37signals' Jason Fried: If You Have a Big Idea, Chop It in Half

Big ideas are usually too big, says Jason Fried, co-founder of the software company 37signals and co-author of the workplace manifesto "Rework." "If we have a big idea, let’s chop that idea in half," he says. "Let’s chop it in half again.  Let’s figure out what the core thing is, what the three things you need to do are and let’s do those things really, really well."

In his most recent Big Think interview, Fried talks about his innovative and provocative ideas about how to run a company in the new economy.  Fried says it's important to remember that "interruption and collaboration are two different things. In the modern workplace with the open work space and lots of hard materials everywhere, and people cramped in really close to one another, it just encourages interruption. It doesn’t encourage collaboration."

He's also not such a big fan of companies that are funded by venture capital. "A venture-backed company on day one has to spend money," Fried said, adding, "A bootstrap company, like ours—we are self-funded—has to make money. ... I think on day one, if you have a choice, do you want to make money or do you want to spend money, you’re better off as an entrepreneur learning how to make money and not learning how to spend it."


Fried also speaks about why "free is fine," adding, "We like to liken it to emulating drug dealers, basically.  So, drug dealers give people a little taste, they get them hooked and then people buy more.  And you know, I hope our products are as addictive as crack.  They may not be, but I hope they are.  But the idea is that, that model works really well.  And so our products, you can try them for free.  You can try them as long as you want for free.  And then if you need some more of our products, more features or more capacity, then you can pay for them."

37signals has a policy of hiring infrequently and only when absolutely needed.  Of resumes, he said, "it’s spam," adding, its a "general purpose document that you give out to a lot of people.  If a cover letter is generic, I don’t want to talk to that person.  If a cover letter is written for us clearly, and you can tell in a cover letter, then you definitely want to consider that person because they actually want your job, not just a job, but your job."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Can the keto diet help treat depression? Here’s what the science says so far

A growing body of research shows promising signs that the keto diet might be able to improve mental health.

Public Domain
Mind & Brain
  • The keto diet is known to be an effective tool for weight loss, however its effects on mental health remain largely unclear.
  • Recent studies suggests that the keto diet might be an effective tool for treating depression, and clearing up so-called "brain fog," though scientists caution more research is necessary before it can be recommended as a treatment.
  • Any experiments with the keto diet are best done in conjunction with a doctor, considering some people face problems when transitioning to the low-carb diet.
Keep reading Show less

Steven Pinker's 13 rules for writing better

The Harvard psychologist loves reading authors' rules for writing. Here are his own.

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 21: Steven Pinker speaks onstage during OZY Fest 2018 at Rumsey Playfield, Central Park on July 21, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images for Ozy Media)
Personal Growth
  • Steven Pinker is many things: linguist, psychologist, optimist, Harvard professor, and author.
  • When it comes to writing, he's a student and a teacher.
  • Here's are his 13 rules for writing better, more simply, and more clearly.
Keep reading Show less

Want to age gracefully? A new study says live meaningfully

Thinking your life is worthwhile is correlated with a variety of positive outcomes.

YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images
Surprising Science
  • A new study finds that adults who feel their lives are meaningful have better health and life outcomes.
  • Adults who felt their lives were worthwhile tended to be more social and had healthier habits.
  • The findings could be used to help improve the health of older adults.
Keep reading Show less