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Rework is back! This week we tackle how Basecamp, tech, and business have changed in the last eleven years.

Show Notes

In this episode we dive deep into the introduction and chapter 1 of Rework, The New Reality.

Show Notes

What is Rework?

A podcast by Basecamp about the better way to work and run your business. In Season 2, we're going through Rework (the book) chapter by chapter and talking with authors, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, about what's changed in the world of business over the last eleven years since the book was published.

[00:00:00] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.

Shaun: [00:00:01] Welcome to Rework, a podcast by Basecamp about the better way to work and run your business. I'm your host, Shaun Hildner.

[00:00:07] On this new format for the podcast, I'm going back through the original text and talking to the authors of Rework, the book, Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson about what's changed or not over the last decade plus since the book was published.

[00:00:20] This week, we're discussing the introduction and chapter one, which is titled “The New Reality”.

[00:00:28] All right, well, welcome to whatever this new version of Rework is. I was talking to David, before you got on Jason. What we're doing is, I wanted to go back to Rework the book and talk to both of you about what's changed in the last, what 11 years is that? When was this published, it was, yeah.

David: [00:00:48] 2010. Yeah, 11 years.

Shaun: [00:00:50] So, it's been over a decade. I'm assuming we've learned some things about the things you write about in the book. And we're going to try to keep it like a book club. So we can go chapter by chapter and if our listeners want to follow along, they can do so.

[00:01:04] And I think for this first episode, let's cover the Intro and then Chapter One: The New Reality. So, welcome to Rework, David Heinemeier Hansson, and Jason Fried.

Jason: [00:01:16] Hey, Shaun.

David: [00:01:16] Hey.

Shaun: [00:01:17] So, to start out, when is the last time you guys read any of these?

Jason: [00:01:21] You mean Rework?

Shaun: [00:01:22] Yeah, any of these essays?

Jason: [00:01:25] It's probably… it's been a number of years, I would say, since I've read the book. Yeah.

David: [00:01:30] Same.

Shaun: [00:01:30] I mean, since writing it.

Jason: [00:01:31] No, no, I did. I've read it a few times since, but it’s been a while. It's been, what, 11 years since we published it. So it's been, it's probably been a good five, six years, since I—I mean, I refer to it occasionally. I'll open it, and—but I haven't read it cover to cover in a long, long time.

Shaun: [00:01:44] Yeah, yeah. Well, in the intro, let's jump into this. You start by saying this book is something new to say about business. Do you still feel like you have new things to say about business? And that, sort of the other question there is, have you seen anything change in sort of the business world or even the tech industry?

Jason: [00:02:04] Well, I think our latest book, “It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work” is sort of our latest take. It's really the spiritual successor to Rework. More-so than Remote was. Remote was a very specific topic. But It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work, I think is our latest feeling about work and how it should be run. And I think it's similar to Rework in that way. But there's, I think, a little bit more of a focus on time, on sort of the chaos that I think work has become more and more over the past 11 years. I think things seem busier, people seem busier than ever. Technology exists today that keeps people busier than ever. And it's become much, much, much harder to separate yourself from work, I think over the past 11 years.

[00:02:44] Especially given the fact that like, when we wrote that book, I think the iPhone was like three years old or something like that. And I don't even know if at that point, they had native apps yet, I forget how long it took for them to do that.

Shaun: [00:02:56] Oh, before the App Store, right.

Jason: [00:02:59] Yeah. So like, you kind of had to open your laptop back then to sort of be absorbed in work, except for email. Email was always a thing. But now there's just so many reasons to pull you back. So, I think that that's a new thing. That's something that has changed. And that we still have—we have very strong opinions about it that are perpendicular to the industry.

[00:03:17] I mean, the industry is all, right now about real time and chat and video and the whole thing. And I think we're still saying that's not a good approach all the time. It's a good approach sometimes. But most of the time, it's not. It's not the default way to interact. So, I think there's some definite things there. There's also, I think we've seen more and more companies talk about how they're a family and the word family is being used more and more. And I think that we continue to push back hard on that. I think there's a lot of things that we say that still aren't widely adopted. But I will say that I think we've been early on a number of things that proved to be pretty true.

