The Talk Show

71: Construction Kit Food


00:00:00   It is so hard not to introduce you as

00:00:02   Jason freed of 37 signals

00:00:05   You can do that. I'll just correct you

00:00:07   No, that's

00:00:10   You I will also admit I'm this is the show I'm going from here yeah

00:00:16   I will admit that when you tweeted the announcement I fell for it

00:00:20   I forgot I forget exactly what you wrote, but you were like something like after 13 years after 14 years

00:00:27   it's been a good run, but it's

00:00:29   time to leave 37 signals. Something like that.

00:00:33   I was like, "What?" I really was just like,

00:00:37   I fell for it hook, line, and sinker, and then I click through.

00:00:41   Of course the big news is

00:00:45   that you've... what did you say?

00:00:48   What have you guys done? Well, I'm the new CEO of Microsoft.

00:00:51   Great timing that I decided to

00:00:55   switch. We've switched the company around a bit, so

00:00:59   We're now Basecamp. So we decided that 37signals as a name and as a company

00:01:04   is no longer and instead we're going to focus exclusively on just one

00:01:08   product that's Basecamp.

00:01:10   And with that

00:01:11   we're going to change the name of the company to Basecamp just to reinforce the

00:01:15   fact that that's what we're all about.

00:01:16   And it's good for reinforcement internally and also

00:01:20   externally and that's what we're doing now.

00:01:23   And you know, I think

00:01:26   I think instant messenger right afterwards and I thought about it and it was like, you know, as soon as you said it

00:01:31   I was like, whoa, that's crazy. And then I thought about it. I thought you know what that is such a

00:01:36   Basecamp thing to do

00:01:39   Yeah, I had the same reaction when I first came up with the idea or first started thinking about this

00:01:44   And actually this is an idea that was tossed around

00:01:46   Ryan singer and I Ryan's someone who works works with me for a long time. Yeah, he's been with me since

00:01:54   2003 it was it has been now so he's been around for a long time and a few years ago

00:02:00   We started sort of tossing this idea around but not

00:02:03   Not as clearly but there was something in the works there and then it just hit me again in August and it just made sense

00:02:10   And but when I first thought about it again, I was like this is this is kind of nuts

00:02:15   I mean 37 signals has been around for 15 years

00:02:18   we've a lot of people know about us a lot of people know about the name there's a lot of

00:02:23   History with the company and it's just crazy just to change your name, but it all made sense the more

00:02:28   I thought about it. It just was so absolutely spot-on

00:02:31   That we had to do it. Well, the big thing is that it's not

00:02:35   And you guys clarify this you guys have a great fact up on the old 37 signals comm domain, but the

00:02:44   Main point people you you hear something like this and a company makes a big pivot or change like this

00:02:49   Usually I would say almost overwhelmingly

00:02:52   Usually it's because they're in trouble or it's bad news in some way

00:02:57   And this is it's the opposite you guys have never been bigger

00:03:00   You know how many people do you have many employees? We're 42 now. That's crazy to me

00:03:07   I remember when you guys were you guys for years were working out of like spare office space at kudos studio

00:03:14   That's right. Yeah, like spare space spare

00:03:17   Yeah, we had like five desks and we had a few extra people who weren't in Chicago

00:03:20   But for a long time, we've been fewer than 10.

00:03:24   But we've been in business for a long time.

00:03:26   So just every few years, we had a few more people.

00:03:29   We've never gone on a hiring spree or anything like that.

00:03:31   But over time, it just compounds and we end up at 40 some odd people.

00:03:34   DAVE BROWN: But you guys have cut products, but you guys are not cutting staff at all.

00:03:39   JOSHUA MACHT: No.

00:03:40   Yeah, business has never been better for us.

00:03:42   Revenues, profits, highest they've ever been.

00:03:45   And this is not a cutting staff or a cutting back because we need to.

00:03:49   because we want to.

00:03:51   And now everybody at the company, all of us, are going to be focused on the same thing.

00:03:55   So there's plenty of work to go around.

00:03:57   I was just talking about this, you know, you've been around for a long time, so you remember

00:04:00   this.

00:04:01   Software development, at least on the web, used to be so simple.

00:04:05   You just make a web app.

00:04:06   And now, you know, Basecamp basically is five products.

00:04:10   It's Basecamp, it's Basecamp for iPhone.

00:04:12   We're working on Basecamp for iPad right now.

00:04:15   It's Basecamp for Android, which we just announced.

00:04:18   And you could say there's Basecamp for email because Basecamp works really well with email.

00:04:22   And these are technically all separate platforms, separate code bases.

00:04:26   We reuse some web views here and there, but they're really different.

00:04:28   So even if you have one product, you have five products now, and that's a lot of work.

00:04:33   So there's plenty of work to go around.

00:04:34   DAVE: Yeah.

00:04:35   I was just saying on last week's show with MG Segaler that I think that's the key to

00:04:41   Facebook remaining relevant and successful.

00:04:45   Even though Facebook came up and exploded and went IPO during this whole period where

00:04:50   the whole industry has shifted, where it was created and it was just a web thing.

00:04:56   You type facebook.com in a browser and that's how you use Facebook.

00:05:00   But they've clearly made a change where they see Facebook as a service and there's the

00:05:06   website and there are apps.

00:05:09   And the apps might be on the phone, might be on tablets, might be anywhere.

00:05:14   But it's not just a web page anymore or a web app.

00:05:17   Yeah.

00:05:18   And, you know, it's funny because Facebook's been doing a bunch of, you know, like you

00:05:23   said, a bunch of these smaller apps and I'm sure they have many more planned.

00:05:26   And, you know, even though it's Facebook the company and Facebook the product, they have

00:05:30   a variety of other things, of course, that they're working on and other products that

00:05:33   tie into it.

00:05:34   And it really is more of a service.

00:05:36   It's almost like a protocol or something now.

00:05:38   And, you know, that's how they can keep all these great engineers busy is because there's

00:05:42   a lot of stuff going on.

00:05:43   It's not just facebook.com anymore.

00:05:45   It's a million things.

00:05:46   And so we're in the same boat, obviously, much smaller scale.

00:05:48   But what's actually funny is Basecamp's birthday

00:05:51   and Facebook's birthday are the same day.

00:05:54   Oh, yeah?

00:05:55   We both launched our companies on February 4, 2004.

00:05:59   We officially announced Basecamp on our blog on the 5th.

00:06:02   So that's technically how when we announced it.

00:06:05   But it actually went live the night before on the 4th.

00:06:08   So it's kind of funny to see how things have shaken out

00:06:10   over 10 years.

00:06:13   - You know what, that's funny you say that.

00:06:15   I never would have thought of it otherwise,

00:06:20   but it totally rings a bell

00:06:21   because here's what I remember is,

00:06:24   I first announced Markdown as a public beta

00:06:29   in March of 2004.

00:06:33   - No kidding, I didn't know it was that long ago.

00:06:35   - Yeah, it's coming up on 10 years.

00:06:37   But what I remember is,

00:06:39   and I don't remember how I did this.

00:06:41   I don't because my son's birthday was last month in 2004.

00:06:46   He just turned 10.

00:06:48   So I don't know in hindsight how in the world

00:06:51   I did the initial version of Markdown

00:06:53   in like the month before and two months after

00:06:56   my son was born.

00:06:57   I think it's because I got no sleep

00:06:59   and so it was just a way to,

00:07:02   I think it was actually like in hindsight,

00:07:05   it doesn't make any sense to me,

00:07:06   but I think it was like I was actually more productive

00:07:09   because I had no sleep.

00:07:13   - Yeah, you knew you weren't gonna sleep.

00:07:15   And so what are you gonna do?

00:07:15   You're gonna work.

00:07:16   - But what I remember is that when you guys

00:07:19   launched Basecamp, I was really close

00:07:22   to announcing Markdown, but I hadn't told

00:07:24   a lot of people about it, and you guys

00:07:26   launched with textile support.

00:07:28   - Right.

00:07:28   - And I was like, oh, I should've told those guys.

00:07:31   - Textile, wow, that was a bit of a disaster for us.

00:07:34   Although it was good at the time,

00:07:36   because that's kind of, that's all there was.

00:07:38   and then Markdown came out and it was funny.

00:07:42   I mean, it's funny back then,

00:07:43   like there wasn't really WYSIWYG.

00:07:45   I mean, there was some really early stuff,

00:07:47   but it was pretty terrible just because the browsers

00:07:49   weren't really capable of doing this stuff.

00:07:51   And so, but what we regretted ultimately was,

00:07:54   the transition away from textile when we cut that off,

00:07:59   moving that over or allowing all those messages

00:08:02   that have been written to be rendered in another thing

00:08:04   was just a huge, huge nightmare.

00:08:05   That was a mess.

00:08:07   Anyway, ancient history.

00:08:09   - But it does, it feels like a long time ago.

00:08:11   - Yeah, it really does.

00:08:12   - But I do remember now that you say that,

00:08:13   I remember that it was like, you guys came first,

00:08:16   but it was really close.

00:08:18   And I thought, oh, I should have told them that.

00:08:20   Maybe they could have.

00:08:22   - I remember that now too.

00:08:23   Yeah, I mean, I don't know what we would have done.

00:08:26   I probably would have, I mean,

00:08:27   Markdown's so much more elegant than Textile ever was.

00:08:30   So I would, if we were up against in that moment again,

00:08:34   and there was two things available,

00:08:35   I'm almost certain we'd go with Markdown.

00:08:36   - Yeah, but I would've needed to be

00:08:38   a couple months ahead of schedule just to, yeah.

00:08:40   But anyway. - Oh well, yeah, oh well.

00:08:42   - Woulda, coulda, shoulda. - Yeah.

00:08:44   - So what are the products that you guys

00:08:48   are looking for a new home for?

00:08:51   - Yeah, so just to give some background there,

00:08:54   it was really important to us that

00:08:57   when we made this announcement

00:08:58   that we were very clear about a couple other things.

00:09:00   And one is we have some other very successful products.

00:09:03   We have Campfire, we have High Rise, we have Backpack,

00:09:05   we have a few other things.

00:09:06   Backpack is a product that we kind of retired,

00:09:10   although our definition of retired

00:09:11   is a little bit different, so I'll explain that in a second.

00:09:13   But a few years ago, we decided no longer to sell Backpack.

00:09:15   We wouldn't sell it anymore.

00:09:17   But anyone who is using it can continue to use it.

00:09:19   So we've made a commitment to our customers

00:09:22   and to ourselves that we will support our products

00:09:25   until the end of the internet,

00:09:26   is kind of how we think about it here.

00:09:28   As long as we're in business,

00:09:29   we will support products that are under our name,

00:09:31   even if we no longer develop them,

00:09:33   but we will keep them up,

00:09:34   we'll provide customer service on them,

00:09:35   we'll do all the security patches we need to,

00:09:37   we'll care about performance and stuff.

