Better ways to work: 37Signals

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It’s funny how we think that “everyone knows” something, and it turns out that that really isn’t the case.

I was having a conversation about what I want Mono to be, and I referenced 37Signals (now known as Basecamp).

The other person didn’t know that company, and I thought: huh? How can you not know 37Signals?

For me, 37Signals is a company that inspired me at multiple points in my career. I’ve been reading their blog Signal v. Noise since what feels like forever. They wrote some brilliant books that have influenced the way I think about software. They have some extremely smart people on the team.

So, I was yammering on about what I want to do with Mono; and the topic turned to 37Signals. They are a great inspiration for how things should be.

As we are growing, there are decisions to be made about how we deal with certain work aspects within the company: software buying, holidays, the tools we use etc.

I like 37Signals’s approach to a lot of things. For instance, they have this policy where you work a bit longer in winter, but in summer you only work four days out of five. That just makes a lot of sense.

At Mono we don’t really have a holiday policy: you just take holidays when you want. The idea is that you let the team know in advance, and you don’t overdo it (e.g. take a three month retreat every year).

This works for now but at one point we might formalize it more. I’ve been having discussions with other founders and one problem that they point out is that some people just end up not taking holidays, which is not really something we want to promote.

Another thing I always liked about 37Signals was their policy to give every employee a credit card that the person could use for work related expenses. That implies a high level of trust and cuts down on the red tape.

There’s so much more to say about 37Signals – for example the fact that they operate as a remote company and wrote a book about it – but this post is already lengthy enough. Onwards!

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