Shaun: [00:03:51] Like remote work.

Jason: [00:03:52] Remote work. The notion that you need to raise a whole bunch of money to do anything. Small teams can do big things. All these things are still very true from way back when, in 2010, when we put these ideas out there.

David: [00:04:04] And I think if anything, the fact that we put these things out there 11 years ago, and they still represent an opposition to the main dogma of how you start a technology company is interesting in and of itself, right?

Shaun: [00:04:18] Yeah.

David: [00:04:19] Because this book, Rework, sold over half a million copies. I hear from people all the time. That doesn't mean that that becomes sort of the new governing structure of how people think about things. Not at all.

Shaun: [00:04:32] You didn't change business with your first book, right? You didn't completely rework the entire industry.

David: [00:04:38] No, right. I mean, we changed business for some people. And we keep hearing from the people who found either Rework or other writings inspired by it or from it, that like, it really changed their perspective. But did it change the industry? I don't think so, in the sense that the dominant narrative on so many of these topics that we covered in Rework remain the same.

[00:05:03] And in fact, some of the opposition that we present like meetings are toxic was one of the popular topics in that first book. It's gotten even more true now that all the meetings are happening on Zoom or other video chat systems, that people hate those meetings even more, they feel even more disruptive in many ways. So, in some regards, I think some of the topics we cover have just gotten more relevant over time, not less.

Shaun: [00:05:25] Yeah.

Jason: [00:05:26] The other thing that’s been interesting. So, our email address is at the end of the book, it's like rework… I think it's probably like, actually. And I get those emails. So those emails are forwarded to me, and I constantly get emails for people who are reading Rework for the first time. I actually ran to a neighbor, just this last week, and she's like, did you are you the Rework guy? I just read that book. And so people are discovering this book all the time. But what's been really interesting is over the past few months, I've been getting a ton of emails from India. Indian entrepreneurs are reading Rework for the first time. And somehow it made its way over there. And now that people are discovering this book for the first time.

[00:06:06] So it's sort of making its way around the world. It's been translated into dozens of languages at this point, I think. And it's still very much alive. And it sort of feels like it has an underground vibe, even though it's quite popular. It's a New York Times bestseller and all that, but it still feels kind of underground and it's still spreading, which is really cool.

[00:06:25] So no, we didn't change the industry. But I think we addressed… we made the industry think about some things.

Shaun: [00:06:30] Sure.

Jason: [00:06:32] And a number of people run businesses based on these ideas today. They wouldn't have because they didn't know that there's an alternative. And the other the other thing is, is that we hear from a lot of people who have always run their business this way for 20, or 30 or 40 years, who were like everyone told me I was crazy for not doing x, y, z, but I feel validated now, in a sense, because I'm seeing there's someone else out there like us who just… or like me, speaking for the other person who just has a sane approach to work.

Shaun: [00:06:58] Yeah.

Jason: [00:06:59] And they're not just aiming for world dominance constantly.

David: [00:07:04] Which also goes to show that many of these conflicts that we try to tackle from a different perspective, they're evergreen.

Shaun: [00:07:08] Yeah.

David: [00:07:08] People have been running a company in this way for 30, 40 years and been called crazy for 30, 40 years, because these are, in many ways, intrinsic battles, or these lines of how you can run—How should you fund a business? How long should you work? How should you work together? What are the ways you should collaborate? These are evergreen topics that just have a long shelf life. Which is the other thing with Rework, as Jason says. We keep hearing from new readers that this wasn't a thing that happened 11 years ago and then these topics are just no longer relevant. If you were describing I don't know, Friendster or something or something very specific to the technologies of the day, or we were talking about JavaScript, how it looked in 2007, or something that would have dated would have disappeared. These are evergreen topics, and evergreen conflicts in many ways that have two different sides to them. And we represent the opposition on most of them. I'm trying to think if there was any of the points that at the time, we felt like wow we're really in opposition, where that has changed.