00:09:39   We won't add new features,

00:09:40   they'll be more in maintenance mode.

00:09:42   So we did this with Backpack a few years ago.

00:09:45   And now it's time to consider what to do

00:09:47   with Campfire and Highrise.

00:09:49   And again, same thing, we don't wanna let any customers down

00:09:54   or leave them hanging.

00:09:55   So we're looking for new homes for these products

00:09:59   at companies that would really wanna run these products

00:10:01   and not absorb them into some existing product.

00:10:03   We want them to live on on their own.

00:10:07   But if for whatever reason we simply cannot find the right fit, we've committed to maintaining

00:10:13   those products and making sure they're still available for as long as we're still in business,

00:10:17   which is hopefully decades from now.

00:10:18   So that's sort of the way we're handling this so customers don't get screwed because it's

00:10:22   not their fault that we're making this decision and we don't want them to be left out.

00:10:27   And Campfire is just like, basically, it's like group chat.

00:10:32   First chat, yeah, very simple, came out in 2006 and it's basically just chat rooms for

00:10:40   business.

00:10:41   Dave Asprey And part of that is, I guess we can touch on

00:10:45   that a bit, but you guys are big, you know, you've literally written a book on it, Remote

00:10:49   Working.

00:10:50   And it is sort of, you know, that's where the name comes from.

00:10:54   It's kind of obvious, like sitting around the virtual campfire.

00:10:57   It's a way for remote teams to stay in touch throughout the day.

00:11:01   remote teams and local teams. I think it depends on the kind of company you are.

00:11:05   I mean these chat products, there's a lot of them out there today.

00:11:09   And they all relatively do basically the same thing. There's different takes on it and stuff.

00:11:13   But for the most part, they're really popular with development teams.

00:11:17   Software developers who are really working on stuff all the time.

00:11:21   A lot of back and forth. Even people who are working nearby each other though.

00:11:25   Like for example in our office in Chicago, most of our comp... We have a room in our

00:11:29   campfire account called Chicago Talk where we talk about the only people who

00:11:34   are in the room are people from Chicago and there's someone from Ann Arbor who's

00:11:37   in it too, close enough. And we talk about local stuff even though we're all

00:11:42   sitting in the same office we use campfire for that because it's actually

00:11:44   a better way to have these kind of discussions rather than interrupting

00:11:48   each other out loud all the time. We can just kind of chime in in this room and

00:11:52   drop some interesting links in and drop some pictures in and stuff when it's

00:11:55   appropriate. So it's good for any any kind of team that needs to work together

00:11:58   once they communicate sort of in real time without bothering each other.

00:12:01   Right. And maybe to go back again to like 1999, in those days, everything like that was,

00:12:09   "Well, let's set up a mailing list. Let's set up…" Everything was squeezed into email and it would

00:12:14   be, "Well, here's our company mailing list." And then you'd set up a separate mailing list

00:12:18   for a Chicago company. And then all of a sudden, your email has 13 different inboxes.

00:12:26   Right and if you were you know that was a problem and so that was one of the reasons we built this also

00:12:30   If you were really on top of things you might have an IRC you know room set up

00:12:34   But that's highly technical and wasn't really appropriate for most companies

00:12:37   So there's really kind of no way to do this you could use instant messaging and have group instant messages

00:12:42   Which was fine, but they weren't persistent right and so there's nowhere to go to have a conversation

00:12:47   You had to be invited to conversations all the time, and that was kind of complicated

00:12:50   So yeah, that's where the the idea for campfire came up right and then high-rise is

00:12:55   And what's that phrase?

00:12:59   CRM.

00:13:00   CRM.

00:13:01   Yeah.

00:13:02   I think of it.

00:13:03   Highrise is actually our second most popular product behind Basecamp and it's a huge product

00:13:08   and very successful business in its own right.

00:13:12   It's basically a way to keep track of the people you talk to, what you talk to them

00:13:14   about and when you need to follow up with them next.

00:13:17   So it's CRM technically which is customer relationship management but it's more about

00:13:22   keeping track of conversations with people you deal with.

00:13:25   We built it because at the time we were getting

00:13:28   Popular with the press the press was emailing us a lot asking us questions

00:13:32   Doing interviews and I just started losing track of who I talked to I forgot like have I talked to this person before who?

00:13:38   Did I who have I pitched?

00:13:39   Where are we in the process of this this story and I was just using my you know using email

00:13:45   It's just pretty much everyone does to try and kind of track this stuff and pretty quickly you lose you lose track of it all

00:13:49   and so we built high-rise to keep track of all the

00:13:52   conversations we were having with the media and also at the time

00:13:55   we're getting a lot of inquiries from venture capital firms and we needed a place to keep track of that stuff too

00:14:00   And so that's sort of how high-rise came to be and you know

00:14:03   It's morphed into a tool that a lot of sales people use small small scale, you know

00:14:08   It's not trying to be sales force. It's it's a much simpler tool for much smaller sales teams. Yeah

00:14:14   Well, that's exactly where I was going with that which is that to me it it's it was a very natural

00:14:20   successor to Basecamp because Basecamp in a nut is project management and

00:14:25   project management traditionally is a notoriously the the big names in project

00:14:35   management software are notoriously big monolithic complicated systems yeah I

00:14:41   mean really really big stuff and just opaque when you just sit down in front

00:14:46   of. And Basecamp is, it was, it just came out of the gate as a sort of, let's forget,

00:14:55   let's not try to simplify the existing monolithic idea of project management software. Let's

00:15:01   throw it all away, start with a blank piece of paper and just build something simple from

00:15:05   the start. And I think HighRise was the same way with CRM.

00:15:10   It was. And that's how we tried to approach everything. I mean, for project management,

00:15:14   all the tools that existed at the time were pretty much like Microsoft Project, which

00:15:18   was Gantt charts and project schedules and more of a broadcast tool.

00:15:24   And what we needed wasn't that.

00:15:25   We needed just a way to communicate with each other, share designs, share ideas, get feedback

00:15:30   from clients, that kind of stuff.

00:15:32   And so that wasn't what project management was about at the time.

00:15:36   We saw it differently.

00:15:37   We saw it as communication, not control.

00:15:38   And so we made a communications platform basically for that.

00:15:42   And High Rise was similar.

00:15:43   There's a lot of it.

00:15:44   now there's even more of course, but there was some big time CRM type tools out there.

00:15:49   And you know, they were just overkill for keeping track of simple conversations between people

00:15:55   that you needed in business. It wasn't about sales pipelines and it wasn't about, you know,

00:16:01   extensive tracking of salespeople and how they're performing. It was just like, I need to keep track

00:16:05   of conversations in a way that makes sense to me and not have them just like tagged in inboxes

00:16:10   where I can't really follow things. And then if I'm having a conversation and I need to hand it

00:16:14   it over to David or someone else at the company.

00:16:17   You can't do that in email.

00:16:18   You're kind of screwed at that moment.

00:16:19   You have to maybe forward a huge threat of things.

00:16:22   It's just a total mess.

00:16:23   So High Rise was kind of shared communication, shared history of communication, and it just

00:16:29   made a lot of sense for us to go in that direction.

00:16:31   Dave Asprey Yeah, and I think it was – they're both

00:16:33   really perfectly timed for the – again, we're talking about 10, 15 years here, but

00:16:42   much has changed in the last 10, 15 years in terms of not just the way we use software

00:16:47   where everything is internet connected and it's either in a web browser or it's somehow

00:16:51   talking HTTP as it syncs to your phone or tablet or whatever. But just the way that

00:16:57   -- I mean, everybody talks about bring your own devices to work and this movement. But

00:17:02   there's really a lot of almost choose your own software. And people are working in smaller

00:17:09   teams and a lot of people are broken off and you just pick what you want to use and use

00:17:13   it.

00:17:14   And that's, I think, stark contrast to like when I was in college in the 90s and it seemed

00:17:20   like companies, everything was the enterprise, quote unquote.

00:17:24   And everything went through, you know, people didn't just buy software or get demos and

00:17:30   then sign up.

00:17:31   They went through procurement and the people picking the software weren't the people using

00:17:35   it.

00:17:36   And it's just, that was just how it was done.

00:17:38   And I think that's how everything got into these situations where software was so inordinately

00:17:45   complex because it was sold based on how many features it had.

00:17:49   >> Totally.

00:17:50   And that's it.

00:17:51   It's as simple as that, I think.

00:17:53   And you said it, which is that the people who were buying the software back then weren't

00:17:57   the people who were using it.

00:17:59   So their rules and reasons for buying something didn't line up with the people who needed

00:18:03   it.

00:18:04   who are buying it, if you're comparing three or four things, you're going to get the one

00:18:09   with the longer list of things.

00:18:12   Because let's say it costs about the same, well why not get more stuff?

00:18:18   That's the criteria that you'd use if you're purchasing something for somebody else, but

00:18:20   if you're purchasing something for yourself, you're going to look at things like simplicity,

00:18:24   ease of use, clarity, does this make sense, is it fast, is it functional in a way that

00:18:27   it makes sense to me, is it flexible, those are the things that matter.

00:18:31   enterprise software there's a huge disconnect there. Tools like Basecamp,

00:18:34   you know our products are used in pretty much every major company, every big

00:18:42   huge company, Fortune 500, not every single one but most of them. But they're

00:18:46   used by small teams inside these companies and they've kind of done an

00:18:50   end around and that they're not really permitted in some cases to use them. But

00:18:54   they do because they work and I love those kind of rogue moves in companies

00:18:58   because people just want something that works and they'll take 50 bucks a month out of their

00:19:03   own pocket to pay for base camp or 20 bucks a month, depending on the tiers, just so they

00:19:09   can have something that works because the software that's been forced on them does not

00:19:12   work.

00:19:13   And so we have a lot of customers in a lot of places and we don't have any sales people

00:19:18   but yet huge airlines use our products and huge universities and huge governments and

00:19:24   big places that normally would have to be sold something.

00:19:28   And frankly, we could probably never sell Basecamp into an airline.

00:19:32   That's not what we would ever want to do.

00:19:35   But I love that the marketing department might be using it or the design department might

00:19:38   be using it or the advertising group in the company might be using it.

00:19:42   That's great and that happens all the time.

00:19:44   Right.

00:19:45   I mean and that's – part of it too comes from your guys' background before you became

00:19:52   a software company where you guys were doing client services.

00:19:56   would hire 37Signals to do their website.

00:20:01   And so you guys have-- it's not just

00:20:02   that you have the products, you guys have always had, to me,

00:20:05   very interesting product websites that Basecamp--

00:20:10   you go to Basecamp.com, it sells itself.

00:20:13   I mean, or at least it's supposed to.

