Jason Fried

October 19, 2021

Introducing Elaine Richards, our new COO

2021 kicked off a new era for Basecamp. One of renewed ambition and a desire to excel on a variety of fronts, simultaneously. We're no longer just going all-in on something we make, we're going all-out on everything we do.

To get there, David and I realized we needed a peer, someone who can help us run the business day-to-day, and think about the business year-to-year.

So a few months back we began searching for a new COO. We've had someone in this role before, but the position has been conspicuously vacant for 5 years.

This new COO would help us build a more capable company. To grow the business, and question core assumptions that planted us in the past, rather than push us into the future.

We're pleased to report that after a long, thorough search, we were fortunate to find the perfect match.

Her name is Elaine Richards, and she's our new COO.

The search process was enlightening. Some of the candidates we spoke just weren't the right fit for us. Some you're really excited about at the start, but the excitement wanes the further along you get. Others start strong and keep getting stronger as you go. That was Elaine.

The first time David and I talked to Elaine we thought "Oh she's good, we want to talk with her again." Then we talked again and said "She's really good". The next call ended with "She's great". And when we met in person, things kept getting better. That's when we knew she was a lock. During the interview process we introduced her to a few other senior folks here, and they all felt the same way. That sealed the deal for us.

Her experience was spot-on relevant, and we were impressed by how she approached various real-time scenarios we lobbed her way. It seemed like nothing phased her, which gave us a high degree of confidence she could handle the unknown and unpredictable. She wasn't afraid to disagree, and when she did, she always helped us see the concern from a different point of view. Her writing is both expressive and crystal clear, and our conversations were effortless, as if we worked together for a decade. Finally, her references drove home the point that Elaine always demonstrates honest care and concern for the people she works with. It kept lining up until it all lined up.

One thing in particular Elaine is going to help with is developing leaders from within, and bringing in leadership from the outside to help grow groups and teams we've never had before. We'll finally be able to get to things we've had on the back burner for, in some case, years. This will also free people up who've been doing double duty in specific roles.

The remainder of 2021 is about continuing to pump out excellent product updates for our Basecamp 4 and HEY customers, and putting the pieces in place to set the stage for significant growth in 2022. More leadership, dozens of new colleagues from all over the world, new teams, significant product improvements, and enhanced capabilities all wrapped up with a new sense of ambition and possibilities.

In many ways we're starting over with a huge head start. And Elaine's expertise gives us another unfair advantage.

Here we go.

About Jason Fried

Hey! I'm Jason, the Co-Founder and CEO at 37signals, makers of Basecamp and HEY. Subscribe below to follow my thinking on business, design, product development, and whatever else is on my mind. Thanks for visiting, thanks for reading.