Jason: [00:08:14] I mean, remote work is probably the thing.

David: [00:08:17] Yeah, remote work is probably the thing.

Jason: [00:08:18] But people are sort of forced into it. It wasn't really necessarily a choice.

Shaun: [00:08:22] Yeah.

David: [00:08:21] Although I mean, so they got forced into it. But I think what has been interesting is that people haven't just suffered through it, it has really changed a lot of people's minds about oh, I strongly believed this wasn't possible. I strongly believed that unless you had the water cooler, unless we were all in the same in front of the same whiteboard, we couldn't collaborate. And lo and behold, I've just spent a year collaborating, and we've continued to put out products and services. We may think that there are advantages still to these things. But it's really opened a lot of people's eyes because it forced them to do a thing that they had only theorized about. This was why we felt so strongly about remote was, by the time we wrote Rework, we'd been doing it for a decade. By the time we wrote Remote, we'd been doing it for even longer, right. So we knew this worked because we'd actually done it versus the majority of the opposition to remote work in particular came from people who'd never really done it.

Shaun: [00:09:17] Never tried it, yeah.

David: [00:09:18] Right.

Shaun: [00:09:19] The rest of this intro is mostly setting up 37signals bona fides. And it's really fun to go back. If you haven't done it lately. It's fun to go back and see the kinds of things you guys are talking about very proud of a 16-person company. And I think, we had four products at the time that we were promoting. So you want to talk a little bit about just really quickly how the company itself has changed in the last 11 years.

Jason: [00:09:48] Sure. Well, we grew quite a bit so about, what, 4x the size at that time.

Shaun: [00:09:52] Yeah.

Jason: [00:09:53] But we slimmed down our product offering. Those are the two primary changes really, more people, fewer products. The reason we did fewer products is because even though we had more people, we couldn't really service four products simultaneously at a high level. And during that time, the mobile revolution really began, I would say, and you had to have native apps for every product that you made. So you had a web version, an iOS version, and eventually an Android version, which meant you had three products for every product. So if you have four, you have 12 code bases, essentially, to manage, with a handful of people, it's just not something that you can really do at a high level.

[00:10:33] And so, what was it, about six years ago? I don't know, seven, six, something like that, we decided to go all in and change the name of the company to Basecamp. That's another thing that changed.

Shaun: [00:10:43] Yeah, this book is by 37signals, according to the cover, I don't know what 37signals is.

Jason: [00:10:47] Who are those people? 37signals is now Basecamp and that changed about six or seven years ago or so. And we've been doing that for a long time, until last year, we launched a second product again, so we're kind of getting back to the place where we can have multiple products at once.

[00:11:03] And to that end, and we've talked about this internally and a little bit externally, we're aiming to get quite a bit bigger than we've ever been. Because we want to be able to do two things at once, as if we were fully dedicated to each one. Like when we’re all in on HEY or all in on Basecamp we can we can make exceptional software and do it at a really good clip and continue to improve the product.

Shaun: [00:11:24] But you're sacrificing the other product, right?

Jason: [00:11:27] Yes, right. But we don't want to do that anymore. So we want to get back and to be able to work on both at once. So that's another thing that's going to be changing. So when we talk again in 11 years, or whatever it is, and revisit this conversation, the company will be quite a bit different than it is today. So I think those are the those are the two or three major changes.

Shaun: [00:11:47] And David, the other thing that's mentioned is Ruby on Rails, which, I believe the quote is, has driven many web 2.0 applications. What is the sort of the state of Ruby on Rails? And how has that changed in the last 11 years?

