Outline

Corporate orthodoxy celebrates craziness at work, meetings all the time, long work weeks, multiple projects for everyone, hair on fire.

This is not the only way, and the authors advocate for the calm, thoughtful environment they created at Basecamp that allows productivity and creativity to blossom while respecting the individual.

Reading notes

It's crazy but there's no reason for it

About goals

Remove the bs:

Modern-day offices have become interruption factories.

Protect time

Relation with company

Calm

Slow down

“If it’s important, slow down.”

Compromise on quality

you do one thing at 100 percent, you’ve spent 100 percent to get that one thing. If you spend 20 percent each on getting five things to 80 percent, well, then, you’ve done five things! We’ll almost always take that trade.

Doing stuff

The only way to get more done is to have less to do.

Consumption model & customers

It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work

By Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Reading notes

Location: 82

The answer isn’t more hours, it’s less bullshit.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 93

No hair on fire.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 132

think of the company as a product,

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 171

rarely hear about people working three low-end jobs out of necessity wearing that grind with pride. It’s only the pretenders, those who aren’t exactly struggling for subsistence, who feel the need to brag about their immense sacrifice.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 227

Goals are fake. Nearly all of them are artificial targets set for the sake of setting targets.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 229

when that happens, you’re supposed to pick new ones and start stressing again.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 230

There are four quarters to a year. Forty to a decade. Every one of them has to produce, exceed, and beat EXPECTATIONS.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 233

Chasing goals often leads companies to compromise their morals, honesty, and integrity to reach those fake numbers.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 243

You can absolutely run a great business without a single goal. You don’t need something fake to do something real.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 266

Every six weeks or so, we decide what we’ll be working on next.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 295

Being comfortable in your zone is essential to being calm.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 323

For example, we don’t have status meetings at Basecamp. We all know these meetings—one person talks for a bit and shares some plans, then the next person does the same thing. They’re a waste of time.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 381

Ask people where they go when they really need to get something done. One answer you’ll rarely hear: the office.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 387

Modern-day offices have become interruption factories.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 388

When you’re on the inside, you’re a resource who can be polled, interrogated, or pulled into a meeting.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 403

It’s wonderful when the right answer unlocks insight or progress. But it’s terrible when that one expert is fielding their fifth random question of the day and suddenly the day is done.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 406

The problem comes when you make it too easy—and always acceptable—to pose any question as soon as it comes to mind. Most questions just aren’t that pressing, but the urge to ask the expert immediately is irresistible.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 412

You can’t plan your own day if everyone else is using it up randomly. So we borrowed an idea from academia: office hours. All subject-matter experts at Basecamp now publish office hours. For some that means an open afternoon every Tuesday. For others it might be one hour a day. It’s up to each expert to decide their availability.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 426

You can’t just reach into someone’s calendar, find an open slot, and plant your flag.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 429

Effectively, people are encouraged to slice other people’s days into little 30-minute chunks of red, green, and blue appointment blocks.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 434

Taking someone’s time should be a pain in the ass. Taking many people’s time should be so cumbersome that most people won’t even bother to try it unless it’s REALLY IMPORTANT! Meetings should be a last resort, especially big ones.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 496

One way we push back against this at Basecamp is by writing monthly “Heartbeats.”

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 506

Companies love to declare “We’re all family here.” No, you’re not.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 511

Whenever executives talk about how their company is really like a big ol’ family, beware. They’re usually not referring to how the company is going to protect you no matter what or love you unconditionally. You know, like healthy families would. Their motive is rather more likely to be a unidirectional form of sacrifice: yours.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 544

“Another concept we talk a lot about is something called a ‘trust battery.’ It’s charged at 50 percent when people are first hired.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 554

A low trust battery is at the core of many personal disputes at work. It powers stressful encounters and anxious moments. When the battery is drained, everything is wrong, everything is judged harshly. A 10 percent charge equals a 90 percent chance an interaction will go south.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 567

If the boss really wants to know what’s going on, the answer is embarrassingly obvious: They have to ask!

