In the latest episode of Pulse, Andreas sits down with Jason Fried, Co-Founder and CEO of 37signals, makers of Basecamp and HEY. They dive into the intriguing concepts of trust, hiring and rehiring, company culture, and happiness. This conversation is packed with insights for SaaS leaders, CTOs, and software entrepreneurs. Jason also shares some unique insights into Basecamp’s hiring process, emphasizing the importance of enthusiasm and fit rather than just skills. Sit back and enjoy Pulse!
Episode 13 - Hiring and Rehiring
Jason Fried is no stranger to the tech world. Leading 37 Signals since its inception in 1999, he has been at the forefront of innovative software solutions. From the nostalgic Vuvuzela sounds in Campfire to the development of Basecamp and 37signals, Jason's journey is filled with leadership, culture, and growth lessons.
Trust Battery: A New Perspective on Trust
Jason introduces the concept of the "trust battery," a term coined by Tobias Lütke from Shopify. Everyone starts with a 50% charge, and the battery gets charged or loses charge over time. This metaphor represents the trust between individuals within a company, and it's a one-to-one thing. Different people have different charges with different people, and it's a matrix of trust that leaders need to consider.
On Hiring, Rehiring, and Happiness
Hiring the right talent is a critical aspect of any organization, but Jason takes it a step further with the idea of "rehiring." He emphasizes that managers should ask themselves if they would hire a person again after a year. This simple question replaces the traditional performance review and becomes a clear metric for understanding an employee's fit and potential.
The conversation also touches on the importance of happiness and enthusiasm during the interview process. Jason believes that the feeling of "I can't wait to work with this person" should continue throughout the employment relationship. It's about trajectory, growth, and finding the right mix of people within a team.
Employer Branding and Company Culture
Basecamp's culture is a reflection of its values and approach to work. From a strong 90-day review process to the philosophy of "hiring slow, firing fast," Jason shares how the company maintains its identity. He also discusses the rare instances of rehiring former employees, emphasizing that the reasons for leaving and returning must be very specific.
The conversation also explores the balance between different types of employees, the importance of mentoring, and the need for a mix of hungry individuals and savvy veterans. We use a People Performance Matrix to gauge where every employee acts.
Jason Fried's insights into trust, hiring, rehiring, company culture, employer branding, and happiness are valuable lessons for any SaaS leader. His innovative thinking and practical approach offer a fresh perspective on building and leading successful teams.
In Pulse, Andreas talks with leaders from the tech startup and scale-up ecosystem and his colleagues about everything he comes across when working as a CTO in residence for various clients. This episode with Jason Fried is a must-listen for anyone interested in the dynamics of trust and leadership within a tech organization.