David: [00:12:03] It's interesting, because I was thinking like, what are the things we've been yelling into the wind, and we continue to have our opposition to the mainstream… Ruby and Rails became mainstream. So that was a thing that wasn’t a position for quite a while where we were beating the drum for a different way of building web software. And then it won, right? All of a sudden you have these huge companies using Rails. And you don't see it in the moment. But if you look back at it now, the fact that Shopify, a $130 billion publicly listed company with 1000s of engineers running on Ruby and Rails. Oh, okay, that was the thing that started in I think Toby started that in 2005. That was snow devil back then, that led into Shopify, right? So some of these seeds that we planted way back when that were still kind of young, by the time we wrote Rework have grown into full blown, redwood.

Shaun: [00:13:02] Yeah.

David: [00:13:02] I mean, you've got GitHub, you got Shopify, you got Airbnb, you got Twitch. And what's funny was, shortly after we wrote Rework or maybe there about, Twitter was started on Ruby and Rails, right. And for a while, there was kind of this is, oh, Twitter's gone to another tech platform, because blah, blah, blah, and people were having some insecurities about this. And now I'm like, oh, thank heavens, please don't necessarily put my name associated with that tech stack today. So, but there's just… I mean, Hulu, Zendesk, Square, and [unclear]. Just there's so many of these huge applications that had such an influence on the industry, not just within Ruby and Rails, but how everyone else did software and how everyone else did web stuff. And that is still going strong.

[00:13:49] That's the other thing, right? If you had asked me in 2010, at that point, rails was what is that, going to be six years old? Like, is this still going to be the thing we use a decade from now? I’d have probably gone, probably not, most technology just doesn't get to live that long. Things move on. You look at JavaScript, and you blink, and it's something new that people use over there. Rails has stuck around, which is just, it's been a fascinating thing to watch. We continue to build it, I continue to be ever so excited to work with it. And we continue to evolve it and we introduce something new like HEY and just really move the goalposts on both Ruby and Rails and how we do the front end. And all of our technology stuff has just continued to evolve in a way where if you had asked me, then, I would have thought, you know what, we're going to be using something else, right, because that's just technology moves so fast.

[00:14:40] And I think perhaps that's the other lesson from Rework in general is that there's a lot of things that don't move very fast at all. And there aren't actually that many big tectonic shifts in software. In business, the iPhone, that was one, as Jason said, it really did change the game and you had to approach software development differently afterwards. Remote, as it happened through the pandemic was another. Between those two things, aren't that many you'd point out and say like they've really changed how we work or how we approach things, which is also why the book is still evergreen, right? Because these fundamental struggles we had back then or our opinions back then they're still relevant because they still apply to current topics.

Shaun: [00:15:21] Well, speaking of current topics, let's move on to Chapter One: The New Reality. And you open this one by saying that this book is for everyone who wants to start a business.

[00:15:32] Jason, you sort of mentioned this a little bit earlier, who were the sort of people you've been hearing from, the email, this 37signals address, that have used this book to start a business.

Jason: [00:15:41] They're all, it's all small businesses, a lot of people left a job, and they went off and started their own thing. One thing is, one pattern I see is, people are caught in between two worlds. So they are like, I thought that I had to raise a bunch of money, and I had to get really big. And I've been sitting out there trying to contact VCs and no one's returning my emails. It's been sort of this horrible process. And then I came upon your book, and I realized I didn't have to do that. So that's a common story, is, I was doing it this other way. It wasn't working. It sucked. I thought it was the only way. Someone told me to check out your book, I checked it out. Oh, okay. There's a different way. This is great.

[00:16:21] Now, whether or not that works for them, like, look, business is hard anyway. So reading Rework is not going to make your business work. But it's a method. It's an approach that that we think increases your odds, actually, but it's, of course not a guarantee. We never want to do that. But I hear a lot from those, hear a lot just from individual solopreneurs, people who are just doing something on their own. And, and it gives them a degree of confidence that they don't have to be something they don't want to be. That's something we hear a lot.

David: [00:16:51] I'd even say permission.

Jason: [00:16:52] Yeah.

