Cover of book It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

by: Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson

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  • When you realize the way you work is malleable, you can start molding something new, something better.
  • We work on projects for six weeks at a time, then we take two weeks off from scheduled work to roam and decompress.
  • Our Goal: No Goals
  • It’s no longer about simply making a great product or providing a great service.
  • For nearly 20 years, we’ve been figuring it out as we go, a few weeks at a time.
  • Every six weeks or so, we decide what we’ll be working on next.
  • When you stick with planning for the short term, you get to change your mind often.
  • The idea that you have to constantly push yourself out of your comfort zone is the kind of supposedly self-evident nonsense you’ll often find in corporate manifestos.
  • Depth, not breadth, is where mastery is often found.
  • We work at a relaxed, sustainable pace. And what doesn’t get done in 40 hours by Friday at 5 picks up again Monday morning at 9.
  • If you can’t fit everything you want to do within 40 hours per week, you need to get better at picking what to do, not work longer hours.
  • Time and attention are best spent in large bills, if you will, not spare coins and small change. Enough to buy those big chunks of time to do that wonderful, thorough job you’re expected to do.
  • We believe in effectiveness.
  • A great work ethic isn’t about working whenever you’re called upon. It’s about doing what you say you’re going to do, putting in a fair day’s work, respecting the work, respecting the customer, respecting coworkers, not wasting time, not creating unnecessary work for other
  • people, and not being a bottleneck. Work
  • Another concept we talk a lot about is something called a ‘trust battery.’ It’s charged at 50 percent when people are first hired. And then every time you work with someone at the company, the trust battery between the two of you is either charged or discharged, based on things like whether you deliver on what you promise.”
  • Churning through people because you’re trying to suppress the wages of those who stay just seems like poor business.
  • It’s almost impossible to work on something and not be tempted to chase all the exciting new what-if and we-could-also ideas that come up.
  • Remember: Deadlines, not dreadlines.
  • When we spend six weeks on something, the first week or two is for clarifying unknowns and validating assumptions. This is the time when the concept needs to hit reality and either bounce if it’s sound or shatter if it’s not.
  • Calm requires getting comfortable with enough.
  • We’ve frequently been trapped by things that used to work well but no longer do.
  • What’s more, best practices imply that there’s a single answer to whatever question you’re facing. It implies that you really don’t have a choice in the matter. Resist the implication. You always have a choice.
  • up. Find what works for you and do that. Create your practices and your patterns.
  • The only way to get more done is to have less to do.
  • Management scholar Peter Drucker nailed it decades ago when he said “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Bam!
  • Nearly all product work at Basecamp is done by teams of three people. It’s our magic number. A team of three is usually composed of two programmers and one designer. And if it’s not three, it’s one
  • What is it with three? Three is a wedge, and that’s why it works. Three has a sharp point. It’s an odd number, so there are no ties.
  • It’s powerful enough to make a dent, but also weak enough to not break what isn’t broken.
  • Change is often seen as stressful, but the polar opposite, monotony, can be even worse. You can only work exactly the same way, at the same pace, doing the same work for so long before monotony bites.
  • Winter is when we buckle down and take on larger, more challenging projects. Summer, with its shorter 4-day weeks, is when we tackle simpler, lighter projects.
  • If you want to know the truth about what you’ve built, you have to ship it. You can test, you can brainstorm, you can argue, you can survey, but only shipping will tell you whether you’re going to sink or swim.
  • Since the beginning of Basecamp, we’ve been loath to make promises about future product improvements.
  • That’s what promises lead to—rushing, dropping, scrambling, and a tinge of regret at the earlier promise that was a bit too easy to make.
  • Promises pile up like debt, and they accrue interest, too. The longer you wait to fulfill them, the more they cost to pay off and the worse the regret. When it’s time to do the work, you realize just how expensive that yes really was.
  • Sell new customers on the new thing and let old customers keep whatever they already have. This is the way to keep the peace and maintain the calm.
  • Things get harder as you go, not easier. The easiest day is day one. That’s the dirty little secret of business.
  • Ultimately, startups are easy, stayups are hard.
  • Everyone wants to be heard and respected.
  • Arguing with heated feelings will just increase the burn.