Reflections from four years building things at Basecamp

Basecamp illustration by Nate Otto.

Basecamp was a special opportunity for me as a graphic designer to learn a values-driven, if not deeply opinionated way to run a successful business. Alongside Jason Fried and the rest of the company, I practiced writing, I practiced coding, I practiced selling. The opportunities to extend my skills felt more like job perks instead of requirements.

There’s unending industry pressure on employees — regardless of role — to continually learn new skills in quests to be seen as employable talent. In Basecamp “fuck what the industry says” fashion, they showed me skill growth can be framed as “learn this for you, not for someone else.”

Learn to code not because you want to be more employable, learn to code because you’re curious on how things work.

Learn to design not because you want to create something beautiful, learn to design because you want to make life easier for people.

Learn to write not because you want to be a thought leader, learn to write because you want to better connect with people.

Learn to sell not because you want to drive revenue, learn to sell because it’s how we move others.

If you hate something, make something.
If you love something, make something.

To Jason and the Basecamp crew: thanks for the learnings.


Product Design at Instagram —

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store