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2018-01-21T00:51:08.059Z
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We’ve updated the Basecamp 3 Android app to coincide with the launch of the Basecamp 3 refresh. What’s new?

  • 💨 Navigation takes you to Projects and Teams faster
  • 🗺 Sticky titles and breadcrumbs keep you from getting lost
  • 🎨 Themes and overall styling updated to match the refresh
💨 Navigation takes you to Projects and Teams faster

Whether you have one Project or one hundred, we know you’re using the Android app to check on Basecamp quickly, on-the-go.

📌 Pinned Projects and Teams are more prominent on the Home Screen. Quickly scan for the Projects that matter to you. These pinned Projects and Teams stand out when you’re sharing a video from YouTube or uploading a photo or PDF.

🔍 Quick Jump to a Project or Team by typing a few letters in Search. Just start typing in the Search field. Since Search is accessible on nearly every screen, you can quickly switch back and forth between two Projects.

🗺 Sticky titles and breadcrumbs keep you from getting lost

Basecamp keeps everything in one place. It’s not uncommon to follow a few discussion threads across different Projects. Perhaps you’re commenting on To-dos within various To-do Lists (also spread across different Projects). We’ve made it so you won’t get lost in the Android app.

🍯 Message titles stick to the top when you’re reading discussions. This is especially helpful after you’ve tapped a Hey! notification. Bonus: Tap the collapsed title to jump...

Basecamp used to take two common business deductions called the domestic manufacturing credit (§199) and the Research & Development credit. Both of these tax credits were substantial, both were recommended by esteemed accounting firms with entire departments dedicated to their exploitation, and both were total fucking bullshit.

So we stopped taking them. (You should have seen the faces of our new accountants as we told them this 😂).

Supposedly these credits are there to encourage American companies to spend on R&D and to keep manufacturing jobs in the country, but give me a break. I’d wager that the vast majority of companies that accept these tax handouts do not base their decisions about how much to spend on R&D or whether to hire domestically on these credits in the least. It’s just free money.

Now the conventional wisdom goes that companies have a fiduciary duty to squeeze, pull, and bend the tax code until it submits to the minimal possible effective rate. That executives and accountants simply must exploit every loophole and take every handout. Then celebrate when they score undue deduction after undue deduction with ever more lavish bonuses and payouts.

Fuck that.

Now, I’m not saying that you should voluntarily just send a bigger check to the IRS than your nominal rate requires. Or that there aren’t reasonable deductions that perhaps make...

I don’t think a “best way” to fire someone exists — but here’s a stab at trying to do it with dignity, grace, and respect.

I fired someone last year.

Ugh. It was gut-wrenching. I’ve fired people before — but it doesn’t matter how many times you do it, it always feels downright terrible.

To prepare for the difficult conversation, I asked a few mentors for advice. I also posed the question to The Watercooler, our community of leaders from all over the world, to learn how others handle letting someone go.

From almost 500 CEOs, managers, and executives, I compiled six recommendations on how to handle firing someone with dignity, grace and respect that I thought I’d share with you here:

Privacy, please.

Choose a conference room that’s away from the team, ideally that’s close to the exits. Or, if you’re a remote team, make sure you’re in a place that’s private when you make your Skype or Google Hangout call. Make sure your phone is turned off and door is closed so you’re not interrupted. And never ever do it in a public place, like a coffee shop.

The “optimal” time doesn’t exist.

Everyone has different opinions about whether you should let someone go on Friday end-of-day, or earlier in the week — but really, it’s moot. Once the decision has been made, it’s best to let the person go as fast as possible. There never is an “optimal” time to fire someone. Don’t let time or day or day of week become an excuse to delay. The longer you wait, the more...

Last month, we shared a sneak peek at some major design improvements we’ve been cooking up for Basecamp 3. Today’s the day — you’ll see those changes in your Basecamp account right now!

There are countless little tweaks and improvements throughout the entire app, but here’s quick recap of the most important new stuff.

High-level Changes

The examples we showed in the preview still stand: improved navigation, colors, and typography, better use of space on desktop screens, and more consistent placement for buttons, headers, and menus. These changes apply everywhere.

New Comments Design

Comments got a big upgrade. We wanted to give comments their own identity and charm, while reducing the metadata noise that had built up around the actual writing. They’re friendly and easier to read, too.