00:20:15   If you just said you guys don't even have any salespeople,

00:20:17   it must.

00:20:18   Yeah.

00:20:18   It's interesting.

00:20:19   It's changed over the years.

00:20:20   So when we first launched Basecamp,

00:20:22   I mean, it was a new idea.

00:20:23   So we really had to explain the product in a way.

00:20:27   But lately, almost all of our business

00:20:30   comes from word of mouth.

00:20:31   And we know that because customers tell us this

00:20:35   and we can tell we don't do any ad word spend,

00:20:37   we're not into SEO.

00:20:38   And meanwhile, 6,000 people a week,

00:20:42   6,000 companies I should say a week,

00:20:43   are signing up for Basecamp.

00:20:45   6,000 every single week.

00:20:46   We don't do any SEO, don't do any ad words,

00:20:48   don't have a marketing budget,

00:20:49   don't buy ads anywhere else.

00:20:51   We don't have salespeople.

00:20:52   So this is a word of mouth thing.

00:20:54   And when word of mouth, when people come to basecamp.com

00:20:59   today, we're assuming that they've kind of heard

00:21:02   of Basecamp at some point.

00:21:04   Someone told them about it, hey, you gotta check this out,

00:21:06   or they've used it somewhere else at another company

00:21:08   that they were working with or working for,

00:21:10   or maybe they'd used it at their previous job

00:21:12   and now they're at a new job and they wanna bring Basecamp

00:21:13   into the new place.

00:21:15   So we've changed our messaging.

00:21:17   It's actually a lot less.

00:21:18   We just launched this new site last week,

00:21:20   this sort of fun kind of throwback site,

00:21:23   which we can talk about in a little bit if you're curious.

00:21:25   But the site's really now more about,

00:21:29   hey, we've been around for a long time,

00:21:30   you've probably heard of us.

00:21:32   Lots of companies just for lots of different things.

00:21:34   Here's some of those things.

00:21:35   But it's less about the tools.

00:21:37   It's less about like we have to-do lists

00:21:38   and we have a scheduler and we have a calendar

00:21:40   and we have messages.

00:21:41   It's not about the tools so much anymore.

00:21:42   It's more about what's the outcome?

00:21:44   What are you gonna get out of this product?

00:21:46   How many other people are using it?

00:21:47   Do I feel comfortable with it

00:21:48   because other people have used it.

00:21:50   Oh, you've heard about it from someone else,

00:21:52   you're in the right place, that kind of stuff.

00:21:53   So we've sort of shifted a little bit that way,

00:21:55   but we've always been very heavy on the message and writing

00:21:59   and our sites have always had more words

00:22:01   than everybody else's, but we think that

00:22:04   the writing's tight and concise and we think that people,

00:22:09   and you're a writer, you get this,

00:22:11   a lot of people will keep saying,

00:22:13   they continue to say today that people don't read on the web

00:22:16   but the thing is is they don't read bad shit on the web.

00:22:18   I mean, they don't read bad shit anywhere.

00:22:21   If you write a bad book, it's not gonna get read.

00:22:22   If you write a bad magazine article,

00:22:24   it's not gonna get read.

00:22:25   So I believe people are happy to read good things.

00:22:27   And so we work really hard on the copy

00:22:29   and we've pushed back on this sort of,

00:22:33   there's an evolution of web design lately,

00:22:34   which is it's very, very slick.

00:22:37   It's a lot of like big, huge pictures,

00:22:40   backgrounds that are sliding past,

00:22:41   parallax effects sliding past one another,

00:22:44   very little text, more imagery.

00:22:46   And I just wanna push back on that.

00:22:48   And that's what our new site does because I think,

00:22:51   I don't think it's very comfortable for people

00:22:54   to run into sites like that.

00:22:55   I think people are more comfortable

00:22:58   in a sort of a more of a cozy website

00:23:00   where it's a little bit more obvious that

00:23:04   they get the feeling that they know the people behind it

00:23:08   compared to seeing that something was designed

00:23:12   in a fashion sort of way.

00:23:13   So I know I'm kind of going off track here,

00:23:16   but that's the idea.

00:23:17   That's how we've always been.

00:23:19   No, and you and I share very similar views on that.

00:23:22   But marketing, communication-wise, the thing I believe in--

00:23:28   you guys always have, too-- is a sort of no bullshit tone to the pros.

00:23:36   So you can write a ton.

00:23:37   You could write, like you said, way more text than an expert might

00:23:42   recommend for a product page.

00:23:45   But as long as every single bit of it is carefully written, not just you have a lot of words

00:23:52   because you didn't edit, but you have a lot of words even though you did edit, and every

00:23:57   word serves a purpose, and it's just totally honest.

00:24:01   Just be radically honest with the customer or potential customer.

00:24:07   It can totally work.

00:24:09   I think that, like you said, it's reassuring.

00:24:13   It sounds like these are real people talking to me.

00:24:15   Totally.

00:24:16   And that's how we've tried to write for as long as I can remember, which is I want

00:24:20   to write like I speak.

00:24:21   I want to write – when someone reads what I've written, I would imagine myself telling

00:24:25   them this thing in person.

00:24:27   And if I can't imagine that, then I pull back and the bullshit meter goes off and goes,

00:24:31   "I would never say this in person.

00:24:33   I would never speak this way in person.

00:24:34   I would never describe the product this way in person."

00:24:37   I think if you go to a lot of websites today and you read the text, you know, you go, they

00:24:44   would never talk to me like this if I was sitting next to them.

00:24:47   Or no one actually speaks this way.

00:24:50   I think a lot of marketing copy is almost written in a separate, it's in a different

00:24:54   language.

00:24:55   It's not even in English.

00:24:56   It's not conversational.

00:24:59   It's very surface level, shallow, I don't even know how to explain it, but it's just,

00:25:06   It's another language that people don't actually speak.

00:25:09   And so I want to make sure that our sites are written in a language that people understand,

00:25:13   which is just plain English, very upfront and candid about everything and honest and

00:25:19   friendly and using some liberties to say things that people, that corporate websites might

00:25:24   not normally say.

00:25:25   Right.

00:25:26   To me, when I encounter it as a user/customer, it's not that I disbelieve it.

00:25:33   It's not that I think I'm being lied to and what they're saying here isn't true, but it's

00:25:39   that it puts up like a defensive shield in front of me though where I'm thinking that

00:25:46   way.

00:25:50   It's sort of an exaggerated analogy, but a little bit like when you hear a deal that's

00:25:57   too good to be true.

00:25:58   Like if you're, you know, like I can't remember that, seeing it in real life, but you know,

00:26:03   like if you saw a guy showing three card Monte on the street corner and it looks so easy,

00:26:10   I think, and I think most people with any common sense think, well, there's got to be

00:26:14   a catch.

00:26:15   You're going to get ripped off, right?

00:26:16   And you might watch the game a little bit, but I'm not going to put my $5 up because

00:26:20   I think, you know, there's got to be a catch.

00:26:22   When I encounter marketing ease like that on a webpage, I feel like I'm in the presence

00:26:27   of a three-card Monte dealer.

00:26:30   I agree.

00:26:31   And that's a terrible, in my opinion, unless you're a three-card Monte dealer, that's a

00:26:34   bad way to treat customers.

00:26:36   It just doesn't resonate, it doesn't feel like us.

00:26:40   So yeah, anyway, I think that for me, writing has always been a fundamental part of web

00:26:46   design or design in general.

00:26:47   In fact, I've always been a believer that the words are more important than the pixels,

00:26:54   the best design is the best writing and writing is the best design.

00:26:59   I've always said that if you're going to sit around and redesign, if you're going to spend

00:27:02   money to redesign a website, you're better off rewriting it, keeping the existing design

00:27:06   but rewriting it than actually redesigning it with the same content.

00:27:10   So I think that that's really ultimately what's most important when you communicate, which

00:27:16   is what are you saying?

00:27:17   What does it say?

00:27:18   And so anyway, that's something we thought a lot about with the new site and especially

00:27:21   since the new site is not just representing our product anymore but it's also representing

00:27:25   us as a company. And it's one voice now. It's not a corporate thing over here and a product

00:27:33   thing over here. It's one thing, one site.

00:27:34   All right, let me take a break and thank our first sponsor and it's our good friend at

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00:29:53   lynda.com/thetalkshow. So let me ask you this. I mentioned this before. So you

00:30:00   guys are making this big change to go to Basecamp. Successful as you're, you know,

00:30:08   with a successful business. Why do you, and to me it epitomizes what you

00:30:13   and David in particular have to me an uncanny knack for which is is always

00:30:20   questioning what you're doing and and why not just when you're in trouble but

00:30:27   even when things are going smoothly. Do you have to force yourself to do that or

00:30:34   do you feel like that just comes naturally to you guys? I think I think

00:30:41   I think when things are going well, you have to at some level force yourself to stop and

00:30:48   look around because it's really easy to get lazy when things are going well and just to

00:30:52   think that whatever decisions you made in the past are the right ones and just let's

00:30:56   keep riding this.

00:30:57   So I think when things go bad, it's natural to look at what's going on and reconsider,

00:31:03   but when things go well, it's really hard to do that.

00:31:05   So we don't consciously do this like on every year or anything like that, but occasionally

00:31:11   You know, I get an itch and I just don't feel like we're thinking hard enough or questioning

00:31:17   things hard enough and I'll typically be the one to bring this sort of stuff up.

00:31:21   And, you know, I think it's always been in me to be a bit uncomfortable after I've been

00:31:28   comfortable for a while.

00:31:30   And so that's how this stuff happens.

00:31:33   And I also think it's, you know, all this comes back to the way we've set our company

00:31:36   up and that we're a self-funded company so we're on our own timeframe.

00:31:41   We don't have to do things because some investors are telling us to do it or the public markets

00:31:44   are telling us to do it.

00:31:45   So we can take our time, we can be in it for the long run and when you're doing that, companies

00:31:52   typically don't stick around for a long, long time unless they're willing to make some changes

00:31:56   when things change.

00:31:59   Hopefully if you're doing well you can preempt the moments that would normally force you

00:32:06   to make changes if you make them too late.

00:32:09   I think that I typically get an itch and it comes up different times.

00:32:15   When we launched the new version of Basecamp in 2012, we'd been running the old version

00:32:19   of Basecamp, which is now called Basecamp Classic, for eight years.

00:32:23   It was doing really well and things were great.

00:32:25   There's really no reason to change except that I found that we weren't using Basecamp

00:32:29   as much anymore ourselves.

00:32:31   We're using other things, Campfire and some other stuff.

00:32:35   I started to think, "Well, that's a problem.

00:32:37   Why aren't we using what we're making anymore?

00:32:39   not good. I mean that was sort of the impetus to question that. So sometimes it's very obvious

00:32:46   and other times you just got to get ahead of it before it's too late to make a change.

