Signal v. Noise


Strong opinions and shared thoughts on design, business, and tech. By the makers (and friends) of Basecamp. Since 1999.


On current events

by Jason Fried / 2 days

It’s easy to say what a year, what a week. But that’s a shortsighted, privileged point of view. I’m guilty of holding that occasional perspective. It’s moments like these that jolt me into recognizing the deeper reality. What we’re seeing is the culmination of years – decades, generations, and centuries – of unjust treatment against… keep reading

Employee-surveillance software is not welcome to integrate with Basecamp

by DHH / 27 days

We’ve been teaching people how to do remote work well for the better part of two decades. We wrote a whole book about the topic in 2013, called REMOTE: Office Not Required. Basecamp has been a remote company since day one, and our software is sold as an all-in-one toolkit for remote work. Yeah, we’re… keep reading

Hiring programmers with a take-home test

by DHH / about 1 month

There’s no perfect process for hiring great programmers, but there are plenty of terrible ways to screw it up. We’ve rejected the industry stables of grilling candidates in front of a whiteboard or needling them with brain teasers since the start at Basecamp. But you’re not getting around showing real code when applying for a… keep reading

Seamless branch deploys with Kubernetes

by Blake Stoddard / about 1 month

Basecamp’s newest product HEY has lived on Kubernetes since development first began. While our applications are majestic monoliths, a product like HEY has numerous supporting services that run along-side the main app like our mail pipeline (Postfix and friends), Resque (and Resque Scheduler), and nginx, making Kubernetes a great orchestration option for us. As you… keep reading

We’ve refreshed our policies

by Jane Yang / about 2 months

Spring is emerging in the US and as part of our company spring cleaning, we took a peek at our product policies, noticed some cobwebs, and got out the duster. Besides rewriting sections to be more readable, we made four substantive changes: 1. We’ve consolidated our policies across all products owned and maintained by Basecamp,… keep reading

The Majestic Monolith can become The Citadel

by DHH / about 2 months

The vast majority of web applications should start life as a Majestic Monolith: A single codebase that does everything the application needs to do. This is in contrast to a constellation of services, whether micro or macro, that tries to carve up the application into little islands each doing a piece of the overall work.… keep reading

Why HEY had to wait

by DHH / 2 months

We had originally planned to release HEY, our new email service, in April. There was the final cycle to finish the features, there was a company meetup planned for the end of the month to celebrate together, we’d been capacity testing extensively, and the first step of a marketing campaign was already under way. But… keep reading

Working remotely builds organizational resiliency

by Jason Fried / 2 months

For many, moving from everyone’s-working-from-the-office to everyone’s-working-at-home isn’t so much a transition as it is a scramble. A very how the fuck? moment. That’s natural. And people need time to figure it out. So if you’re in a leadership position, bake in time. You can’t expect people to hit the ground running when everything’s different.… keep reading

Live Q&A on remote working, working from home, and running a business remotely

by Jason Fried / 2 months

In this livesteam, David and I answer audience questions about how to work remotely. At Basecamp we’ve been working remotely for nearly 20 years, so we have a lot of experience to share. This nearly 2-hour video goes into great detail on a wide variety of topics. Highly recommended if you’re trying to figure out… keep reading

A live tour of how Basecamp uses Basecamp to run Basecamp

by Jason Fried / 2 months

David and I spent nearly 2-hours giving a livestream tour of our very own Basecamp account. We wanted to show you how Basecamp uses Basecamp to run projects, communicate internally, share announcements, know what everyone’s working on, build software, keep up socially, and a whole bunch more. Our entire company runs on Basecamp, and this… keep reading

Remote Working: The home office desks of Basecamp

by Jason Fried / 3 months

People are always curious about work-from-home (WFH), remote working setups. So, I posted a Basecamp message asking our employees to share a photo of their home office, desk, table, whatever. Here’s what came in. First, the ask: And the answers, in the order they came in: Andy Didorosi, Marketing Justin White, Programmer Jonas Downey, Designer… keep reading

How we acquired

by Jason Fried / 3 months

Back on June 9, 2018, I cold emailed Hey there– Curious… Would you entertain an offer to sell I'd like to use it for something I'm working on, and willing to make you a strong offer. Let me know. Thanks! -Jason And that’s where it all began. For the 25+ years I’ve been… keep reading

Keep digging

by Ryan Singer / 3 months

I’m reviewing transcripts from interviews we did with customers last year and came across a nice example of interview technique. The hardest thing about customer interviews is knowing where to dig. An effective interview is more like a friendly interrogation. We don’t want to learn what customers think about the product, or what they like… keep reading

The books I read in 2019

by DHH / 3 months

Here are all my extracted answers from our monthly Basecamp check-in question of What are you reading? for 2019. (See also my answers from 2016, 2017, and 2018). The Sane SocietyAnother Fromm tome! This one starts from the premise of evaluating the different social characters of various societies. But not from the abstract, pretend objectiveness of “everything is equal;… keep reading

Mailing list software should stop spying on subscribers

by DHH / 4 months

The internet is finally coming out of its long haze on privacy, but it’s with one hell of a hangover. So many practices that were once taken for granted are now getting a second, more critical look. One of those is the practice of spying on whether recipients of marketing emails open them or not.… keep reading