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 649

If it’s easier for work to claim a Sunday than for life to borrow a Thursday, there ain’t no balance.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 653

And it’s also why if you decide you want to take a Wednesday to hang with your kids, that’s cool, too. You don’t have to “make up” the day—just be responsible with your time and make sure your team knows when you won’t be around. It all rounds out in the end. The same thing is true with weekday nights. If work can claim hours after 5:00 p.m., then life should be able to claim hours before 5:00 p.m. Balance, remember. Give and take.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 731

most people just don’t enjoy haggling, period. Not for a car, not for a house, not for their livelihood. It’s an unpleasant situation,

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 760

There are no stock options at Basecamp because we never intend to sell the company. Besides, if you’ve worked somewhere where stock options are a healthy percentage of compensation, you know the stress a volatile market can cause. Not exactly a conductor of calm.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 813

Not a single benefit aimed at trapping people at the office.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 826

Rather than thinking of it as an office, we think of it as a library. In fact, we call our guiding principle: Library Rules.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 873

If you don’t clearly communicate to everyone else why someone was let go, the people who remain at the company will come up with their own story to explain it.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 903

“If it’s important, slow down.”

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 904

something is being discussed in a chat room and it’s clearly too important to process one line at a time, we ask people to “write it up” instead.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 928

Another way to think about our deadlines is that they’re based on budgets, not estimates.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 948

When we present work, it’s almost always written up first. A complete idea in the form of a carefully composed multipage document. Illustrated, whenever possible. And then it’s posted to Basecamp, which lets everyone involved know there’s a complete idea waiting to be considered.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 960

Give it a try sometime. Don’t meet, write. Don’t react, consider.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1012

We want our teams to be able to glide by one another independently rather than get tripped up in lockstep.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1046

disagree and commit

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1055

It’s not just decide and go, it’s decide, explain, and go.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1057

Just Fine for plenty of people).

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1059

You just can’t bring your A game to every situation. Knowing when to embrace Good Enough is what gives you the opportunity to be truly excellent when you need to be.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1065

you do one thing at 100 percent, you’ve spent 100 percent to get that one thing. If you spend 20 percent each on getting five things to 80 percent, well, then, you’ve done five things! We’ll almost always take that trade.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1082

Once the initial exploration is over, every week should lead us closer to being done, not further from it. Commit to an idea. See it through. Make it happen. You can always go back later, but only if you actually finish.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1097

Sometimes we assume that someone has to like or dislike something. Often they just get used to something and that’s what they prefer. Taking that away is a violent act, not a gentle one.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1132

There’s no end to advice claiming to be the best.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1159

You’re probably just trying to meet some arbitrary deadline set by those who don’t actually have to do the work.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1178

The only way to get more done is to have less to do.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1198

one or two rather than four or five. We don’t throw more people at problems, we chop problems down until they can be carried across the finish line by teams of three.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1292

We’ve rejected the per-seat business model from day one. It’s not because we don’t like money, but because we like our freedom more!

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1293

The problem with per-seat pricing is that it makes your biggest customers your best customers.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1379

You’ll often hear that people don’t like change, but that’s not quite right. People have no problem with change they asked for. What people don’t like is forced change—change

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1392

This is why we still run three completely different versions of Basecamp: our original software that we sold from 2004 to 2012, our second version that we sold from 2012 to 2015, and our third version that launched in 2015.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1426

When you deal with people who have trouble, you can either choose to take the token that says “It’s no big deal” or the token that says “It’s the end of the world.” Whichever token you pick, they’ll take the other.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1437

Keep that in mind the next time you take a token. Which one are you leaving for the customer?

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson

Location: 1441

Companies typically downsize their offerings when they’re not doing well. We did the opposite. We cut back in the best of times. At the moment we scaled back, business had never been better.

~ It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, Jason Fried; David Heinemeier Hansson