00:32:51   It's like a canary in a coal mine if you're not using your own product.

00:32:55   Yeah, we've always built things that we need and that we use. And we were still using Basecamp,

00:33:01   but we weren't using it as much because the way we'd worked had changed. The way we work has changed.

00:33:07   And the classic version was a little bit more,

00:33:10   it pointed a little bit back towards the days

00:33:14   when we were doing client work,

00:33:15   which we were no longer doing.

00:33:16   We weren't doing client work anymore.

00:33:18   We were making software.

00:33:19   And so our sort of our needs have changed

00:33:21   and the way we worked had changed.

00:33:23   And that's one of the reasons I think we started

00:33:26   not using Basecamp as much as we had.

00:33:27   And we said, that's a problem.

00:33:28   And this new version where we're crazy users,

00:33:31   we're incredibly heavy users of Basecamp.

00:33:33   Probably no one's a heavier user than us

00:33:35   of the new version.

00:33:36   That's because we built it based on what we need today

00:33:38   And so those are those kind of moments where things like that come up

00:33:42   and it probably made for the new base camp to be a

00:33:46   broader

00:33:49   Platform because it's still you guys still clearly had in mind your roots as a client services

00:33:56   Company and I mean I know

00:33:58   Firsthand that a lot of you know the people you know my friends who still do client services

00:34:04   a ton of them, but probably a majority do the client relationships through Basecamp.

00:34:10   You know, that the projects are, you know, it's still, the new Basecamp is still a great

00:34:14   product for client services.

00:34:16   Yeah, and actually it's even better.

00:34:20   The old Basecamp had some, or Basecamp Classic had some tricky things that you had to set

00:34:28   up in order for someone to be a client.

00:34:30   there was this idea of the client-firm split,

00:34:32   which was sometimes a little bit complicated

00:34:35   because if you had three people involved,

00:34:36   like you had an external contractor and a firm and a client,

00:34:39   it's like, who was the contractor?

00:34:40   Were they the client or the firm?

00:34:41   And there was some, it was pretty rigid actually.

00:34:43   And the new version of Basecamp is a lot looser in that way

00:34:46   in that you can have multiple parties involved

00:34:48   in the same project.

00:34:49   You can also designate certain people as the client

00:34:52   and you can decide that I don't wanna show the client

00:34:54   certain things in the project.

00:34:55   It's a lot clearer actually than the old version.

00:34:57   But yeah, client services firms, design firms,

00:35:02   big part of our customer base.

00:35:05   And so we're very, very aware of what they need

00:35:06   and how they're using the product.

00:35:08   And we still occasionally have client-like arrangements,

00:35:12   like for example, when we were publishing our book,

00:35:14   the publishing house, Random House or Crown

00:35:19   was actually the client.

00:35:21   So we kind of use that feature there too.

00:35:24   But yeah, the new version of Basecamp, tools, functionality is similar, but the approaches

00:35:30   are different, the ideas are different, the implementation is very different, the interface

00:35:33   is very, very different.

00:35:37   But fundamentally, projects and people working together need similar tools, regardless of

00:35:42   whether or not it's 10 years ago or today.

00:35:45   They need a way to communicate, they need a way to keep track of the work that has to

00:35:47   be done, they need a way to keep track of schedules, they need a way to share files

00:35:51   and give feedback.

00:35:52   That's all basic functionality that people need, but you can implement that in different

00:35:57   ways.

00:35:58   So, one of the other things, and you've already mentioned it, that you guys, in 2012, so about

00:36:03   two years ago, launched the new Basecamp.

00:36:05   And it really is, it is a lot more than a 1.0 to 2.0 change.

00:36:12   You guys really kind of started over.

00:36:16   And it had all the features of the old Basecamp, but organized very differently.

00:36:20   And you guys kept Basecamp classic, because it's different enough that there might be

00:36:25   some people who really are, I'm presuming that they're just either either it's their

00:36:29   personality and they just don't want a big change, or they just have a process that's

00:36:33   rooted in the old Basecamp, that it would be a big shakeup for them to move.

00:36:39   And the thing that's interesting to me is that you guys have a reputation and you know,

00:36:42   you guys do big changes like changing the name of the company from 37 signals to Basecamp

00:36:48   and shedding all the other products.

00:36:53   And you guys sort of have a reputation,

00:36:56   rhetorically, as flamethrowers.

00:36:58   You'll go out there, and if you're

00:37:00   going to encourage people to work remotely,

00:37:02   you're going to do it in a bold way.

00:37:05   But you guys also do things that very few software developers

00:37:11   do, which is to do something like keep Basecamp Classic

00:37:17   around and you know like you said until the end of the internet or the end of the company

00:37:22   you're going to keep it working and keep software or security updates and stuff like that. Where

00:37:32   does that come from?

00:37:33   Steve: It's so fundamental to us because what's different about our products is that

00:37:41   they're services too and a lot of companies have come to rely on these services. They've

00:37:46   their staff, they've trained their clients, they have ongoing long-term projects.

00:37:51   And for us to disrupt their business because we want to change something, that doesn't

00:37:57   sit well with us.

00:37:58   It's not fair to them.

00:37:59   And we've always been a company that's been funded by our customers, so we look out for

00:38:05   them.

00:38:06   And in this case, we saw no reason why we should force change in anybody.

00:38:10   There's a thing, you know, people always say like, "People don't like change."

00:38:15   I don't think that's true. I think people love change if it's change they're ready for and if they want to make it themselves

00:38:19   But I don't think people like forced change

00:38:21   They certainly don't like it when someone forces them to change especially when you're looking at a product like Basecamp

00:38:27   Which is not just used by a single person, you know

00:38:29   Like for example, you upgrade your phone from iOS 6 to iOS 7 that pretty much just affects you

00:38:34   but if you if you move from Basecamp Classic to the new Basecamp or you're forced to for example

00:38:39   That might affect 40 different people at your company and seven of your clients

00:38:43   You know who are paying your clients are paying you, you know

00:38:46   Maybe they're paying you hundreds of thousands of dollars a year like to

00:38:50   Uproot them for us to force you to uproot them and make their lives more difficult

00:38:55   It's gonna have a negative impact on your own business and ultimately on ours. It doesn't make any sense

00:38:59   So we're very careful about that and very thoughtful about that and a large number of our customers continue to use

00:39:05   Classic and and we will never ever ask them to change. They're free to change

00:39:09   We have a migration path if they choose to change.

00:39:12   Some customers use the old version with older clients and the new version with newer clients.

00:39:16   There's different combinations of things.

00:39:18   But we just decided fundamentally right from the beginning that this wasn't going to be

00:39:22   a forced transition for anybody because it's just simply too disruptive for clients who've

00:39:29   chosen a certain way of working.

00:39:31   And that's how we want to be with everything that we do.

00:39:35   And there's a cost to that.

00:39:36   You know, obviously you have to maintain two separate code bases and whatnot, but there's

00:39:40   also some limits.

00:39:42   You know, we don't improve classic in fundamental ways anymore.

00:39:47   Classic is sort of as is.

00:39:49   We maintain it, we'll fix bugs if they pop up, we'll handle security updates, but it's

00:39:53   kind of a maintenance, it's in maintenance mode.

00:39:57   But performance is still at the same level of BCX in terms of uptime and all that stuff,

00:40:01   and infrastructure, all that stuff gets upgraded along with all of our other upgrades when

00:40:05   and we add new hardware, that sort of thing.

00:40:08   So it benefits from that as well,

00:40:10   but fundamentally it's a product that exists,

00:40:12   and if you like it, you can keep using it,

00:40:14   and we'll never ask you to leave.

00:40:15   And that just, I don't know,

00:40:17   I think when you sell something to somebody,

00:40:21   we feel there's a responsibility for us

00:40:24   to maintain that contract with them,

00:40:26   that they sign up for this thing,

00:40:28   and they expect it to be around,

00:40:30   and we should hold up our side of the contract,

00:40:32   which is different if you're a company

00:40:34   doesn't sell things. If you just give stuff away for free, you don't feel an obligation to anybody

00:40:41   because no one has an obligation to you. Like no one's, no one's invest, no one's betting on

00:40:45   you in a big way. No one's investing their time and their process to really, you know, sink in

00:40:50   and really believe in this thing because they're just getting this thing for free and they just

00:40:53   don't care about it so much. So if we were just giving stuff away for free, it'd be a lot easier

00:40:57   for us to say, "Screw them." But that's, that's not what we do and that's not how we want to act.

00:41:01   I it that you said there's definitely a cost to that sort of strategy but no matter what there's

00:41:08   a cost because what were your other options your other options would have been to go with the new

00:41:15   platform and a you know have like I said like a three month or six month schedule to shutter

00:41:20   the old one and risk alienating a lot of customers which is a cost or you could have just kept

00:41:28   building on the old one and you would have never gotten it to be to satisfy

00:41:34   that itch that you're saying you saw we're like you know what this isn't good

00:41:37   enough for today anymore and if you had just iterated on the old platform you

00:41:42   wouldn't have gotten there that's right we thought about that that was an option

00:41:47   early on which was you know do we and in fact that that's kind of how this whole

00:41:52   thing started not the name change but the new version of base camp a couple

00:41:56   years ago is that we had some new ideas on things we wanted to speed up specifically

00:42:00   in Basecamp.

00:42:03   And we looked at what it would take to do that and structurally, you know, Basecamp

00:42:08   Classic was on an older code base.

00:42:11   It wasn't as up to speed with a variety of things that we were doing at the time, interface

00:42:15   ideas that we had, whatnot.

00:42:17   And retrofitting these new ideas into the old product was going to create sort of a

00:42:25   massive compromise. And that wasn't the way forward. We didn't think a compromise was

00:42:32   the way forward. So we just decided that, look, at the time, of course, it was a big

00:42:38   risk to do a new version of Basecamp. We had no idea what was going to happen. But at the

00:42:41   time, 100% of our customers were using Basecamp Classic. And we just felt like, let's not

00:42:50   rock the boat for them. They're happy already.

00:42:52   But let's spend some time to make sure that with this new version that we do,

00:42:58   which we actually rewrote from scratch,

00:43:00   which is something we said was always a bad idea.

00:43:02   David's always been really, really big on this,

00:43:06   which is rewrites are a terrible idea most of the time.

00:43:09   But it turns out they're terrible if you're just trying to rewrite the back end

00:43:14   just to, you know, but have no customer facing changes.

00:43:17   You just want to change tech or tech stack or something.

00:43:20   that can be really bad.

00:43:21   But if you have fundamentally different ideas

00:43:22   about how to implement something moving forward,

00:43:25   it's actually faster.

00:43:26   It was faster for us to build a new version from scratch

00:43:29   and we got all sorts of other things for free

00:43:30   because we did that.

00:43:31   We got to reconsider all sorts of things along the way.