New Options Menus

There’s a slick new design for the ••• options menus that appear on every page. We consolidated all page options into these menus, so now there’s just one consistent home for all the actions you can take, rather than having various buttons and links scattered in several different places. Note: Edit and Bookmark have been moved in here too.

New Breadcrumbs Shortcuts

We built on the breadcrumbs navigation in a couple ways.

First, there’s a new and improved quick-jump button, so you can easily hop between any of the tools in a project. (The project’s name used to to pop up...

Squeezing out every last dollar from a relationship will leave it sour and dry. That goes whether the relationship is between a company and its workers, a company and its customers, or a company and its suppliers. It’s a two-dimensional, flat, and antagonistic relationship. It’s also frequently completely unnecessary, and nearly always unsustainable.

Yet it remains the predominant gospel of business. One packaged in a variety of euphemisms to make it palatable, like “what the market will bear”. If you’re constantly pushing to get within an inch of what the market will bear, you will inevitably overstep and it’ll break.

Capitalism doesn’t have to be this way. We can all prosper and society can progress without such a single-minded strategy. All it takes is a shift in thinking and perspective.

If, say, the CEO of BlackRock woke up tomorrow and thought “damnit, eeking out the last decimal of a return isn’t how I want to be judged at the end of my days”, then he could start making demands upon his capital that went beyond just “biggest return, at all costs”. Oh wait, he just did that!

You don’t even have to take such a change of heart at face value to realize the good it can bring. Mr Fink may well still be serving the long-term best interest of his fund and himself by doing this. Betting that it’s better to take less than the market will bear, if the market will then continue to exist in a...

We hired a professional photographer this Christmas and he almost lost our business.

My wife is one of four kids. One of those kids has four kids. We have a kid. Another sister has two kids.

There’s a lot of us.

And this Christmas we finally had most of us together. So my wife took to booking a professional photographer to snap some photos.

She went through the typical process of reviewing websites and inquiring if they could do a shoot near the holidays.

She found one she liked who had availability, but then a wrinkle came up. The end product was that they’d provide a CD-ROM of the photos.

That’s a problem. We don’t even have a CD drive in our house anymore. We’re not going to go through extra hoops to get these photos off of this thing.

We’ll find someone else.

But it occurred to us to just ask to see if they had another method. Could we just give them a USB thumb drive to put the photos on?

And they could — even mentioned they’ve done this with customers before.

Huh. So they almost lost our business because they failed to update a tiny detail of their process with recent changes around options for delivering photos to customers.

I think a lot of business are like these photographers. There’s a bunch of small details that pile up. Clearly they aren’t a priority. Taking and displaying awesome photos probably ranks much higher on a photographer’s todo list than updating policies and website FAQs on how photos are delivered.

But then they lose a...

For many many many people, the term “marketing” is interchangeable with words like “spin,” “flim-flam,” “malarkey,” and of course, “bullshit.”

You can’t really blame people who think this way. A huge amount of marketing is reality-ignoring bullshit/spin/hokum/snake oil.

This fact — that marketing is mostly poppycock — is the foundation that the movie Crazy People builds on. For anyone unfamiliar with the movie, here’s the quick synopsis (I swear this is relevant):

In Crazy People, Dudley Moore’s character is an advertising executive who does something absolutely unthinkable — he creates a series of ads that tell the truth. Here’s a few examples:

“Volvo — they’re boxy but they’re good.”
“United — most of our passengers get there alive.”
“Metamucil — it makes you go to the toilet.”

His agency rejects the ads and checks poor Dudley into a sanitarium thinking he’s taken leave of his senses. A mistake leads to the ads running in newspapers across the country anyway, at which point the unexpected happens. The ads work. Really well.

It’s tempting to write this off as nonsense movie hijinks, and it mostly is. But there’s a pearl of wisdom in there. As it happens, marketing and advertising that tells the truth can be incredibly effective.

Truth-based marketing in the wild

Here are a few real-world examples of truth-based marketing:

This video from Saddleback Leather is one of my favorite examples. All he’s doing here is describing in detail how to knock off one of their bags. But the message is crystal clear: they put a ton of time and attention into making a bag that lasts. If you’re tired of bags that fall...

Saved Filters, Bulk Email Improvements, And More

Happy New Year! We hope you had a great time celebrating the holidays and the end of 2017. It’s been a cold start to ours here at Highrise Headquarters in Chicago, but we’re thawing out now. Though it’s back to 7F next week. Oh well, it keeps us inside working on this stuff for you :) We’ve got some great improvements, and it’s all setting us up for exciting things coming soon…

P.S. You can also follow more behind the scenes on how we design products, run the business, and try to just get through life at a YouTube channel I created.

