Basecamp chooses culture over ( short term) profit

Published on
February 6, 2014
Chris Taylor
"Ideas are only valuable when applied."
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I love it when companies make choices like this.

For those not familiar with the company 37Signals, let’s get you up to speed:

1. 37Signals is a web design firm tuned software company that has produced tools like Basecamp, Highrise, Campfire and others.

2. Founders Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson have penned several books, including Rework and Getting Real.

3. They run a Results Only Work Environment, empowering employees to make decisions on how to spend their time (and everything else).

4. They’ve preached for years the importance (to them) in keeping their team small.

And this week, they announced that they’re spinning off all products with the exception of Basecamp, to keep their team lean and their focus singular.

Despite enormous success with their other products.

Despite societal pressures to continue to grow their empire.

They are, in the words of Bo Burlingham, “choosing to stay small“.

Because they know what they want. They have a culture that invites input from the team and, unlike so many, focusing on their culture is not some corporate marketing message. It’s the real deal. The team at 37signals reflected on their successes, took a look at where they were headed, and made a proactive decision to move in a direction that – while potentially contrary to popular belief in what they “should” do – was absolutely true to their culture. A culture they work fiercely to protect.

Well done, 37signals. The business world at large (and the tech world specifically) need more shining examples like you.