Jason Fried

April 12, 2021

Staying Out of It

Over the past few years I've been practicing the subtle art of Staying Out of It.

On any given day, there are dozens of discussions I could be part of. A deluge of decisions I could weigh in on. An overmuch of opinion on which I could opine.

But I'm choosing to Stay Out of It.

Not because I don't care, but because I don't need to be there. And the owner's word weighs a ton.

I'd much rather see most things take care of themselves. Or have people settle their own balances, rather than me having to deposit my own two cents.

This means getting used to being OK with decisions I wouldn't have made. Or designs I wouldn't have drawn up. Or provisions I wouldn't necessarily have put in place.

But that's an ego stroke. As if my decision, or design, or provision would have been an automatic improvement. I'm sure plenty of things are better around here because I chose to Stay Out of It.

Further, when Staying Out of It now, I'll often come back later to discover something went exactly as I'd hoped it would. They handled it. There truly was no need for me to be involved. In fact, my involvement would have prevented someone else from being the one to gain the experience making the call.

Being everywhere with a word for everything doesn't help anyone. I may think I'm helping steer everything that's going on, but is it helping the organization get along?

Now I pick and choose. Too many words, too much to lose. If I can be useful, if I can break a tie, if I can point to the sky, then I'm here for that. Otherwise, I'll just Stay Out of It.

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.