Jason Fried

March 24, 2021

What I think, not what I thought

A core tenet of how we work at Basecamp is that we make it up as we go, 6-weeks at a time. No big plans beyond that. We have some big picture directional ideas of where we may be headed — like a sailor on an exploratory expedition, aiming for a distant shore — but we're tacking with the prevailing winds, and our whims, until we eventua...
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March 16, 2021

Why should I buy yours vs. theirs?

Sometimes I get asked a direct A vs. B sales question. Like... "Why should I buy HEY instead of Fastmail?" My honest answer: "I don't know. You should try both and see which one you like best. And once you've made your choice, I'd love to hear which one you picked and why." I'm not selling, I'm learning. I can surely point someone to m...
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March 15, 2021

How Coronavirus kids see the world

I've got two young kids. Because of the pandemic, a good portion of their outside experiences have been masked. I think this is ultimately to their advantage. Much of our emotions, reactions, and communications come from the bottom halves of our faces. Our noses, cheeks, and mouths express so much of what's on our mind. The shapes, con...
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March 15, 2021

Giiggle it!

Traditional search engines like Google are pretty good at helping you find something specific. Like a research paper on a clinical trial, or a picture of Wrigley Field, or a product if you know the name. If you kinda know what you want, and you'll recognize it when you see it, there's a good chance that stodgy old search engine will he...
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March 11, 2021

Validation is a mirage

Spend enough time talking with entrepreneurs, product people, designers, and anyone charged with proving something, and you’ll bump into questions about validation. “How do you validate if it’s going to work?” “How do you know if people will buy it to not?” “How do you validate product market fit?” “How do you validate if a feature is ...
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March 9, 2021

Nodding heads, not turning heads

There's so much energy spent on trying to convince someone to do something, or buy something, or change their mind. It's all possible, but it's the hard road. Instead, I tend to try to get people to naturally nod their head in agreement. Whenever I write something with the intention to explain, sell, or promote, I'm aiming for head nod...
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March 5, 2021

An alternative to competition

Businesses love to compete. To beat, to win, to go 1-0. We don't. I have no interest in competing with anyone. And we don't frame internal decisions in a competitive way. Business has never been about competition for me. Market watchers may think HEY competes with Gmail, but we don't think that way. Gmail has nearly 2 billion users. We...
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March 3, 2021

Stem cell or organ?

Lately, I've been thinking about how new features are either launched as stem cells or full blown organs. I'm well aware this is an imperfect analogy, but I'm OK with that. It's close enough to make me think, which is all that matters in my book. A stem cell is essentially an undifferentiated cell that can change — or differentiate — i...
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March 2, 2021

Ditch the elevator pitch

There’s no shortage of lore about the importance of the elevator pitch. There’s the 1850s version, in which inventor Elisha Otis’s dramatic demonstration of his innovation — a safety brake that keeps elevators from falling during a cable failure — set a new bar for colorful, efficient salesmanship. There’s the Hollywood version, in whi...
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February 26, 2021

A product's gravity

I'm often asked how I know when an idea might make a good product. First, I never know. It's always a guess, a bet. I'm just trying to do what I can to increase the odds, to beat the house. But more specifically, it's always a feeling. It's never a number. It's never a quantity of yesses. It's never about early feedback. It's never abo...
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