-time communication tech, not setting goals, saying no, our new book “It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work”, etc. Loads of stuff, a really fun conversation.

Here’s the full YouTube video:

If you prefer audio-only, you can find the episode on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever you listen to podcasts.

Big thanks to Chase for having me on, and for being such a kind host. He also had David on a while back — well worth watching that one as well.

We hope you enjoy!

Sometimes It’s Crazy At Work

In October, Jason Fried and DHH released their new book, It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work. The book featured their writing, as well as cover art and interior illustrations from Basecamp designers Adam Stoddard and Jason Zimdars. The launch initially seemed like a great success — but then things went awry. In this episode of the Rework podcast, we look at the work that went into the book and the problems with the release, and attempt to find some lessons in the aftermath.

The Worst Performance Review

Source

Annual, semi-annual, quarterly, 360…no matter what form they take, performance reviews can be anxiety-inducing workplace rituals. In today’s episode of the Rework podcast, we talk to the head of HR at an HR software company (meta!) and a Basecamp designer about why helpful feedback is so difficult to give and receive — and what can be done to improve the process.

DHH on a new book, resetting ambition levels, and responsible software design

You might have heard that Jason Fried and DHH have a new book out called It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work that pushes back against the toxic culture of overwork and unhealthy ambitions that’s driving much of the modern workplace. In the latest episode of the Rework podcast, I sit down with David to talk about the book’s genesis, its intended audience, and the role of responsible software design in fostering calm work environments.

https://art19.com/shows/rework/episodes/58b694a3-c235-46f4-b7bb-0081d3453cb4

The second part of this interview will air next week. In the meantime, we’re taking your questions for David and Jason to answer in an upcoming mailbag episode! Leave us a voicemail at (708) 628–7850 and you’ll be entered into a drawing for an autographed copy of It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work.

The Rework Podcast is back!

Erika Hildner in her mobile coffee shop

👉🏼🎙 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.

You Need Less Than You Think

https://www.instagram.com/p/kCyPzQvC5j/

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.

But Wait, There’s More!

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!

Meetings are Toxic

Meetings are one of the worst kinds of workplace interruptions. They’re held too frequently, run too long, and involve more people than necessary. You may have gathered that we really dislike meetings at Basecamp. And many of you do too! This episode of Rework features:

  • A group of philosophy professors in a meeting they Kant seem to end. You might say it had…No Exit. One attendee, at least, found enough Hume-r in it to tell us about it.
  • A meeting about a meeting.
  • A dramatic reading about conference calls from hell.
  • Basecamp programmer Dan Kim talking about his post on recurring meetings and what you—yes, you!—can do to start changing the ingrained culture of meetings at your company.
  • A brief, pedantic aside to note the difference between garters and garter belts.
  • A cringeworthy meeting with an unwanted participant—and an unexpected outcome.

We had more listener-submitted meeting stories than we could feature in the episode, so here are a couple bonus ones!

No Work Done

I had an intense 12-hour meeting over two consecutive days. We were writing, correcting and estimating stories for a three-month project. Devs were in the room with managers, scrum master and biz owners.

So at the end of the second day, we finished the last story and we were supposed to groom and task it out next day (a third meeting day, yay). But our manager talked with us the next day and told us that some biz owners were mad about some unclear criteria in the stories, so he said that the (managers and biz) will regroup and this time “correctly rewrite all stories” and that we will have another 12-hour meeting next week.

That’s the story of how I had 24 hours of meetings in two weeks and NO WORK DONE (we couldn’t start working in the project until we had the second 12-hour meeting).

Quelle Horreur

I recently worked as a product manager for an Austrian company that was owned by a big French group. We were an IT service provider for two products, and in this meeting we were supposed to discuss payment providers for our new e-commerce offer.

The office and project language was English. My boss spoke English, French and German. I spoke English and German. Our French colleagues spoke French and English (with difficulties).

The meeting was a jour fixe (recurring) video conference scheduled for one hour, done over a big screen in HD. On our side, it was my boss and me. On their side, it was three project and product managers joined by a “payment expert” and an “SEO expert.” So that was seven people. Five minutes before the meeting, our CFO informed us that he would be joining shortly just to clarify “some budget things” with the department lead. So in total, we had nine people in the meeting: six on their side and three on ours. After the introduction round in English, the CFO and the department lead started to discuss budget details in French and that lasted for 40 minutes. Nine people in the meeting, two people talking to each other, and one of the nine (me) doesn’t understand a word that was said. Once they were done, they both left the meeting, so the rest of us had 20 minutes to discuss what we wanted to discuss.

I’ve read Rework and already had formed my opinion about Jour Fixes and working in meetings. I also complained often and openly about meetings I was invited to but had nothing to say and could have just read the minutes afterward. But this one was a special kind of meeting. It was almost like it was directed by Monty Python. I no longer work there 🙂


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