Why You Can't Work at Work

There’s a reason why the subtle trivialities of office life have long been a springboard for some of our most absurd humor: much of our day-to-day duties are arbitrary, unnecessary, yet seem to linger on in almost every profession. As today’s guest and co-founder of 37signals, Jason Fried, explains, we may have finally reached a point where we have the tools and incentives to actually move past the stifling pettiness of cubicle-culture and develop work spaces that are not only more human but also produce results.

Like meetings: What do these charades actually accomplish? In most companies, infuriatingly little.


Masterminded and ambitious business plans? Don’t these generally prove naïve wastes of time only serve to make institutions more blind-sighted to the opportunities around them?

According to the co-founder of 37signals, there are myriad other fundamental and unnecessary problems in even our most ‘innovative’ companies. Silicon Valley provides a number of examples: the dependence on the seemingly endless venture capital; the fetishizing of employing a large and unnecessary amount of people; gunning after accounts with slow and stubborn Fortune 500 companies; the undying focus on short-lived ‘trends’—all of these serve to make a business well… not actually a business.

Fried also elaborates on why drug dealers may have discovered the correct business model for the digital world (hint: it’s not the ad model). As well as giving out 3 tips for web developers.

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