Integrated systems for integrated programmers

by DHH / 4 months

One of the great tragedies of modern web development over the last five years or so has been the irrational exuberance for microservices. The idea that making a single great web application had simply become too hard, but if we broke that app up into many smaller apps, it’d all be much easier. Turned out,… keep reading

Testimony before the House Antitrust Subcommittee

by DHH / 5 months

My name is David Heinemeier Hansson, and I’m the CTO and co-founder of Basecamp, a small internet company from Chicago that sells project-management and team-collaboration software. When we launched our main service back in 2004, the internet provided a largely free, fair, and open marketplace. We could reach customers and provide them with our software… keep reading

Basecamp is hiring a Programmer

by Javan Makhmali / 5 months

We’re hiring a programmer to join our Research & Fidelity team to help shape the front end of our Rails applications and expand our suite of open-source JavaScript frameworks. We’re accepting applications for the next two weeks with a start date in early April. We strongly encourage candidates of all different backgrounds and identities to… keep reading

My polyglot Advent of Code

by Rosa Gutiérrez / 5 months

At Basecamp we have an internal project called “Your proudest moments”. My colleague Dan set it up so that people at Basecamp could share anything we’re proud of. So far people have shared impressive, really feel-good accomplishments, such as performing complicated house renovations without professional help, writing books, or taking their parents on an unforgettable… keep reading

I went to see a movie, and instead I saw the future

by Jason Fried / 5 months

A few days ago my wife and I went to see Uncut Gems at a Regal theater in Chicago. We booked our ticket online, reserved our seats, showed up 15 minutes ahead of time, and settled in, eagerly anticipating the movie. After the coil of previews, and ads for sugary snacks, the movie started. About… keep reading

AWS S3: You’re out of order.

by John Williams / 5 months

Back in November, we noticed something odd happening with large uploads to Amazon S3. Uploads would pause for 10 seconds at a time and then resume. It had us baffled. When we started to dig, what we found left us with more questions than answers about S3 and AWS networking. We use Amazon S3 for… keep reading

The last tracker was just removed from

by DHH / 5 months

Can you believe we used to willingly tell Google about every single visitor to by way of Google Analytics? Letting them collect every last byte of information possible through the spying eye of their tracking pixel. Ugh. But 2020 isn’t 2010. Our naiveté around data, who captures it, and what they do with it… keep reading

The Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication

by Jason Fried / 5 months

We just published “The Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication“. It’s a collection of philosophies and day-to-day practices that help guide the way we communicate with each other at Basecamp. We cover when to write stuff up in detail vs. when to chat about it. Why meetings are a last resort, not a first option. How… keep reading

No one’s complaining

by Jason Fried / 5 months

I’ve heard this one before. I’ve used this one before. “No one’s complaining” so it fine. If the thing you make/sell isn’t meeting someone’s expectations, there’s a good chance you’re the last one who’d hear the complaint. Contacting the company to complain is pretty far down the list. At the top are friends, family, colleagues.… keep reading

Basecamp now supports security keys for two-factor authentication thanks to WebAuthn

by Rosa Gutiérrez / 6 months

Back in October, we announced our own two-factor authentication solution, dropping the requirement for having a Google account to benefit from this necessary level of protection for your account. This solution is based on TOTP (Time-based One Time Password Algorithm): you configure a special authenticator app with a secret we provide and then your app generates codes depending… keep reading

Only 15% of the Basecamp operations budget is spent on Ruby

by DHH / 6 months

We spend about $3 million every year to run all the versions of Basecamp and our legacy applications. That spend is spread across several on-premise data centers and cloud operations. It does not include the budget for our 7-person strong operations team, this is just the cost of connectivity, machines, power, and such. There’s a… keep reading

How I got hired by Basecamp

by Jorge Manrubia / 6 months

I saw the Senior Programmer offer one day before going to bed. I decided I wasn’t going to apply. I had tried four times since 2013, and I never got to pass the first filter. Each attempt took me a good amount of time and energy, and I didn’t want to go through that pain again. That… keep reading

6 mistakes to avoid during your first 30 days as a new manager

by Claire Lew / 6 months

You’re bound to make mistakes as a new manager – but here are the biggest, most common pitfalls to avoid in your first 30 days as a new manager. I’ve never quite known the proper word to describe the feeling of being simultaneously elated and terrified – but your first 30 days as a new manager is… keep reading

The one-on-one meeting template for your end of the year review

by Claire Lew / 6 months

What should you do for your end-of-the-year review with an employee? Use this one-on-one meeting template. With December upon us (already!), many managers have been asking me if I have a one-on-one meeting template for their end-of-the-year review with a direct report. Yes, I do have one 🙂 The end of the year is an… keep reading

Lab Week

by Wailin Wong / 6 months

Get out your Bunsen burner! It’s time to do some experiments. In the latest episode of the Rework podcast, we talk to two businesses that aren’t afraid to try new things. First, the three founders of The Mad Optimist, a soap company in Indiana, talk about letting customers choose what they pay for their products.… keep reading