Episode #296: Jason Fried on Why It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work

Jason Fried thinks deeply about collaboration, productivity and the nature of work. He's the co-founder of project management platform Basecamp. Founded in 1999, Basecamp has been recognised by Forbes as one of America’s best small businesses. His 2010 TED talk on ‘Why Work Doesn’t Happen At Work’ has been viewed over 5 million times.

He’s also the co-author of Rework, which is about new ways to conceptualize working and creating, as well as the brand new ‘It Doesn’t Have To Be Crazy At Work’, in which he rejects the prevailing notion that long hours, aggressive hustle, and "whatever it takes" are required to run a successful business today. The Economist called the book funny, well-written and iconoclastic and by far the best thing on management published this year.

As somebody who shares many of Jason’s philosophies on work, I really enjoyed this conversation. Organisations are projected to invest US$2T into digital transformation by 2022 to make them more efficient, but they could reap what I would argue are vastly greater rewards, not only in terms of productivity but in terms of employee wellness, if they just changed the way they work today.

Jason and I unpacked many lessons on productivity from his book, including:

1)   Why is everybody ‘so, so busy’?

2)   Why more people doesn’t mean faster or better outcomes; and

3)   A handful of simple changes that you can make today to radically increase your productivity and enjoyment of work and life

With that, I bring you the one and only, Jason Fried.

Topics Discussed:

-      Why being busy has become a badge of honour

-      The dangers of not getting enough sleep

-      The peril of managers and meetigs

-      Brook’s Law

-      Why 80 hour work weeks aren’t spent actually working

-      Facilitating outcomes with a remotely distributed team

-      Jason’s notion of a ‘calm company’

-      Why Basecamp has rejected hundreds of offers from venture capitalists and investors

-      Why raising capital shouldn’t be conflated with success for startups

-      Setting realistic deadlines

-      So-called perks that are designed to keep people in the office

-      How to defend your time

-      Commitment, not concensus

-      Using work as an excuse not to live

-      Overcollaboration in the workplace

-      Outsourcing accountability and blame

-      How to say no

-      Jason’s rituals and routines

Show Notes:

  1. Basecamp.com (project and team communications software)
  2. Get the book: https://www.amazon.com/Doesnt-Have-Be-Crazy-Work/dp/0062874780
  3. Twitter: @jasonfried
  4. Medium: @jasonfried
  5. Jason’s TED Talk:  https://www.ted.com/talks/jason_fried_why_work_doesn_t_happen_at_work?language=en
  6. Why We Sleep book: https://www.amazon.com/Why-We-Sleep-Unlocking-Dreams/dp/1501144316


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November 24, 2018




Steve Glaveski

Future Squared


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