David: [00:16:54] It's not just confidence. It's permission to think this way. Because so much of the feedback that I've heard, as well, is from people who already thought this way, as Jason said, but thought like, I'm not supposed to… this is not professional. I'm not supposed to do it like this. I'm supposed to act bigger, puff myself up, do all these things that all the business books say I'm supposed to do. And here's a book that tells me exactly the opposite, that what I actually had inside my fingers was right all along.

Shaun: [00:17:22] That sort of leads into my next question, one of the things you say is that today, anyone can be in business, today meaning 2010. Do you still believe this? Do you still think it is? Or I guess how has the landscape changed for getting into business in the last 11 years?

Jason: [00:17:39] I mean, everyone can certainly start something. It’s not hard to start something. I think we've talked about this. I don't think this wasn't Rework necessarily, but post-Rework we talked a lot about like, starting something is actually the easy thing. Staying, is the hard thing. Sticking around is the hard thing. Because you can start a business tomorrow, in fact, things like Stripe Atlas make it really, really, really easy to actually, be legitimate starting a business and get an LLC registered. And, that's the easy part. Coming up with an idea is the relatively easy… these are the easier parts of business. The harder part is like a year later, are you able to sustain? Have you found any paying customers? Have you built anything that anyone else can use? Like, that's ultimately the hard part.

[00:18:25] I've actually, it's funny, you can look at this two ways. There's a lot of, for example, even just getting a website up or building a product, I actually think it's become easier to get a templated website up. Like, you can use Squarespace or whatever. There's some really great ways just to get online, I think. But things have become harder in a lot of ways. The tech stack that people are looking at, everything's been complicated. It's really hard now, there's so many options and everything so complicated and overwrought. And a lot of it is because it's modeled after the way larger companies do things. And so small companies are following things that are completely irrelevant to them but it's like the popular thing to do, because, of course, this is how Facebook works. I want to be the next Facebook. So, I think it's gotten a lot harder, a lot harder, actually to start a tech company. Also, there's just way more competition. There’s a lot. So I think some of it's got a lot harder, some of it's actually quite a bit easier.

[00:19:19] But it's always been hard to sustain. It's kind of all about putting the odds a bit more in your favor. So if you raised a bunch of money, there's only one way to sustain, which is to go big, basically and make it huge. That's the only sustainable route forward, if you raise the money. If you don't raise money, you have a lot more options. You can do that and get big, you can stay small, you can go midsize, you're not living up to just one expectation. So, I think that the Rework style business has more optionality and more flexibility. And I think that that's something that's really valuable, especially in your first year or two or three, not feeling like you have to be something that you aren't yet and you're striving for this thing that's almost impossible to get. That's a really tricky thing compared to like, we just strive to pick up a handful of customers that allow us to pay our bills. That's an easier target.

David: [00:20:09] I think one thing that's certainly gotten harder to some extent is if you don't have the skills, yourself, to build what you're trying to launch, that's become very difficult because it's become very expensive. Just tech salaries over the past 10 years have exploded.

Shaun: [00:20:27] You’re saying talent has become expensive?

David: [00:20:30] Yes. So if you're trying to start something, and you don't know how to build it, you have to go buy it from someone, you have to go buy it from a consultancy, you have to go buy it from individual contributors, that's become very expensive, which means that that path used to be more accessible, maybe it still is, in some ways, you go Upwork, you go, that kind of crapshoot. But to just give the personal example, for Jason to do today, what he did in 2001—

Shaun: [00:20:58] That's gonna be my next question.

David: [00:20:59] That wasn't gonna work, right? Like you weren't going to find, or you aren't going to find someone that you can pay neither $15 an hour, $40 an hour or whatever, to build these kinds of things. Because the tech industry has gotten so much larger. There's these huge companies that just suck up so much of the talent with really high salaries. You to figure it out yourself. You have to join up with someone and you're building it, you're not buying it. That's where sort of…

[00:21:30] How difficult is it to learn? Is a really interesting question. In some ways, I agree with Jason that if you follow the prescribed path, oh, you got to do React this, and then you got to do split the front end, and you got to have three, five code bases. You think like, oh, man, I need a team of 20 just to get my prototype out the door. But the battle that I've continued to fight with Ruby on Rails is to at least give the option for something else. I continue to design Ruby on Rails and everything else that we do in the JavaScript world, for example, as if I had to start from scratch. What would I want? If I was one person and Jason or I had to rebuild Basecamp tomorrow, because we were starting from completely from scratch? Right? What set of tools would I like?

