37Signals grew from 4 people at the time Basecamp launched in 2004 to just 16 as the book went to print in 2010. Growing slowly has allowed them to stay lean, avoid communication bottlenecks, move quickly on ideas and most important of all, retain a spirit of intimacy and intellectual stimulation. So hire deliberately, only when it hurts, as they would put it. That way you will know when you rea…
I didn’t tell you that at the time of Basecamp’s initial development Jason and his 3 co-founders were in Chicago working full time on web design projects, while David, the only one with programming skills, was in Denmark finishing his graduate degree. Between school commitments, he barely managed to squeeze it 10 hours a week over 6 months to work on Basecamp. These limitations, quite annoying on the surface, forced — I mean, enabled — the simple, lightweight, easy-to-use design that people love about Basecamp.
…nderscores another central part of the decision-making process at 37Signals: embracing constraints. It sounds like a paradox, but Jason and David have learned that constrained decisions are often better decisions because the elimination of options enables speed, creativity and focus. Having limited time and resources before the launch forced them to be crystal clear about their priorities, selective about their features and creative about the non-essential but still important details.
When in doubt about what direction to take, use the epicenter as an anchor and a compass. The first version of Basecamp shipped without a billing system. Instead of building one, the team used the time before the launch to fix key issues without which the product wouldn’t work. Taking payments wasn’t one of them. True, they needed a way to get paid but that wasn’t the epicenter. Basecamp functioned just as well without a billing system, so initially they set it aside, then they shipped and then they sat down to figure out how to get paid. Of course, it helped that billing occurred in monthly cycles and they had 30 days to crack it before the money came due. But you get the point.
One way to determine what is necessary vs what isn’t is to start at what Jason and David call the epicenter, then build out from there while constantly circling back to it to avoid distractions. The epicenter is the core of what you are building, the thing without which your product wouldn’t work. One question you can ask yourself is “If I took this away, will what I’m selling still exist?” Jason and David offer the example of a hamburger stand. A hamburger stand has a whole lot of parts to it — from the cart to the various condiments — but only the hamburgers are essential. You can take everything away and still have a hamburger stand as long as you have hamburgers. They are the epicenter.
Moreover, the very preoccupation with cashing out can be self-sabotaging. The way Jason and David see it, plotting to escape and planning to succeed just don’t mix. Instead of fixating on jumping ship, you need to obsess about making the ship sail.
Since travel is such an important aspect of personal growth and outside of the classroom education, with crypto it would be equally affordable regardless of where you were traveling to or from. Often it is cost prohibitive for people living in countries with struggling currencies to travel to countries with “powerful currencies.”