00:43:34   But yeah, those are the options.

00:43:35   The option was to modify the existing version

00:43:37   in a way that we never thought we could really get it

00:43:39   far enough along where we wanted it to be.

00:43:41   So that was just not gonna happen.

00:43:43   The other option was to force migration to a certain point,

00:43:46   which we thought would be really disruptive

00:43:49   in a bad way and harmful and we'd probably end up with a lot of customers

00:43:54   who loved us who all of a sudden hated us which would be the worst possible

00:43:58   scenario and so even though it was still a hard decision to make a whole new

00:44:02   version of Basecamp it became the obvious decision after weighing all the

00:44:06   options and then the other option was you know not the other option but you

00:44:10   know how easy do we want to make it be to move from classic to the new

00:44:15   version so we spent a lot of time on the migration paths. And what was

00:44:19   interesting about that experience was that we actually made it too easy and

00:44:23   because we made it too easy to move from classic to the new one, a lot of people

00:44:28   who tried the new one who loved classic didn't like the new one because they're

00:44:32   so used to the old one. So we made it almost too easy for them to try it

00:44:35   and then they sort of recoiled because it was so vastly different that they've

00:44:41   never given another chance. They wanted to go back or something. They wanted to go back and they

00:44:45   could because the migration was non-destructive. So we actually made a

00:44:48   copy of the data moving forward. We didn't move any data. So they could

00:44:53   continue to use what they had, but looking back on it now, what I

00:44:57   think we would have done or what we would do differently if we did this

00:45:00   again was not to make it so easy in fact, but to make it a little bit harder to

00:45:05   move. So people didn't sort of out of curiosity try the new thing when they

00:45:10   were perfectly happy with the old thing. We didn't introduce that way. We wouldn't

00:45:13   introduced some extra anxiety that people had when they saw the new one and didn't do

00:45:18   exactly the same things as the old one and people get nervous about that.

00:45:21   So I think we learned a great lesson there, which is don't always make things easier.

00:45:26   In some cases, you want to add an extra step or you want to make things harder.

00:45:28   You want to make people think about things a little bit more before they do them.

00:45:31   Dave Asprey Yeah, and that's a perfect example of what

00:45:34   I've always admired about you guys is that I guess the phrase is, you know, isn't that

00:45:40   one of the slogans of rails there's a framework that it's opinionated software

00:45:43   yes and you guys are definitely opinionated people but it's not a being

00:45:49   opinionated it's strongly opinionated doesn't necessarily mean even though I

00:45:54   think a lot of people jump to the conclusion that it means that you always

00:45:57   think you know better than everybody else our way or the highway that you

00:46:01   guys do have an incredible amount of attention that you pay to your customers

00:46:07   and like a respect for the customer.

00:46:12   - Yeah, I think you have to have that.

00:46:15   I mean, you have to have that if you're a company like us,

00:46:18   which is funded by our customers.

00:46:20   We work for them.

00:46:22   Our job is to help them do their job better.

00:46:24   Like that's what we're here for.

00:46:25   So obviously we wanna make things that we're happy with

00:46:28   and we're proud of, but our customers pay us

00:46:31   and we have to make sure that they're really, really happy

00:46:33   with what we're doing and we have to be thoughtful

00:46:35   about what it's like to be them.

00:46:37   Software companies sometimes can think a lot about themselves

00:46:41   because they think a lot about technology and think a lot about advances and they

00:46:44   think a lot about design and they're talking about how

00:46:47   beautiful things are and how streamlined things are and all these

00:46:51   things but a lot of that stuff doesn't really matter to people who are just

00:46:53   in the trenches doing the work. What they want is not to be

00:46:59   forced into major changes in the middle of a project. I mean think about

00:47:04   like

00:47:04   Think about how disruptive it would be if you're a customer of Basecamp

00:47:07   and you're in the middle of a new project with a client. Maybe it's your first

00:47:12   project with this client, maybe it's an old-time client, who knows?

00:47:15   And it's a seven month project and all of a sudden in month

00:47:18   five and you've got all these assets in Basecamp and then in month five

00:47:22   we, the company, says hey you can't use this anymore you gotta learn this new

00:47:25   thing. Like that is so disruptive to them it'd be terrible business for us to do

00:47:29   that.

00:47:29   But it'd be easy for us to do that and say no this is the way it is. You gotta

00:47:33   you gotta move.

00:47:34   Of course you want this better version of Basecamp.

00:47:36   Why wouldn't you want the better version of Basecamp?

00:47:37   It's so much better.

00:47:39   But it doesn't matter if it's so much better

00:47:41   because they're not, those aren't the qualities

00:47:44   that they're concerned about.

00:47:44   They're concerned about longevity,

00:47:46   they're concerned about consistency,

00:47:47   they're concerned about maintaining order,

00:47:51   they're concerned about looking organized to clients.

00:47:55   They don't wanna force big changes on their clients.

00:47:59   These are the things that matter to them.

00:48:00   Continuity is very important to them

00:48:02   and that's the kind of stuff.

00:48:03   So you got to think about that stuff too.

00:48:04   It's not just about the software and what's better.

00:48:06   Better is not – I've been meaning to write about this.

00:48:09   Maybe this will spur me on to write about it.

00:48:11   But better is not a quality that matters to a lot of people because time is a factor as

00:48:17   well.

00:48:19   Better might matter eight months from now to somebody, but right now, better is not

00:48:22   what they want.

00:48:23   They want continuity right now because people are at different points in the relationship

00:48:27   with a client or project.

00:48:28   So anyway, I'm rambling a bit.

00:48:29   Well, it's almost like, you know, it's the way that better can mean so many different

00:48:33   things where maybe objectively, this news version is better software than the old version.

00:48:39   But what's better for the customer is the lack of an interruption.

00:48:44   Totally.

00:48:45   Right.

00:48:46   And if you just think about, you know, our customers, Basecamp is an important part of

00:48:50   their work, but it's not what they do for a living.

00:48:53   You know, Basecamp is not what they do.

00:48:54   They service clients for a living.

00:48:56   They deliver work to clients for a living.

00:48:57   They take care of clients for a living and to have us all of a sudden jump in the middle

00:49:01   of them and their client and say, "Hey, you got to learn this new system right now even

00:49:04   though you've got a deadline next week."

00:49:06   That would just be so arrogant of us to do that and that would be a terrible move.

00:49:11   You have to be very thoughtful about that kind of stuff and you have to keep in mind

00:49:15   that better is not what people are always looking for.

00:49:17   Yeah.

00:49:18   Let me take a second break here and thank our second sponsor and it's our good friends

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00:52:16   they'll know you came from the show. So we've mentioned him a couple of times. We've mentioned

00:52:23   David. That's David Heinemeier Hansen. How long have you guys been working together?

00:52:28   Since, you know, gosh, I think it's 2001 or 2002.

00:52:37   Pretty much the whole stretch.

00:52:38   I mean, 37 signals existed for a few years before that.

00:52:42   Yes, since '99.

00:52:43   I'm trying to remember.

00:52:44   So David did the first version of Basecamp with me, but before that I'd hired him to

00:52:48   do another project for me, which was a web-based app to manage your book collection.

00:52:55   That was the first time that we worked together and I think that was 2001 at some point.

00:53:02   But he was originally a – he was in school.

00:53:05   He was a student at Copenhagen Business School and so I only bought like 10 hours a week

00:53:09   from him for quite a while.

00:53:12   And it wasn't until Basecamp launched that he actually became an employee and then eventually

00:53:16   became a partner in the business.

00:53:17   I remember it.

00:53:18   I just have to tell this story.

00:53:20   I remember meeting him and I think I maybe we knew each other online, you know

00:53:24   Just you know me writing during fireball and him contributing to to the your guys blog

00:53:30   but we met in person in San Francisco at

00:53:33   the web 2.0 summit in

00:53:36   2005 I think I'm almost sure it was when I was working at joint and

00:53:41   We were demoing we had some web stuff to demo and we built it on rails

00:53:47   And David was there. I'm not quite sure what he was there, but you know something rails related

00:53:52   I mean rails was really really it was new, but it was really hot in 2005

00:53:57   and

00:53:58   We're in San Francisco and it you know is a real shit show

00:54:01   I mean web to anything called web 2.0

00:54:03   I mean 90 95 percent of the people there were just full of shit

00:54:06   And so I guess naturally happens a bunch of us who who you know?

00:54:11   Well, maybe we're full of shit in different ways

00:54:13   But we were full of shit in a different way than a lot of the people who were there we needed lunch

00:54:17   and it was me and David and we had a pretty big group. It was like maybe like ten of us,

00:54:22   but mostly you know like a lot of rails engineers and people were working on rail stuff. Good group

00:54:29   and we had a good lunch. When we went to Chevy's down on, I forget what street it's on there.

00:54:34   Yeah, I remember that.

00:54:35   Don't, you know, and you know not a great restaurant but it was near the hotel where we

00:54:40   were and we had to get back and I'm not afraid to admit it. I've eaten many meals over the years

00:54:45   at San Francisco said that, Chevy's.

00:54:48   Not embarrassed.

00:54:51   But David and I--

00:54:52   I remember, we ordered-- we both got the same thing.

00:54:54   We got the fajitas.

00:54:56   And I don't know that David had ever had fajitas before,

00:55:01   but they sounded good to him.

00:55:02   And I said, ah, they're good.

00:55:03   You like it.

00:55:04   You get chicken and fried onions and peppers,

00:55:07   and you can mix guacamole and all this stuff.

00:55:10   And I'll never forget this.

00:55:12   And then the food comes.

00:55:14   And as anybody who's eaten at a Tex-Mex or Mexican chain

00:55:19   restaurant like that knows, when you get fajitas,

00:55:22   you get a hot sizzling platter with the meat

00:55:25   and the grilled vegetables, and then

00:55:27   a separate thing with the tortillas,

00:55:30   and then little things like here's the guacamole,

00:55:33   here's the salsa, here's the cheese.

00:55:36   And then you get an empty plate, and then you make it yourself.

00:55:39   And my food came, and I started making my thing.

00:55:43   And David just sort of stared at it.

00:55:45   And he goes, why?

00:55:46   Why do I have to do this?

00:55:49   And I really was like, what?

00:55:51   And then he just instantly-- he was just like,

00:55:54   I don't know anything about making a fajita.

00:55:57   Presumably, the people in the kitchen here

00:55:59   are professional chefs.

00:56:01   Why am I expected to be the one to know the proportions that

00:56:05   are going to be the best?

00:56:06   Shouldn't they have done this for me?