[00:22:17] And that's what's so fascinating about this, these tools are there. But to some extent, they've stepped back a little bit from the limelight like Ruby and Rails really had its promotional heyday in like 2006, 2007, 2008, maybe where a lot of people were like, oh, this is what we got to pick. But now so many businesses today are started with a lot of venture capital and hiring 20 people such that you can follow whatever methodology Facebook uses to build their stuff. It’s accessible, in some ways, to a small minority of companies who are then very prolific in how they detail how they build their stuff. And then the other end of it, the hey, we're just two people, that voice has gotten somewhat less, but the stuff is still all there. So, the same thing as with the book, if you read this book, if you look at these tools, you can totally do these things, again, prefaced on the fact that you're going to build it yourself. Or the team, the people who are starting.

Jason: [00:23:13] I would say though, one of the things that's been harder is to reverse engineer things. When I got started. I know this is like, back in my day, kind of kind of point. But you could go to any website, view source and understand the whole damn thing.

Shaun: [00:23:26] Yeah, yes.

Jason: [00:23:29] Because it was just that's all there was. Now, it's a lot harder to view source. I mean, it's easier, it is easy to view source. But to look at it and make sense of it, is very complicated. And especially even now, we have things like the inspector, which we didn't have way back when in web browsers to pull things apart and take them apart and look at them. That actually is even more intimidating. Like you just look at a box on a page and you're like, holy shit. I don't know how that box was made. There's like 12 classes surrounding this box. It's nested seven layers deep. It's like, this is impossible to just to piece apart. And it just didn't used to be that way. So I think it's actually quite intimidating now to get started by just disassembling something that exists.

[00:24:14] And it's kind of like, I imagine, it's no different than trying to learn how to work on a car today. You go take a modern car and you open the hood, it's basically a computer. You can't even see the engine, there's like a beautiful cover over the engine. And you can't get in. It's so tightly packed, but you open a car from the ‘60s or something and you open the hood there's actual space and you can stick your hand on the engine and you can see how things connect. So to learn to be a mechanic on an older car would have been much easier than to learn to be a mechanic today. I think that's what's happened on the web. And with software in general, is everything's become very opaque and very complicated.
David: [00:24:51] And what's so frustrating is that it hasn't necessarily gotten better because of it. There's some ways, in some forms where things have gotten better, but proportionately, absolutely not. Is the improvement in the apps we're using today, 2021, proportionate to the increasing complexity compared to 2005, 2006, 2007? Absolutely not. No way.

[00:25:17] That is what feels so squandered. Right? Technology supposed to make things easier, make us more productive, make us better, right, especially over time. But it seems like it's taking longer, more complexity, more people, more resources to do sort of the same things. And I think part of that trap there is that, especially in technology, we have such an urge to keep pushing for progress. So we keep coming up with new things and new approaches, and they're ever so slightly more complicated than the one that went before it. And that just compounds.

[00:25:52] And it compounds particularly when you then have people who can focus on just one small area. When you were making web stuff. In 2001, you were doing it all. Right? You’re a designer, you're in the HTML, you're doing whatever little JavaScript needs to be done, you're doing it all. If you go today, to most even mid-sized companies, everything has been atomized to the point where like, I'm a specialist in this little front-end bit of that part.

Shaun: [00:26:21] Right.

David: [00:26:21] I do my bit. And then I need another five, six, ten people to do the other bits before we have a widget that is actually interesting to anyone. Whereas in the past, it used to be you could be a generalist, and you could make something. There's so many people today who are very, very good at what they do. They're highly specialized, they're highly skilled, they're highly intelligent. They can't make anything.

