Jason Fried

May 3, 2024

Why am I still doing this?

I’ve been doing this for 25 years, so I’ll often be asked why I’m still in it and how I stay motivated.

It ain’t the money, as I’ve been fortunate enough to make more than I’ll ever be able to spend.

I enjoy the work and we have a great crew, each a true pleasure to work with. I remain filled with ideas. So that’s part of it.

But it’s more that than. It’s more of a justice thing, really.

Look at this screenshot.


This is software my neighborhood uses to manage guest parking passes. It’s shit. Maybe you recognize it, maybe you don’t, but the name doesn’t matter.

You know what the company charges for the privilege of using it? $10,000/year. $10,000 A YEAR! $10,000 year after year of our HOA budget goes to this crap. It feels borderline criminal.

I’m still doing this because the world is flooded with overpriced, crappy, subpar software. It hurts people and it hurts the economy.

I feel a moral obligation to do what I can to replace bad options with great options, at vastly reduced prices. I even want to replace great options with equally great options, just at reduced prices. Good software should not be expensive.

Software is an absolute miracle. You can make exceptionally good stuff at exceptionally reasonable prices. It’s not like hardware manufacturing where you have to cut all sorts of corners to keep costs in check, or charge a ton for stuff that’s truly well made. Raw materials, machinery, manufacturing, tight tolerances, physics — this stuff costs a lot to get right. Software does not.

Yet bad — and great software, frankly — remains way over priced.  And some is absolute highway robbery. Like this parking pass software. It’s clear no one cared about it — it’s just built to some spec by people who will never use it. It’s all there, the features tick the boxes, and technically it works, but we’d never ever find it acceptable if it was a physical product. But since it’s software, it can suck and we can still be sold on a $10,000/year contract.

This fuels me.

So hell yeah I’m motivated. And the more bad stuff I bump into, or even great stuff with silly numbers attached, the more motivated I get. It’s a deep well that keeps on providing.

To that end, we’ve just started working on two more new products this year. We’re on a tear. We’re going to keep on putting quality stuff out there at reasonable prices. Not just to prove that it can be done, but because it must be done.


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.