Hey Jason! Basecamp was a leader; now it can’t keep up. What happened?

Illustration by Dilara Özden

No one wants to use Campfire

After using Slack for years, no one wants to use Campfire. We love the idea of having an instant message channel dedicated to a single project. And we love the retention. But we can’t stand the UI.

“We don’t just make Basecamp, we run our entire business on it too.” — Basecamp Employee Handbook

Since Basecamp runs on Basecamp, and these formatting options aren’t available to them, perhaps your product team just can’t appreciate the added speed and clarity that block quotes, code quotes, and bold text can bring to messaging.

I don’t keep a list of all the [customer] complaints, because that’s too time-consuming. We also get thousands of suggestions. The default answer is always no.

—Jason Fried in an Inc.com interview

When the CEO is widely quoted, in books and interviews, as saying “no” to everything customers ask for, might there be a dark side to the culture this philosophy creates? How customer-focused can you be if there’s a strong mandate from the top to just say no all the time? After saying “no” to the same request for so many years, are you even consciously saying “no” anymore? Or are you just thoughtlessly ignoring people?

A lot of companies lie and say, “Sure, we’ll do that.” We never make promises that we can’t keep…

— Jason Fried in an Inc.com interview

Sure, some companies lie and say, “Sure, we’ll do that.” But is your goal merely to be better than companies that lie? There are other companies yet who do an amazing job at rapidly addressing issues and delivering new, valuable features. There are companies much more open to product feedback. Companies like Shopify deliver astounding sets of game-changing features at a truly breakneck pace. Stripe deploys changes to their platform 16 times a day, and they ask for feedback on every page.

Stipe asks for product feedback on every page of their platform.

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