00:56:09   and i instantly realized that he's right it's what is the thing that you have to

00:56:13   make your view you put these things together on your own

00:56:17   he he says the same

00:56:18   he says something about burgers he doesn't like construction kit food is how

00:56:22   he puts it

00:56:23   right now i think i don't know if he's changed on that stance but i remember

00:56:26   him always have a construction kit food or you get a burger

00:56:29   you know you know it's kind of open face because you've got the bond and you've

00:56:32   got the lettuce tomato onion like on the bond side

00:56:35   and you've got that the patty on the left with the bond under it

00:56:38   And he's like, "What am I supposed to do?

00:56:42   Why would I make this decision?"

00:56:44   And I think that that, while it's sort of a silly anecdote, it has a lot to do with

00:56:48   how he sees things, which is convention over configuration.

00:56:54   That was one of the fundamental tenets of Rails, which is it should just work out of

00:56:59   the box.

00:57:00   I've made some intelligent decisions for other people the way I think they should be made.

00:57:04   You can go and change them if you want, but if you don't change them, everything works

00:57:07   the way it's supposed to.

00:57:08   I think that that mentality, where he's like,

00:57:12   why would you serve fajitas deconstructed or something,

00:57:15   like what's the point, makes its way into Rails.

00:57:18   - Right, he's like, I don't know what's going to taste good.

00:57:20   And so, you know, like with Rails,

00:57:22   you start a new Rails product.

00:57:23   You don't have to set up all the folders yourself.

00:57:24   You just type, I forget the exact command,

00:57:26   but it's like Rails scaffold or something like that.

00:57:29   And you get the scaffold of an empty Rails project.

00:57:34   And here, here's where you'll put your CSS files.

00:57:37   and here is where you'll put your image files.

00:57:40   Because we've already figured that this is a logical folder

00:57:44   or directory setup, you don't have to worry about it.

00:57:47   You can just start making the images

00:57:48   and putting them in there,

00:57:49   and start making the style sheets and putting them in there.

00:57:52   And I'll never, I just remembered that,

00:57:55   I just remember when he first started,

00:57:56   I was like, what the hell is he talking about?

00:57:58   And within 15 seconds, I was like, yeah, this is bogus.

00:58:03   Why am I doing this?

00:58:04   - It's, yeah, it's one of those things

00:58:06   you don't question until someone from the outside comes in and questions it.

00:58:10   You're like, "I never thought about how ridiculous that is," but you're absolutely right.

00:58:14   But at the same time, there's another angle to it, which is,

00:58:17   and I know we're getting a bit too deep on fajitas here,

00:58:20   but there's another angle which is entertainment and control.

00:58:24   And sometimes, you know, sometimes I feel like we've actually made this mistake

00:58:28   with our products over the years in some cases,

00:58:30   where we've been a little bit too much about convention,

00:58:33   And we haven't given people a little bit of control over their environment.

00:58:38   And people like to have a little bit of control over their environment in terms of what color should this be,

00:58:42   or can I pop my logo in here, things like that.

00:58:46   And so I think you can take it to the extreme in the wrong direction as well.

00:58:51   But anyway, obviously the Happy Medium is the right place.

00:58:54   You don't want to overload people with tons of settings and tons of options

00:58:58   because that's overwhelming and they don't really know what to do.

00:59:01   But sometimes a little bit being too sort of stripped back in terms of customization

00:59:06   is also not a great experience.

00:59:09   So it's kind of a funny thing.

00:59:10   But I think fajitas is like a great metaphor for that because a fajita would be just fine

00:59:15   if you delivered it to me, already folded up with everything in it.

00:59:18   That'd be just great.

00:59:19   But there's also some people who are like, "I want a little bit more meat in mine than

00:59:22   I want vegetables," or, "I don't like peppers," and so everyone has a little bit of flexibility.

00:59:27   I don't like guacamole.

00:59:28   I'm sure that's how it got started.

00:59:29   I'm sure that it got started with somebody who was making them.

00:59:33   And then there was-- the one guy was like,

00:59:35   I want mine without guacamole.

00:59:36   The other guy was like, I don't want any sour cream.

00:59:40   Yeah.

00:59:41   That's how it goes.

00:59:42   And then in every culture, it seems

00:59:44   like there's a hot sizzling plate option.

00:59:48   Like here in Chicago, Greektown, they

00:59:50   have this stuff called saganaki, which is flaming cheese.

00:59:53   And it comes out on a hot griddle.

00:59:55   And the waiter, you know, he takes this,

01:00:00   I think it's orzo or something or whatever,

01:00:02   some Greek liquor and pours it over the top

01:00:05   and lights it with a match and it lights on fire.

01:00:07   And it's like, everyone gets that stuff

01:00:10   because it's like this hot sizzling plate.

01:00:11   And if you go to an Indian restaurant,

01:00:13   sometimes you get tendori chicken,

01:00:15   it comes out in a hot sizzling plate.

01:00:16   This hot sizzling plate thing is like made its way

01:00:18   across the world into every culture.

01:00:20   So a little bit of showtime and food,

01:00:22   I think that's a good thing.

01:00:23   - It always scares me a little bit.

01:00:25   It's kind of crazy, like this hot cast iron disk is placed,

01:00:30   if someone's carrying it with a bunch of other things,

01:00:32   like that could be incredibly tragic if that dropped.

01:00:36   It's sort of playing with fire for real.

01:00:38   - Yeah. - Anyway.

01:00:39   - Let me just do the third sponsor.

01:00:44   It's a good break right there.

01:00:44   - Yeah, sure.

01:00:46   - It actually will lead me into the topic

01:00:48   I was thinking we'd close the show out.

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01:03:38   Back to the show.

01:03:39   So, one of the things you guys did, you guys with the name change, you guys went to, you

01:03:44   you had basecamphq.com from back in the day, and you finally, now you have basecamp.com.

01:03:54   Was that hard?

01:03:55   Well, it wasn't cheap.

01:03:57   I can tell you that.

01:04:01   It was one of those sort of six-figure things we had to do.

01:04:04   Well, we didn't have to do it, actually.

01:04:05   I've never really felt like domains matter that much.

01:04:08   That's what I was going to ask about.

01:04:10   Yeah.

01:04:11   Because it certainly didn't – you only changed last week.

01:04:13   No we changed about we change with the new base camp wasn't it wasn't something that you really paid attention to because it was in our corporate site yeah so that knows to last week so we want to get base camp way back in two thousand four we couldn't get it so we got base camp HQ and we felt like who cares it doesn't really matter.

01:04:30   And i think domains are less and less relevant everyday that goes by because google is kind of the most important domain if you just want to know about base camp they go to google and type base camp and we show up first like that's.

01:04:42   that's how most people get to Basecamp, right? So,

01:04:45   so I don't think domains matter that much, but it felt to me like,

01:04:50   it just was one of these irritants. I just wanted it gone. I wanted this HQ part gone and

01:04:55   and I really wanted this to be Basecamp.com and so we talked to this guy who owned it.

01:05:02   You know, look, we have the trademark, we could have gone after it legally in some way, but

01:05:10   Anytime a lawyer is involved is like an unfortunate unhappy day for me. So I'd rather not

01:05:15   bring lawyers into anything that I absolutely don't have to and I would I would rather spend more money not with a lawyer than then

01:05:21   spend money with a lawyer. So I like our lawyers, but I'd rather not have to bring them into things like this.

01:05:27   So we negotiate with this guy for a while and finally he was willing to do to do something and it was a pretty smooth

01:05:33   transfer at that point and

01:05:35   you know at the end of the day, I'm very happy we did it. I don't regret it for a moment.

01:05:39   I think it's just it's better for us especially now with our company being the same name as the product and everything's being base camp

01:05:45   Just like one little nagging irritant every night as you went to sleep. It was

01:05:50   In like, you know high-rise is high-rise HQ and campfires campfire now calm and backpack is backpack it calm

01:05:57   We never ever had

01:05:59   Our own pure domain. It was just bugging me and so, you know 15 years

01:06:05   well actually 13 years into it, I felt like okay it's time to splurge 13 years into it.

01:06:10   Like this is the same thing we did with our office. We got it, you know, we've been,

01:06:13   as you mentioned at the start of the show, we've been sharing office space pretty much for our

01:06:17   entire existence. And then 10 years into it, 11 years into it, I'm like it's finally time to spend

01:06:23   some money in an office. So we did that and then I feel like now it's finally time to spend some

01:06:28   money in domain. So I don't ever recommend anybody spending a ton of money to get a domain name when

01:06:33   and when they're starting a business,

01:06:34   it seems like the worst possible way to spend money.

01:06:37   That money should be precious to you

01:06:40   and you should hold onto that and you're gonna need it

01:06:42   'cause things are gonna be tough when you get started.

01:06:44   But at a certain point, if you wanna make a luxury spend,

01:06:48   I think it's a nice thing to do if you can afford it.

01:06:50   - Yeah, I think especially with the second bunch

01:06:55   of top level domains that have come into

01:07:00   somewhat widespread use over the last few years,

01:07:02   the country code ones, like .io.

01:07:05   And so at Q branch with Vesper, we just got .cos, .co,

01:07:10   which I think has the, I think it's popular

01:07:14   because it looks like .com, but it's widely used enough

01:07:18   that it doesn't seem weird anymore.

01:07:20   But we, and we got them for, you know,

01:07:23   just the regular 15 bucks that it costs

01:07:26   to register a new domain.

01:07:28   - Yeah, and look, you're not losing sales over that, right?

01:07:30   You know, it doesn't affect you guys at all.

01:07:33   People are gonna talk about Vesper

01:07:34   because someone's used Vesper

01:07:36   and they're gonna look at it on the App Store.

01:07:37   - And I know from the analytics how people find it.

01:07:40   They go to Google and they type Vesper app.

01:07:43   - Yeah, there you go.

01:07:44   - And that's where it goes.

01:07:45   I mean, honestly, we could have a domain name

01:07:48   that doesn't even have Vesper in it

01:07:49   and it could just say like Qbranch.co/app

01:07:54   and people would get there because they go from Google.

01:07:56   - Yeah, so I, you know, it's just, it doesn't matter.

01:08:00   But we just waited long enough, and it was tugging at me

01:08:03   long enough that I just said, screw it.

01:08:04   Let's do it and get it done.

01:08:06   So the last thing I wanted to talk about

01:08:08   was a story I linked to today during Fireball.

01:08:11   It was a post by John Bell, who used to work at Real Networks

01:08:17   from 2000 to 2005.

01:08:19   And I feel like this whole show, it's a trip down memory lane

01:08:25   to 2000 to 2005.

01:08:27   But at the time, real was-- it's hard to imagine.

01:08:31   It's one of those things where, man, time's changed so fast.

01:08:34   But at the time, real player-- an awful lot of video on the web

01:08:37   was real player.

01:08:38   And you had to get this plug-in.

01:08:41   And anybody who's old enough will remember.

01:08:44   But if you're too young or you have a bad memory,

01:08:48   it was this plug-in you'd get for the Mac or Windows.