Shaun: [00:26:44] Mm-hmm.

David: [00:26:44] Because you can't just… that thing alone does not a thing make, right? I can polish this thing, but I need these other five people. And I think that that's just, it's such a shame. And I think, this is one of the things you have to be skeptical about your own age, for both Jason and I. We go like oh, in our days, it was was so much better, right? And like we walked uphill in both direction and can see the source and everything was hunky dory. There are all these other things, right. Like we used to battle with incompatibilities between browsers all the time. Like, remember IE 4 and 5, and it wouldn't work. That has sort of disappeared with evergreen browsers. So, it's not like some of this progress hasn't resulted in improvements. But overall, it's difficult to look at today's picture and say that the mainstream way of developing software has gotten better, easier, or more productive. I don't think it has.

Shaun: [00:27:33] s this a problem with education? Are we teaching new coders very specific things? Or are have we gotten rid of a general education?

David: [00:27:42] No, no. I think it's the capture of big companies. It’s the size of the companies that are originating a lot of the frameworks and the methodologies have gotten enormous compared to what it was in the early 2000s, right? Which has given rise to the fact that it doesn't matter if you have 20 people on a project or 100 people on a project. Companies have plenty of money to do it either from VC or because they're part of [unclear] or associated companies. And that, it’s the specialization. IT’s the rise of specialization, which was inevitable, you're not going to have 10,000 generalists inside a big company. That's just not… That is actually not efficient, to some degree. Right?

Shaun: [00:28:23] Right.

David: [00:28:23] The problem is that the complexity required to operate a Facebook is leaking into the rest of the industry. As exactly as Jason says, someone looks at how should I build this? And like, oh, at Facebook, they do this. I mean, now we’re just picking on Facebook, there's a million examples where it's the same thing. You're looking to a big company, and then you're trying to do a thing. Like, I want to do that. No, no, you shouldn't, you should do the opposite of that.
Rework itself, that is one of the core premises, don't look to huge companies on the best way to run your company. A company that has divisions and VPs, and senior VPs and whatever. Their entire problem space does not connect or relate to the concerns of a four-person company. In fact, they're the exact opposite of what you need at four people, and they're just far more four people companies than there are 100,000 person companies, right?

[00:29:14] So the lessons we should be distributing more broadly are for the four people, but that's just not where people generally have the time to write and whatever. So you get this cycle, where most of the people who are producing the technology and the writing and whatever, they come from larger companies, and they're putting out this message, this is what you need. And it's just not true, you need the opposite. And we're already at the cusp of that, in some regards. I'd actually say, as Jason mentioned, the fact that we're about to get a bit larger, we're gonna have to stretch to stay in philosophical contact with the five-person company. I mean, we spent a long time at that phase where most tech companies are rushing to get through, like, oh, I was five people, two months ago and now we're 50 and next month, we're going to be 120. If you're on this rocket ship, we were very slow in our growth, but we're going to start to lose some touch with what it's like to be five people because that is the inevitable consequence if you are 60, 70, 80, 100.

Shaun: [00:30:11] Yeah, it's gonna be interesting to talk to both of you as this goes on, but I think I think this is a pretty good place to stop on this chapter.

[00:30:19] Thank you both for coming on. Next time on Rework, we're going to be tackling the next essay, which I believe is “Ignore the Real World.” This will be a fun one, so thank you both.

David: [00:30:28] Awesome.

Jason: [00:30:29] Thanks, Shaun.

[00:30:32] Broken By Design by Clip Art plays.

Shaun: [00:30:31] Rework is a production of Basecamp. You can find all of our past episodes at We are on Twitter at @reworkpodcast. And as I mentioned earlier in the show, we're treating this a little like a book club. So, if you'd like to follow along, go pick up a copy of Rework at your local bookstore or maybe give something like a try. And next week, we'll be discussing the chapter titled “Ignore the Real World.”