Lugo Labs

Learning from the best: Basecamp

That’s where all started, right? Rails, web agency, online products, remote working, open source, blogging … Basecamp, or 37signals as they were first known, have been an inspiration for all this for the past decade.

Basecamp website front page

Basecamp website front page

Ruby on Rails

The open source framework that DHH created, was a major success for its simplicity in building online software. It was simple enough for the junior developers to pick up, but also sophisticated and extendable enough for the pros. It created a new industry and many new startups.

Web agency

Their initial landing page did not have parallax, big photos; it was just a list of 37 statements that defined the company and their clients at the same time. A text-only landing page with principles that are more actual than ever.

Online products

Basecamp built quite a few online products in the past 10 years, focusing on project management, and collaboration tools. The products came with less features than the established tools, and thus were simple and easier to use. Now they have decided to focus only on Basecamp and are transitioning out the others.

Remote working

Remote working is at the roots of the company, even though they use offices from time to time. They even wrote a book about it. The employees work in different time zones and love it. Having worked remotely myself for the past four years, I easily identify with their points.

Open source

Rails was one of the first open source projects together with Ruby, and jQuery. It has received commits by thousands of different developers. Opening up Rails has also put attention back to the company, especially with clients that use Rails developers.

Blogging

Basecamp’s blog, Signal vs Noise was a great resource of business, software and social ideas from the start. It was refreshing because it was honest, different, without bells and whistles. They generated all their best selling books from the blog posts they had previously written, starting with Getting Real. I remember reading it and being fascinated by it.