01:08:51   And it would enable your web browser

01:08:53   to play proprietary real player audio and video.

01:08:58   And it was such a pain in the ass to get.

01:09:01   And you could get to their website, but their website,

01:09:04   they made the link hard to find.

01:09:06   And they had a paid version they were trying to get you to have.

01:09:08   And there was a free version, but it was really hard to find.

01:09:13   It was enough that you would think,

01:09:15   when you're setting up a computer for your parents

01:09:17   and you hadn't been there in a couple of months,

01:09:21   or you just bought yourself a new computer

01:09:23   and wanted to get it installed.

01:09:27   I would think to myself, am I nuts?

01:09:29   Am I nuts that I can't find this anymore?

01:09:33   And then once you had it, it was just bad software.

01:09:36   And they were always upselling you and stuff.

01:09:39   And John Bell, who was there, had a piece today.

01:09:42   And he said that inside the company, it was everybody knew

01:09:45   and that they would complain about it.

01:09:48   And everybody would think, well, what can we do about it,

01:09:51   whatever.

01:09:51   and but they were well aware of it.

01:09:53   They knew that people didn't like their app

01:09:57   or their, I don't know, the plugin,

01:09:59   whatever you wanna call it.

01:10:00   They didn't like the website.

01:10:01   They resented the whole thing.

01:10:03   But that one day his manager called him in

01:10:05   and took him to a whiteboard and drew this graph

01:10:08   and it was like a straight line, then it had a drop,

01:10:10   and then the line went back up.

01:10:12   And he goes, "This is our revenue.

01:10:13   "Here, this drop, this is where we tried

01:10:16   "to get rid of these tactics.

01:10:18   "We tried to do what you're saying we should do,

01:10:20   and when we did, the money dried up.

01:10:23   So what do you think we should do?

01:10:24   Should we do that and fire half of our employees

01:10:26   or should we keep going?

01:10:28   And I thought, you know, it's exactly what I assumed

01:10:33   was the case, but I'd never heard it from anybody

01:10:35   who'd worked there before.

01:10:36   I just presumed, they have to know, and I was like,

01:10:38   they must somehow have painted themselves in a corner

01:10:41   where this is the only way they're keeping the lights on.

01:10:44   But to me, it's like, there is no good answer

01:10:47   to that question at that point, because you've already,

01:10:50   you've already painted yourself in the corner.

01:10:52   There's no way out.

01:10:54   And that the trick is that you should never, ever

01:10:58   find yourself, even at the beginning,

01:11:00   even in the early days, just one bad decision.

01:11:04   You should never put your users' or customers' interests

01:11:08   in opposition to your company's interests.

01:11:12   - Yeah, I love this post.

01:11:15   I'm glad you linked it up.

01:11:15   I looked at it briefly earlier,

01:11:17   and then I was just kind of reading through it

01:11:18   as you were talking.

01:11:19   And to me this is such a fundamental thing because when you launch, and I remember real

01:11:29   networks, it's amazing how dominant they were and then how quickly they went away.

01:11:34   I mean that was the only way to play audio and video basically on the web for many years

01:11:38   and then boom, gone.

01:11:39   It just seemed like they were gone overnight.

01:11:43   And I think when you start getting into really complicated tricky business models like this,

01:11:48   This is where you're going to find yourself.

01:11:52   I think the closer you are to business 101, which is make something worth paying for and

01:11:56   charge for it right from the bat, right from the start, just like every other business

01:12:00   on the planet does, the closer you're going to be to having a really solid business where

01:12:05   the right thing for you is the right thing for the customers.

01:12:08   But the further away you are from business 101, which is what Real Networks was, which

01:12:13   was like give stuff away for free, do some weird stuff, hide little links here, you know,

01:12:18   be annoying. The more you go in that direction, the further apart your interests are going

01:12:25   to be. This is something that I've always believed very strongly in, which is that business

01:12:30   is not that complicated unless you make it complicated. Obviously, I'm not saying it's

01:12:35   easy. It's hard to build a successful business, but fundamentally it's not a complicated thing.

01:12:40   You make something that is worth paying for, and you sell it to people, and they get more

01:12:45   value out of it than you charge them for it. Like you're in a good position as long as

01:12:49   you can cover your costs you could do that forever. You're in a really good spot and

01:12:52   that's what it should be about. And so here you know at Basecamp now this is something

01:12:58   we talk about all the time. In fact like selling, potentially selling High Rise or Campfire

01:13:03   or just deciding to sunset them in a way where only existing customers can use them. That

01:13:08   could have a short term impact on our revenue in a negative way. We're not going to have

01:13:12   as much revenue coming in as we did, but I've never been one who's been interested in maximizing

01:13:17   revenue to the last percentage point.

01:13:19   I don't find that to be an enjoyable experience or an interesting one.

01:13:24   I always try and figure out the right thing to do in a situation, and if that means a

01:13:28   little bit less money, as long as my expenses are covered and everything's okay, I'm totally

01:13:32   fine with that.

01:13:34   But when you start getting into this situation, which is like, do the right thing and we go

01:13:38   out of business, you're screwed.

01:13:41   Like you said, you're screwed.

01:13:42   You've been screwed for a long time and there's very little hope that you can get out of it

01:13:46   unless you have a long enough time ahead of you, unless you have 10, 20 years to right

01:13:51   that wrong.

01:13:52   Most companies in that position don't because they're funded by investors.

01:13:56   That's why in the first place they're able to give stuff away for free because they didn't

01:13:59   have to make money.

01:14:00   When you don't have to make money upfront, you're not going to be good at it when it's

01:14:02   time to make money and then you're screwed.

01:14:05   This is a great post.

01:14:06   I think revenue maximization as a number one priority can often--

01:14:16   it leads to ruin, but it leads to ruin 10 years down the road,

01:14:20   maybe 20 years down the road.

01:14:22   And then all of a sudden, nobody even remembers the decisions

01:14:24   that led you there.

01:14:26   But it just starts you down the path

01:14:28   of making decisions that pit you against your customers

01:14:32   and users.

01:14:33   Totally.

01:14:33   And this happens a lot in public companies.

01:14:37   And companies that are forced to go public

01:14:38   because now you gotta make quarterly numbers

01:14:40   and that's where all this stuff starts to happen again.

01:14:43   - I'll give you an example.

01:14:44   I think, for example, I would be absolutely terrified

01:14:49   to be an executive at or to own stock in a cable company,

01:14:55   like let's say Comcast or Time Warner.

01:14:58   Because it's, hey, Comcast makes tons of money

01:15:02   and they're headquartered here in Philly.

01:15:05   They have the biggest skyscraper in the city

01:15:07   and they just announced plans

01:15:08   for the second biggest skyscraper in the city

01:15:11   right next door.

01:15:12   They bought NBC Universal a couple years ago.

01:15:16   Tons of money.

01:15:17   But I would be terrified to be part of that

01:15:22   because it's so clear that people hate their cable companies

01:15:27   and they resent the bills that they pay every month for.

01:15:30   And I don't know what the path is to monthly cable subscribers

01:15:40   collapsing or shriveling away or something like that.

01:15:43   And maybe it won't happen.

01:15:44   I don't know.

01:15:45   But the fact is that so many people want it to happen, to me, is terrible.

01:15:50   I feel like-- and not terrible in any kind of moral sense,

01:15:53   but terrible in those type of situations usually end up badly at some point.

01:15:59   there's that and then there's also just the morale of employees.

01:16:03   You know, when everybody hates your company,

01:16:06   it's not a good place to go to work.

01:16:08   And when the morale starts to dive,

01:16:12   and people aren't motivated to work because everyone hates them.

01:16:16   And like when customers call up on the phone, they just, you know,

01:16:18   yell at the customer service folks. Like it's just not a pleasant place.

01:16:22   And great things don't come from those environments. You know,

01:16:25   I don't think companies like that are capable over the long term of delivering great things

01:16:30   when their employees don't want to be there or are ashamed of being there or don't agree

01:16:35   with what they're doing.

01:16:36   So I think these are long term things.

01:16:41   I think Comcast made a really smart decision back before cable modems were out.

01:16:47   They were just basically cable provider, a TV cable, TV provider, and if they stuck with

01:16:51   that they'd be dead.

01:16:54   Since they own the pipe into your house and since they provide the connectivity that drives all these other things

01:17:00   They probably have a much longer runway than they would have so that was smart, but you're right

01:17:05   I mean you get your cable bill like that in fact. I was just I

01:17:09   Don't have cable TV at home, and I was thinking about getting it because I wanted to watch the Bulls

01:17:13   And I can only watch some of the some of the games on local WGN TV right in Chicago

01:17:19   So the only reason I want to get cable is for live sports.

01:17:23   That is the only reason I want to get cable.

01:17:25   And I have a feeling that I'm not alone there.

01:17:27   I think a lot of people just get cable for live sports.

01:17:30   And then, okay, so I didn't, but I didn't do it

01:17:34   'cause it was just, it seemed so expensive

01:17:36   just to watch live sports for me, which is one team.

01:17:40   So I didn't do it.

01:17:41   And then I started looking into some other options,

01:17:43   like what else could I do?

01:17:44   And I landed on NBA, game time or whatever it's called,

01:17:48   where you can buy a package and watch eight teams live

01:17:52   on your computer or iPad or iPhone, right?

01:17:55   So I sign up for that, but I find out

01:17:58   that I can't get the Bulls because it's

01:18:00   a local blackout market.

01:18:02   And I'm just like, all these rules,

01:18:04   you know this is going to come crumbling down.

01:18:06   There's no way you can maintain this moat

01:18:08   with these tiny exception rules.

01:18:10   It's going to turn.

01:18:11   And the moment that that turns, I would look out below.

01:18:15   And I would not want to be a shareholder.

01:18:17   You're totally right.

01:18:17   You know, the baseball is exactly like that, where--

01:18:20   and MLB has a great, great, great--

01:18:24   I mean, just cutting edge.

01:18:25   I think the NBA is hot on their heels

01:18:27   as maybe the second most involved pro network

01:18:30   with the internet and delivering stuff.

01:18:32   But it works out super great for me

01:18:35   as a Yankees fan living in Philadelphia,

01:18:37   but I couldn't watch the Phillies.

01:18:40   And I go to New York a couple times a year,

01:18:42   and I was there last year.

01:18:44   And I'm so used to being able to watch the Yankees on my iPhone or iPad.

01:18:50   And it stopped working.

01:18:51   And I was so confused.

01:18:53   And I thought, oh, it's the blackout.

01:18:55   I'm actually-- now that I'm in New York, I can't do this thing, which is awesome,

01:18:58   and which is just a totally arbitrary, makes no technical sense rule.

01:19:05   And anything like that, where you're pushing people.

