My Visit to Basecamp in Chicago This Week

Posted by David Chism | Fri, Oct 6, 2017

 My Visit to Basecamp in Chicago This Week
Today’s post is more of a jour­nal entry about my vis­it to Base­camp: My cus­tomers know how big of a fan I am of the pop­u­lar project man­age­ment soft­ware, Base­camp. They know I use it and push them to use it all the time. It is sim­ply an excel­lent tool for con­trac­tors to use to com­mu­ni­cate with each oth­er and for man­age­ment and staff to check in on their teams.  This week, I flew to Chica­go to attend a busi­ness con­sult­ing con­fer­ence for home improve­ment con­trac­tors. Before the con­fer­ence, I spent a day in down­town Chica­go as a tourist. While I was grab­bing a cup of cof­fee and catch­ing up on my emails, I real­ized that the Base­camp head­quar­ters was locat­ed in down­town Chica­go. For many years now, one of my goals has been to vis­it Base­camp. I did not have a phone num­ber, but I emailed one of my con­tacts who helps run the iOS devel­op­ment team. I am one of their beta testers, so I fig­ured that it could­n’t hurt to ask if I could pop in for a vis­it. I was sur­prised to hear right back, Absolute­ly. Come on over!” The major­i­ty of Base­camp employ­ees actu­al­ly live all over the U.S. and in a few oth­er coun­tries, as well. I was sur­prised to learn that they were hav­ing an all-com­pa­ny meet­ing the week I was in town. That after­noon, I walked to the head­quar­ters to ful­fill one of my busi­ness goals: get­ting a tour of Base­camp, meet­ing the staff and their founder, Jason Fried. In some cir­cles, Base­camp has a cult fol­low­ing sim­i­lar to Apple’s. I’m one of those fan­boys. The prod­uct has helped me man­age over 35 ongo­ing projects and hun­dreds of thou­sands of tasks with­out stress­ing out. So obvi­ous­ly I was like a kid in a can­dy shop when I got to meet their team. [cap­tion id=“attachment_3641” align=“alignright” width=“400”] Pro­mo­tion­al item — a Base­camp client made for them.[/caption]

Great Place to Work

The tour only last­ed 10 min­utes. There real­ly was not too much to see. The archi­tec­ture and lay­out of the offices and spaces were great. You can it check it out here. It was a very chill place to work for sure! What was most impres­sive was just see­ing the employ­ees and how they real­ly seemed to love work­ing there. Twice a year, Base­camp flies their employ­ees into Chica­go for a week-long vis­it. They are required to work dur­ing this vis­it. It is sort of a manda­to­ry vaca­tion” if you will but it’s also a way for them to con­nect with their team in per­son. They were not accom­mo­dat­ing vis­i­tors when I popped in for my vis­it. So they were not putting on a show for me. The Base­camp staff was hard at work. They were all in meet­ings, brain­storm­ing, col­lab­o­rat­ing, tak­ing notes, etc. to make their prod­uct bet­ter. Yet they did not have to do this! It was impres­sive to see employ­ees work­ing when they were not required to do so to make their com­pa­ny bet­ter.

A 90 Minute Meeting

The iOS devel­op­er asked if I mind­ed sit­ting down with his team while I was there to dis­cuss how I use Base­camp and how my paint­ing clients do as well. They were real­ly inter­est­ed in learn­ing how they could improve their prod­uct. I found out too that I was one of the top mobile users of their prod­uct (and there are mil­lions of users — not sure if that is a good thing that I’m using it so much or not!). Any­way, before our meet­ing, I was intro­duced to Jason Fried, their founder. He was just as I expect­ed him to be: friend­ly, pro­fes­sion­al yet super chill and a good con­ver­sa­tion­al­ist. I have such respect for how he has built Base­camp and not been dis­tract­ed try­ing to build a pro­gram that does every­thing. Instead, it sim­ply does project and inter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tions beau­ti­ful­ly. What I thought would be a 10 – 15 minute meet­ing with the iOS team last­ed close to 90 min­utes. I was able to screen­cast my iPhone and walk them through how I use Base­camp. I then shared a cou­ple of paint­ing cus­tomer’s projects and how they use it. We had some great dia­logue about improve­ments and obvi­ous­ly my wish­list. Base­camp is not per­fect. I want it to do more, so I was able to share some of those things with the team and why I thought mobile users would ben­e­fit.

Base­camp for Painters

2017 has been the biggest year for me in terms of con­vinc­ing many painters over to sign up and use Base­camp. They are begin­ning to use it with their field employ­ees to post pic­tures, check-in, chat, man­age job tasks and much more. My goal for 2018 is to get these painters and oth­er con­trac­tors to use it for all their com­mu­ni­ca­tions and task man­age­ment. It will save them time and help keep them more orga­nized. I loved see­ing a few of my clients and attend­ing the con­fer­ence. But going to Base­camp and get­ting an inside look into the way they oper­ate just made me more of a Base­camp evan­ge­list. If your orga­ni­za­tion is stuck using tex­ting, email or an even more com­plex sys­tem, check out Base­camp. It is sim­ple and easy to use! You’ll be glad you did.

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


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