Check out the show notes for the Jason Fried episode: http://kadavy.net/blog/post...
Subscribe on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us...
Subscribe on Stitcher: http://www.stitcher.com/pod...
All of the episodes: http://kadavy.net/podcast
Jason Fried photo by Erika Dufour.
David Kadavy 00:17 All right. I’ve got a few questions that are a little more canned questions as we wrap up. What’s the biggest compromise that you’ve had to make in your career to have the success that you have?
Jason Fried 00:12 Well, the biggest compromise. That’s a really great question. I’ve never been asked that question. I love when I’ve never been asked a question before. Those are great questions. So I made a compromise– I’ll talk about inside the business, and this is interesting because it turned out to be a great thing. So David, who’s my business partner– I’d had two partners originally in 37signals and then they both left, and so it was just me. And taking on another partner was a compromise in some ways, because it’s, to me, like, “I’m running the show now, and now I’m going to bring someone else in and someone else’s opinions are going to matter at that level.” So it was like–
David Kadavy 01:00 And David, by the way, could be called a contrarian thinker as well, right?
Jason Fried 01:04 Absolutely.
David Kadavy 01:06 So lots of opportunities for you to disagree.
Jason Fried 01:10 Yeah, and we do disagree. We still disagree deeply on certain things. We agree on
most things, and then there are some things that are on the edges that we disagree on deeply, which is really healthy, and that’s my point. Sometimes it feels like I have to give– it would be easier if I could just do whatever I wanted, right? But the company wouldn’t be better, and that’s what I’ve come to realize, and I realized it pretty early. I’m just talking about the moment of thinking on taking on another partner, again, was this moment where I have to make compromises, and it turns out that compromises are actually really damn good things to make sometimes. But at the time I just remember thinking, “I’ve got it all now.” And this actually includes ownership in the company. I owned a 100% of the company, and David came on as a partner and now he owns a piece. He owned more and more over time. Looking back on it, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made, but I just remember, going back, thinking about–
David Kadavy 02:09 It was a point of tension, right?
Jason Fried 02:11 Yeah, absolutely. Internally.
David Kadavy 02:12 It could have gone either way.
Jason Fried 02:13 It could have gone either way. Also, I talked to my dad about it, and my dad’s always been someone who’s like, “Never have a partner in business. Never take on a partner because a lot of them dissolve and it gets really messy and horrible,” and I’ve been really fortunate to always be able to work with great people. But this is not a compromise I’ve considered recently. I’m thrilled with how things have turned out. But I just remember at the moment really feeling like I’m taking–
David Kadavy 02:38 And the two of you had worked together before that point. It wasn’t just blindly going into this partnership.
Jason Fried 02:45 No. Yeah, we’d worked together, and I actually encourage people to do that. I hired David–
David Kadavy 02:46 Like dating before getting married.
Jason Fried 02:48 Yeah, absolutely. And I hired David as a– David was still in school when I first met him, and I hired him. He only had ten hours a week to give me as on a contract basis to build Basecamp. Actually, before that we were working on some client work together as a contractor, because we didn’t have any programmers on staff and he was the first programmer I had ever worked with. This client hired us to build an intranet for them and we’re like, “We can do the design,” and they’re like, “Well, we want you to do the back end too,” and I didn’t know how to do that. I found David, and he did it with us. Anyway, we had experience working together on multiple levels, but it’s still– like, the moment you decide to bring someone into your business, as the remaining founder, it’s a difficult moment. Even though [crosstalk].
David Kadavy 03:40 I [?] it myself. I own 100% of my business, and it would be kind of agony to make a decision like that.
Jason Fried 03:48 Totally. And I think there’s still times– I’ll speak for David. I’m guessing David feels the same way, that there’s times David would just like to do things his own way and there’s times I’d like to do things my own way. But the fact that we can’t do that and we discuss these things with each other, we end up with something better. But there’s also, of course, frustrating moments for everybody in every relationship.