01:19:08   And you can do things like sign up for a VPN type thing,

01:19:13   where you redirect your internet traffic through, you know, make it look like you're in Florida

01:19:18   or somewhere else and then you can do it.

01:19:23   It just doesn't end up well.

01:19:25   If you're asking your customers to do so or not encouraging but like if the rules you're

01:19:32   set up make your customers want to do stuff like that, you – I just don't think it's

01:19:38   sustainable in the long run.

01:19:39   And I think this comes full circle because this comes back to the reason why a lot of people in big organizations use something like base camp

01:19:46   they're not actually allowed to

01:19:48   but they do because

01:19:50   What they're told they have to do doesn't work and so people do hack around systems

01:19:55   Take to get into to be able to use something that they're not technically permitted to use

01:20:00   But they want to use and and I think like like you said setting up a VPN or having a friend who lives somewhere else

01:20:06   You know sign up for you in some way like HBO go people do this all the time with HBO go, right?

01:20:11   They they they use a friend's login who has cables like I can't get HBO go another great example. I want to watch HBO

01:20:18   I love HBO. I can't watch HBO because I'm most importantly and most importantly though you want to pay for HBO

01:20:25   Yes, right. You're not saying you're not saying I want to get it for free

01:20:29   You're saying I would love to pay for HBO, please

01:20:32   I want to pay for HBO and I'd be happy to pay

01:20:34   100 bucks a season 150 bucks a season 200 bucks a season to the NBA to watch the Bulls

01:20:40   I would be do that in a moment in a moment

01:20:41   In fact, I was signing up for for NBA season pass or whatever it's called

01:20:46   It's like 130 bucks or whatever it is. And like I was so glad that I could buy

01:20:51   My Bulls viewing I was like so pumped and then I find out that I can't because I'm the Chicago market

01:20:58   Of course, I want to watch the Bulls. I'm in Chicago

01:21:00   Like what a weird setup that I can't watch my home team. It just it's such a busted system

01:21:06   So whenever I see things like that out there

01:21:09   It's so obvious that those those institutions are hanging on for dear life and who knows when they'll come crumbling down

01:21:13   But something's gonna happen right? So like MLB I know that they've had and there's about the same price

01:21:18   I think it's it's 120 bucks something somewhere around there per season

01:21:22   and again

01:21:24   And they've had year-over-year growth for years and years and years

01:21:27   I mean, they started even before mobile stuff where you had to use Flash on a website to

01:21:31   do it.

01:21:32   But every year there, it's grown.

01:21:34   And that's people who are signing up for a $100 subscription, right?

01:21:38   Which is a ton, you know?

01:21:39   Yeah.

01:21:40   In this world where everybody says, "Oh, if it's not free, it's never gonna work."

01:21:43   People, you know, year over year growth, $100 per season, and it's all of that is without

01:21:50   anybody getting their local team, which has gotta be 95% of the people who would sign

01:21:55   up for it.

01:21:56   you even imagine how many people would sign up for it, pay the hundred dollars, if they

01:22:01   could watch their local team. And one of the great things that I think makes sports a sustainable

01:22:08   long-term business is that if anything, stuff like Twitter and other things have made the

01:22:14   – everybody usually wants to watch sports live anyway or near live because who wants

01:22:19   to watch yesterday's game? You want to watch today's game. It means you're going to

01:22:23   to be there during the commercial breaks, right? If you're caught up and you're watching

01:22:27   live, those are commercial breaks that people aren't going to skip over, right? I almost

01:22:33   never watch commercial. I don't watch that much commercial TV, but when I do, it's on

01:22:37   TiVo and the commercials get forwarded. But when I'm watching sports, the commercials

01:22:41   play because I'm caught up because I don't want to be behind because I have my Twitter

01:22:44   open and it'll get spoiled.

01:22:47   It's totally spot-on and then it's all great ads. I know and then also

01:22:52   You know you're talking about fans and so fans are fired up and like I was so out truly was so excited to spend

01:23:02   $130 with the NBA I was like wow I can do this I can watch the Bulls on my iPad killer

01:23:09   I am in I am so in and I was so far up and then I get there and and it's basically like you know

01:23:14   Face in hand like no you can't and then I was I was somebody who they had sold

01:23:20   130 bucks and all of a sudden they tell me no like that is a moment where you actually get pissed off at a company

01:23:26   it's not a moment like oh, man, that's too bad you actually are pissed off and

01:23:30   Companies are pissing off people who have money who want to spend it you can see things are just breaking down there

01:23:37   And that just really bummed me out

01:23:39   So I'm just like I was like I was pissed at a company that I wanted to give 130 bucks

01:23:44   Normally, I'm not pissed at a company. I want to buy something from I'm excited to buy something from a company, right?

01:23:49   so anyway

01:23:50   I I the way in the way I see it as a like I said that I just see it as

01:23:54   Inevitable that it's gonna crumble is that if you don't have your customers and users behind you and and their enthusiasm and their loyalty

01:24:03   You've you're creating an opportunity and maybe the technology doesn't exist yet

01:24:09   But technology, you know, new technology, that's the whole point of, you know, everything we do and talk about.

01:24:14   It's coming and

01:24:18   you're creating opportunities for potential disruptors in the future.

01:24:23   It's gonna happen. I mean, of course, the tricky thing there, right, is licensing and... but still, like, at one point,

01:24:31   somewhere in the future, this is gonna get worked out.

01:24:33   Clearly. It's clearly gonna get worked out and there's gonna be a new company that's able to do something

01:24:38   one's done before and it's probably not going to be Comcast.

01:24:41   Right. Well, and the big thing, like you said, they own the pipe. Here's the thing that could

01:24:46   happen. I mean, LTE is already... It's not as fast as my cable pipe, but LTE is pretty fast.

01:24:53   Now, the big problem with LTE as it stands now is everybody's got data caps, right? It's almost

01:24:58   impossible to get an unlimited LTE. But, you know, five years ago we were all using Edge iPhones. I

01:25:08   mean, this stuff moves fast. Who knows, you know, what cellular wireless networking will be in just

01:25:14   five years, five more years. You know, maybe it's still LTE, but it's the limit is 20 times higher.

01:25:21   Or maybe it's something a generation ahead of LTE and it's faster than cable. And they can't

01:25:27   keep up because the cable is a literal copper pipe

01:25:31   underneath the streets of the city that they can't just dig up all at once like yeah, you know

01:25:37   it may be impossible for someone else to get a physical pipe in the house like

01:25:40   like what the cable monopolies have but I don't know something wireless seems to me like

01:25:46   It would be crazy to me if ten years from now

01:25:49   We don't have something wireless that could replace cable totally agree. And I mean Comcast will probably try and buy that company. It's funny

01:25:56   I have a farmhouse up in Wisconsin about three hours from Chicago and there's no internet

01:26:01   Access up there for me because I'm sort of in a valley and I don't have line of so first of all there's no cable

01:26:06   internet

01:26:09   There's some line of sight options, but I can't get to those cuz I'm in a valley and I don't have line of sight

01:26:14   There's Hughes satellite, which is really terrible and slow

01:26:17   And then there's dial-up which is really bad and the only option I had at the time. This is about three years ago was

01:26:26   was actually getting a T1 line, which is, you know,

01:26:28   physically bringing a circuit, a phone line to your place

01:26:32   that only used, and it cost me 600 bucks a month

01:26:35   to have a T1 line, and I did it for a while

01:26:38   because I needed internet access, 'cause I told myself

01:26:40   when I'm up there I might work, or whatever it was, right?

01:26:42   So I did this for a while.

01:26:43   And then Verizon comes around and offers 3G,

01:26:48   like it's kind of a remote location,

01:26:49   but they added some 3G towers along the highway,

01:26:53   And boom, like 3G speed was actually better than the T1.

01:26:57   It was like, you know, 50 bucks a month on a MIFI or whatever they're called.

01:27:01   Yeah, I know what you mean.

01:27:02   Like boom, immediately like 600 bucks, no, I cancel.

01:27:05   50 bucks a month.

01:27:06   And now they have 4G LTE there, which is the same price and you know, like 10X faster than 3G or whatever it is.

01:27:13   And this is just a matter of three years.

01:27:15   And I went from spending $600 reluctantly to being excited to spend $50 a month to have this service.

01:27:21   So things are changing, obviously, rapidly.

01:27:25   And I think the companies that are set up to fall

01:27:28   are the ones that really piss customers off.

01:27:30   And they're just holding on.

01:27:33   They're just almost stockpiling money

01:27:35   through fees and annoyances, because I

01:27:37   think they have a sense that they're going

01:27:39   to need that down the road.

01:27:40   Yeah, totally.

01:27:41   Yeah.

01:27:43   I thought you'd agree.

01:27:46   I do.

01:27:46   I do.

01:27:47   It's a bummer.

01:27:47   It's a bummer that's the state of things.

01:27:49   It's also kind of exciting because these are the moments

01:27:54   where new things happen.

01:27:55   Things don't happen, great new things don't happen,

01:27:58   everyone's content.

01:28:00   There has to be struggle.

01:28:01   People have to be upset with something.

01:28:02   There has to be injustice in some way.

01:28:04   Someone just has to be pissed enough for them

01:28:06   to come up with a brand new idea.

01:28:08   And so these moments are actually exciting for me

01:28:10   because these are the times that I know something great

01:28:12   is gonna be here in three years.

01:28:13   - Unhappy customers are a great opportunity.

01:28:16   - Oh yeah, certainly, certainly.

01:28:18   And like you said, business sometimes is not that complicated.

01:28:21   Make something that's fair, fairly priced, that works well, that's clear.

01:28:29   It's hard still to be in business, but it doesn't have to be anywhere near as hard as

01:28:33   people make it to be with all these fancy, strange business models that they're going

01:28:37   to figure out down the road.

01:28:38   You don't have to figure things out down the road.

01:28:40   It's not complicated.

01:28:41   Sell something that you make.

01:28:42   People will buy it.

01:28:43   People buy food every day.

01:28:44   They buy clothes every day.

01:28:45   They buy transportation.

01:28:46   things and that's how they exist and to say that that model doesn't work doesn't make

01:28:55   any sense to me. I think it absolutely works.

01:28:57   Yeah.

01:28:58   Anyway.

01:28:59   All right. Great show. Thank you for being here, Jason.

01:29:01   That was fun.

01:29:03   Basecamp.com is the company and the product and the new website for the blog is, I believe,

01:29:10   correct me if I'm wrong, SignalVNoise.com.

01:29:13   That's right.

01:29:15   if you just do what we said in Google's signal signal versus noise blog you'll

01:29:20   find it yeah in fact great example we try to get signal vs noise calm taken so

01:29:25   V that works yeah who cares yeah to guarantee you will not alter your

01:29:31   readership by one person oh I don't think so I think so all right well I

01:29:35   should go because I got to get back to playing flappy bird