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Chapter 6:

Who Does What?

Next: Where We Work →

Figuring out who to bring a particular issue or question to shouldn’t be a guessing game. Most concerns fall pretty clearly within the responsibility of a specific team at Basecamp, and the head of that team should be the first point of contact. At the same time, every single person who works at Basecamp is approachable and friendly, more than willing to point you in the right direction. If you have a question, you’re probably not the first, so speak up!

Below you’ll find a list of the major groups and teams within the company. They’re listed in alphabetical order by group name first and then, when relevant, by team. Inside groups/teams, people are listed in alphabetical order by last name, and the most senior people in a group/team are shown in bold.

Admin

Andrea LaRowe is Basecamp’s Head of People Ops. Andrea works with Jason and David to make working at Basecamp an excellent experience for its employees. She manages the day-to-day operations of the company, human resources, benefits & payroll administration, and event planning. Andrea is often the best person to tap first, when you don’t know who to talk to about a problem.

Navid Afshar is Basecamp’s admin assistant. He assists Andrea with all administrative operations, and he’s primarily responsible for coordinating the details for our meetups. Navid is another great person to ping if you don’t know where to go with a question.

Customer Support (aka Team OMG)

Kristin Aardsma is the head of the customer support team. She’s responsible for the entire customer support team which uses Help Scout to respond to customer tickets. Her team consists of Jabari Allen (US), Ashley Bowe (US), Janice Burch (US), Sylvia Chong (Hong Kong), Chase Clemons (US), Merissa Dawson (US), Shanae Dykes (US), Tony Giang (Australia), James Glazebrook (Germany), Elizabeth Gramm (US), Chris Joyce (United Kingdom), Lexi Kent-Monning (US), Jim Mackenzie (United Kingdom), Jayne Ogilvie (United Kingdom), and Joan Stewart (US).

Executive

We have two C-level executives at Basecamp.

CEO

Jason Fried is our CEO and runs design. He’s principally responsible for setting the overall direction of the company. That means deciding when to embark on a new version of Basecamp or experiment with a side project (Basecamp-spinoff Know Your Company is one example). Jason also spends a lot of time writing and speaking about what we’ve learned about business, design, and organizations. He was one of the original three founders who started 37signals, the design firm that led to Basecamp, back in 1999.

CTO

David Heinemeier Hansson is our CTO and runs technology. He’s responsible for setting the technical direction of our products. He originally created Ruby on Rails, the web framework that we’ve built all our products on top of. David also spends a lot of time sharing what we’ve learned to the world. He has been working with Jason since 2001 and became a partner at the company when 37signals, the design company, transitioned to do products instead of working for clients in 2004.

Data

Our data analyst is Jane Yang. She is responsible for testing and analyzing all sorts of Basecamp data – conversion rates, pricing models, back-end operational performance, user experience, and oh-so-much more. She works with Justin White on SIP to maintain our data pipeline.

Design

The design group is led by Jonas Downey and consists of four teams:

Marketing

Adam Stoddard is our lead marketing designer, and the only person on this team. He’s responsible for all design on basecamp.com, rework.fm, and any other public-facing web properties like the Basecamp help sites, etc. He’ll also occasionally work on physical products (book covers, merch design, etc).

Mobile

Jamie Dihiansan is our Android designer, and Conor Muirhead designs for the iOS team.

Web/Desktop

Jonas Downey, Scott Upton, and Jason Zimdars are responsible for any Basecamp product design on the web or the native desktop app.

Video/motion

Shaun Hildner is our resident filmmaker and makes marketing and customer support videos. He’s the only person on this team. He’s also well adept at audio production, and co-produces our REWORK podcast.

Product Strategy

Ryan Singer heads up product strategy and is the only person on this team. Ryan looks for insights into customer behavior using a variety of methods, and plays a key role in helping inform product direction and how we work. Ryan was part of the original group of four people at the company when Basecamp-the-product was first launched in 2004.

Programming

The programming group is led by David Heinemeier Hansson and consists of four teams:

Core Product

Core Product works on new features for Basecamp together with the product designers. They’re also responsible for the user-facing backend systems such as Queenbee, 37id, and the API. Jeff Hardy is the team lead and works with Kasper Timm Hansen, Pratik Naik, and Flora Saramago.

Mobile

Basecamp 3 was the first version of Basecamp that launched with two complete, awesome native applications for Android and iOS on day one. That was only possible because we dedicated stable teams to both efforts. Jay Ohms is team lead and works with Dan Kim on Basecamp’s native Android app. Zach Waugh is team lead and works with Dylan Ginsburg to develop our Basecamp iOS app.

Research & Fidelity (RF)

Our rich text editor Trix and our front-end framework Turbolinks were both born from RF. They work on deep research projects like those two, but also on all manners of UI fidelity in general. That means a lot of JavaScript, but also integrating that with our Ruby and native code. Sam Stephenson is team lead and works with Javan Makhmali.

Security, Infrastructure & Performance (SIP)

SIP is our instant-response team whenever something goes wrong, is about to go wrong, or is expected soon to go wrong! Our galaxy defenders, if you will. They are the primary programming team working together with Operations to ensure that our applications are always safe, secure, and fast. Jeremy Daer is the team lead and works with George Claghorn, Rosa Gutiérrez, Justin White, and Jorge Manrubia.

QA

Before we ship a new feature, Michael Berger is our resident bug squasher. His job is to break things so we know what needs fixing. He runs rolling tests on all web and mobile versions of Basecamp for quality control. Few things ship without his stamp of quality approval.

The REWORK Podcast

REWORK is a Basecamp-produced podcast based on the 2010 book by Jason and David. Wailin Wong and Shaun Hildner co-produce and co-host the show. They previously co-produced The Distance, a podcast that ran for three years and showcased small businesses that have been operating for at least 25 years.

Technical Operations

The technical operations group is led by Troy Toman and consists of two teams:

Datacenter

Our Datacenter team is focused on keeping the applications that we run on our own equipment in Chicago, IL and Ashburn, VA in top shape. Basecamp 3 even runs out of both sites simultaneously! Eron Nicholson is the team lead and works with John Williams, Matthew Vincent and Colin O’Keeffe.

Cloud

The Cloud team works on newer approaches to running our applications on Amazon Web Services and the Google Cloud Platform. They maintain our suite of legacy apps with an eye on the future. Matthew Kent is the lead here and works with Nathan Anderson and Blake Stoddard.

We don’t just make Basecamp, we run our entire business on it too. It puts all our project communication, task management, and documentation in one place where everyone can work together seamlessly.