Nathan Kontny
CEO, Highrise
YouTube / Twitter / Facebook / Instagram

Saved Filters

Have you ever figured out just the right way you like to segment your contacts in Highrise? A combo of views, filters, and tags:

And then wanted to save that filter for next time?

You’ve always been able to bookmark the URL, but today we announce the ability to save your searches for anyone on your team to use:

Read more about Saved Filters here.

Bulk Email Filters

We released Broadcast bulk email as a new feature for Highrise just over 2 years ago.

Since then the usage of the feature has been going up and up:

And many customers have sent so many Broadcasts it’s now hard to find them if they’re looking for something sent awhile back.

So today to celebrate the 2 year anniversary of...

As is common this time of year, I took some time to reflect on life and work. And a few different things reminded me of how incredibly fortunate and happy I am to be working at Basecamp.

But I bet you can guess the punchline — yeah, it wasn’t always like this. The year before I landed at Basecamp, things were pretty rough and I was miserable at work.

I know this feeling isn’t unique. In fact you might be feeling today how I did years ago — coming home from work tired, uninspired, unhappy, and even angry. It’s not a good look.

But change is within your grasp. It won’t be easy, but you can be damn sure it’ll be worth it. I speak from personal experience.

When I eventually reached my job-hate breaking point, the first order of business was to quit said job. I have to admit it was kind of exciting and liberating. But it was also intensely scary.

I was walking away from a good job working at a stable, respected company — a company where I could’ve had a prosperous (albeit miserable) career. I voluntarily went from having a very generous salary to one of literally $0.

Oh and by the way, as I took on this adventure of rebuilding my career I still had some huge responsibilities back at home: namely my twin infant sons and all the adulting required to keep them happy and healthy.

So you can imagine the unsettling feeling of self doubt I felt early on. More than once I wondered,...

My 3 year old daughter is in school. Most of her classmates are older than her. She keeps up great. But she reported to us recently, that many kids have called her small. And it makes her feel bad.

It’s easy to just chalk this up to kids being naive. “Hey kid, comparing your age to someone whose older or taller and feeling bad you aren’t as big as them is dumb.”

But adults are just as guilty.

In a study at Harvard, researchers asked participants if they’d rather have $50,000 in a society where everyone else made $25,000. Or $100,000 where everyone else made $200,000. The prices of all material goods were the same in both scenarios. More than half chose the world where they were only making $50,000. Even if they could have more money and wealth in absolute terms, many would rather just make more than their neighbors.

I get it. I look at my career as an entrepreneur and I’d love to be achieving more. I have many colleagues and friends who’ve accomplished quite a bit more so far. And it’s easy to come away from that analysis with emotions probably not that much unlike my daughter.

The best thing for me is to make sure I spend more time comparing myself to myself. Have I grown? Am I better than I was a few year ago? Did I accomplish the things younger me set out to do for myself?

That’s who I need to be bigger than.

P.S. You should follow me...

New year, new you! If you started 2018 with an idea for a product, business, or creative pursuit, now is the time to start making something. In this episode: A tabletop game designer finds that sometimes, all you need to get going is a pack of index cards and a pencil; a skincare blogger tries her hand at DIY and ends up with a cult hit; and a travel backpack company’s first attempt at making something goes comically awry.


Start Making Something was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

There’s an endless list of books about how the greatest become the greatest — deliberate practice. They don’t just show up time after time. They also set short measurable goals and keep stretching them.

Time your runs. Swim a bit faster. Get yourself over that pull up bar just one more time.

That’s great for performance sports. The goals are easily measurable.

But I’m not looking to be, for example, a fast editor. I’d like to be a better, more creative, editor. I want to build bigger audiences. And get more subscribers this week.

So how do you deliberately practice in the creative field where success is often external, unpredictable, and uncontrollable?

Here’s four ways I’ve found over the years to deliberately practice being more creative.

Repetition

How many times have you redone something? Probably not more than 18. Monet painted at least 18 haystacks that we’re aware of. He destroyed a bunch too.

Work on the same thing over and over and over and over again. It’s that simple.

I repeat myself constantly. I try and tell the same story over and over. I redesign the same thing over and over. Each time trying to make it better.

At Highrise, I’ve started a new redesign of the whole site at least 3 times. I’ve burned them like Monet, but they’ve all informed me of things I’d like to see and honed my eye for things that work.

