January 18, 2024

Rules of the Road 🚦

Hey there,

We just finished updating the 37signals employee handbook. Yes, I know. You’d rather read the dictionary than an employee handbook. They’re usually full of dense policies that are hard to understand and often out of date. They don’t tell you anything about how the company really works, or the things that matter most to you, like pay or promotions. But ours is much different. We put a lot of effort into being very transparent about how we work, and it’s just 16 pages. Here are a few sections that may be interesting to you:

Getting started: Onboarding new people well takes thought and preparation, and you never get a second shot at those "first day vibes." Your first day at a new job should be full of excitement. But in remote work, you’ll likely just walk to your same home office spot, turn on your computer, and get started without much fanfare. We do our best to give people a warm welcome through posts and pre-scheduled introductions. Each person’s onboarding project gives them an overview of what’s going to happen, what they should spend their time on, and what’s expected.

How we work: No matter what role you hold at 37signals, our cadence of 6-week cycles, and asynchronous work and communication are fundamentals. They’re a big part of how we prioritize work and keep our calendars free for periods of deep work and focus. We also have a few rituals, that are experiences shared by all, that help keep us connected to each other and our customers.

Your career path: People are motivated by personal growth; increasing their skills, developing a career. We make it clear from the start what the titles and proficiencies are for each job function, and how we calculate pay for each role. Qualifications and progress toward promotion shouldn’t be a guessing game.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we work, and how we use Basecamp, register for our upcoming Office Hours session on February 8th, 11:00 a.m. Central Time. Ashley and Kimberly will be leading a tour through our company HQ project, What Works, cycle projects, Automatic Check-ins, and more.

In the meantime, here are a few other things you might have missed…

Thoughts We’ve Shared

  • Swimming the center or the edge
    Imagine a vast swimming pool 25 miles long, 50 miles wide, and 25 feet deep. Swimming this pool is akin to running a business. And how you swim this pool is akin to how you run the business. Everyone starts at the beginning, but you decide how close to the center or the edge you swim. There’s only one rule: You can’t turn around, there’s no going back. Where would you start?
    — Jason Fried
  • Pessimism is on the retreat
    We’ve lived through some strange years in the recent past. Much stranger than any I can remember since my earliest, solid memories of the broader world from the mid-80s. That’s been the vibe, at least as I’ve received it, over the last half decade at least. But I think maybe the fever is finally breaking. The dark clouds of pessimism are parting from optimistic rays of light. I think they’re seeping into the groundwater, and we’re seeing sprouts everywhere with brighter, greener hues of positivity.
    — David Heinemeier Hansson

Things We’re Excited About

  • HEY Calendar
    Thanks to all the early release and beta testers of the new HEY Calendar! After some drama getting approved for Apple’s app store, we’re thrilled to have released the Calendar across all platforms (web, iOS, and Android). If you don’t have HEY already, today’s the perfect day to jump in with a 14-day free trial at hey.com.
  • Rails World and Rails 8 in 2024
    Last October’s Rails World was the first major Rails conference on the European continent in over a decade, and sold out in less than 40 minutes! So in 2024, we’ll nearly double the capacity for attendance, and again have tons of new stuff to talk about for the next one in September in Toronto. It’ll be the conference where you go to hear about the latest technology and techniques in the Rails world from the people who build and advanced it.

Until next time,
Elaine, COO of 37signals

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