Imitation

Try to imitate other people’s work. Don’t pass it off as yours of course. But envision what it would be like...

The best advice for someone who’s on the job hunt this new year
“Don’t be boring.”

When I asked Amanda Lannert, CEO of Jellyvision, what advice she had for people who are looking to get a job, that’s the answer she gave.

As a CEO of a rapidly growing 400-person company, soon to be 500 people, Lannert has done her fair share of hiring.

“It feels like companies hire people, but in fact people hire people,” she explained. “By and large, recruiters are bored. People play it safe. They commodify themselves into just a bullet-point list of skills and experience.”

By not being boring, Lannert pointed out how you’ll catch a recruiter’s eye, and make yourself much more likely to land that initial phone call or interview.

At the same time, it’s also a great way to assess the fit of the role for you, as a prospective employee. When you show who you are as a candidate — what you value, what environment you work best in — and don’t get a call back, that company may be saving you some time and energy.

How do you not be boring? Here are five things to try:

Focus on the cover letter, not the resume.

At Jellyvision, Lannert shared how they place supreme emphasis on the cover letter. “There’s nothing more refreshing than seeing someone who takes a chance to be incredibly human in a cover letter or an outreach, to put themselves forward,” she says.

This means language that’s real, down to earth — not stiff, business jargon-y, and cut from some googled job site template....

On January 2, 2017 I published a video on YouTube telling everyone I was starting a daily vlog. I also told them I’d probably fail. I did.

I remember the exact meeting I was in at Accenture in 2001 when I found out a manager I was working with had started his own “blog”.

Though I was in a technology group researching trends, I still found it weird that someone at work would blog. What a strange word. “Blog”. I didn’t pay any attention to the blog after he told me about it. Who wants to read this guy’s personal journal online anyway.

Blogging went mainstream. My first blog was published after I started my first company in 2005. I wrote a couple posts, then lost motivation. I got a little more serious in 2010, but just barely. A post here or there. By then, there were so many good writers out there and I was so far behind. What was I possibly going to add to the wealth of good content out there? And how could I possibly stand out?

I’d missed the opportunity.

But in 2011, Dustin Curtis invited me to his new blog network, Svbtle, on one condition, that I post one article every single week. And that regularity and Dustin’s exposure helped get a ball in motion that hasn’t stopped.

From then on I’ve taken blogging and writing online seriously. My audience finally grew. That Svbtle blog and other writing opportunities started to propel my companies forward.

Now, I’m publishing at...

A few months ago, I got this email from a customer:

It would be wonderful if there was a way to tag/assign forwarded emails to specific task lists within client projects. The “email forwards” section is really cumbersome on large scope client projects where we have lots of balls in the air at once.

It’s pretty straightforward. Our app doesn’t have this feature and they would like it to be added. It’s a feature request. Our support team sees a dozen or so feature requests every day.

Deciding how to handle feature requests like this one is tough. Do you track every single one? Are you only focused on some subset?

And most importantly — how do you turn a customer email into something usable for your product teams? That’s the end goal — something usable by others in the company.

Early in our days at Basecamp, we would literally “read them, throw them away, and forget them”.

“It sounds blasphemous but the ones that are important will keep bubbling up anyway. Those are the only ones you need to remember. Those are the truly essential ones. Don’t worry about tracking and saving each request that comes in. Let your customers be your memory. If it’s really worth remembering, they’ll remind you until you can’t forget. “ — Getting Real

When you’re a company with a few people in it, it works. Everyone is pitching in to answer customer emails so you’re bouncing into that support queue often. Once the company gets bigger though, that approach doesn’t work as well.

As Basecamp the company grew, and our support team...

Too many people are working on catch-22 businesses and they don’t even realize it.

In 2011, we had this interesting idea of what would be the next Groupon. Groupon was a force in the world because, sure, it gave people a deep discount, but it was also a source of entertainment — the surprise of the daily email, and the things you would buy and experience that you might not try otherwise.

But that deep discount was problematic — a race to the bottom for many companies. So we figured, instead of focusing on discounts, what about the entertainment part of the equation?

How could we entertain potential shoppers and still lead them to purchases with a company? We also saw the popularity Zynga and Facebook gaming were having.

So we created Cityposh, our new take on Advergaming.

We created a site with all of our own games that borrowed from popular game mechanics. We had our own versions of Bejeweled, Hangman, Sudoku, etc. But our games were also easily skinned with whatever logos, product images, taglines a brand wanted.

For example, our Bejewelled, instead of jewels, had pictures of whatever the advertiser wanted you to match. If GAP were a client of ours, the pictures would be of new sweaters for 2018, or images of their logo, etc.

And then companies could even offer prizes to the top players of these games. They didn’t have to give much to really help stoke the competition. Posters, some small coupons, t-shirts, swag.

We had people playing these games an average of 2 hours...

“We all know we need to build an audience. Out-teach the competition. Collect those fans and emails before I even have something to sell, so when I do have something to sell, the money will come rolling in. Enough already. I haven’t accomplished anything. No one cares what I have to say. I can’t build an audience with this track record. And I’m a terrible teacher.”

I was a broke college student. I didn’t spend much besides getting the essentials, but money made during the summer, even working as much overtime as my boss would allow, evaporated quickly. The quintessential example of how broke I was — I rolled up to a gas station on my way to an interview for an internship, pumped the car full of gas, and went inside the station to get cash from the ATM.

Except there was no cash. My bank account was empty.

I was ashamed and embarrassed going back to my car asking to borrow money from my passenger. Thankfully she was already planning on giving me gas money for driving her to her own job interview.

I was eager for any job I could find that would alleviate my situation.

So when I realized I could become a teaching assistant (TA) even as an undergrad during my senior year, I jumped on it immediately. Free education. And a small monetary stipend.

Now, traditional TAs at a place like a huge University are mostly there to help augment a professor’s lectures and curriculum. Students usually go...

Opening the Rework Mailbag, Part 2

In the second part of our Mailbag episode (check out the first part here), Jason Fried and DHH answer your questions about how non-managers can get support for Rework ideas within their companies; how Basecamp thinks about its employees’ mental health; what job-seeking developers should really be looking for when evaluating potential employers (hint: look beyond the ping pong tables and catered lunches); and why you should maybe just ignore most business advice. Hey, did we mention we have a business advice show? You should listen to it:

P.S. We’re collecting your stories about your funniest or definitely-not-funny-at-all meetings that you’ve had at work. Got a tale to tell? Leave us a voicemail at 708–628–7850 or email us at hello@rework.fm.


Opening the Rework Mailbag, Part 2 was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Have you seen the latest Jake Paul Christmas music videos?

You probably know of Jake Paul. He’s the ridiculously popular YouTuber with 12 million subscribers. Not to mention the Twitter and Instagram fans and his previous run with the Disney Channel.

He got his start on Vine with funny videos and stunts. And though that genre of video is still very much what he’s known for, he also sprinkles in his help for others — the wishes he makes come true for his young fans or getting people out of their homes during the Houston floods.

Of course, it has to be noted that he’s controversial and polarizing. His neighbors were considering filing a class action suit because of the trouble he caused which included giant bonfires of his furniture burning in his empty pool.

This December, Jake released an entire holiday album with his original take on the 12 days of Christmas or Litmas.

They’re terrible.

But I’ll get back to that…

A week ago, another YouTuber blew up in attention. If you didn’t catch it in one of the many dozens of business magazines which covered this, you might have even seen it mentioned on SNL’s weekend update.

That YouTuber is Ryan. He’s 6. And he pulled in $11 million last year doing toy reviews on YouTube.

Ryan, like many of us on YouTube, started out with very little traction. Until he created a video of playing with 100+ toys he took out...

The roots of Basecamp are in Chicago. It’s where the business started, it’s where our only office is located, it’s where we do all our meet-ups. But more than just a geographical connection, there’s a spiritual one too: Chicago is the city that works.

So it made sense when we decided to get serious about setting pay in a fair, transparent, and systematic way to use the Chicago rates as a base. They were already higher than just about any other location we employed people from. And as a remote company, we employ people from all over the place.

Yet when we were doing our pay studies this year, we started to question that decision. If we’re already paying people from Tampa or Chattanooga the much higher Chicago rates, why is the rate based on Chicago at all?

It started to increasingly seem like an arbitrary choice, and if we were going to make one such, why not go for the best and the top?

That’s what we did. Starting 2018, Basecamp is paying everyone as though they live in San Francisco and work for a software company that pays in the top 10% of that market (compared to base pay + bonus, but not options).

We don’t actually have anyone who lives in San Francisco, but now everyone is being paid as though they did. Whatever an employee pockets in the difference...