AMA Notes: “Launch plan: Build half a product. Not a half-ass product.” [With Jason Fried of Basecamp]

NextBigWhat’s Wednesday AMAs are now something that a lot of you in the product and growth community look forward to, and we do our best to get the top minds who can answer your queries and share their wisdom.

In the week prior to this, we had Shashank Mehta, Director of Product Strategy at Razorpay sharing his insights on Product Management and his take on the field.

In this week’s AMA, we had an incredibly well-known name – New York Times bestselling author and Founder & CEO of Basecamp, Jason Fried. It was an absolute delight to have him over and he took on all the questions – ranging from building a product to dealing with distraction – with aplomb.

Jason Fried: AMA @NextBigWhat
Jason Fried: AMA @NextBigWhat

The NextBigWhat AMA is supported by the awesome team @GOJEK. GOJEK is hiring great engineers and product leaders for its India offices (checkout the openings here).

Here are a few excerpts from the AMA:

How does Basecamp approach new product development?

We’ve always approached product development the same way: selfishly. We build what we need, and then we find other people like us that want what we’ve made. When you make things for other people it’s really hard to know if it’s any good. When you make something for yourself, you can directly judge efficacy. [Read More]

Does Basecamp have roadmaps?

No roadmaps. We think 6-weeks at a time ( The future is a direction. It’s like “heading towards something” without having to define every single step along the way. “Let’s go this way”, or “Let’s generally head in this direction” and then you figure it out 6 weeks a time as you go. [Read More]

What makes you so productive?

I get a lot done because I don’t have much to do. I know that sounds odd, but it’s true. On any given day I have a couple things to do, and I try to focus entirely on those things. I don’t keep a personal to-do list, I don’t overwhelm myself with a long list of stuff I’ll never get to, I don’t keep a backlog of things I must do in the future. I ruthlessly edit down what I need to do, and just do what’s left. [Read More]

What kind of a launch plan would you recommend to young entrepreneurs?

Launch plan… “Build half a product, not a half-ass product”. The tendency is to want to make version 1 AMAZING and include EVERYTHING, but that leads to super long projects and time frames which can be demoralizing. So we recommend ruthlessly editing down and picking the best half of your ideas. Start there for your first version. And then add more and improve once you’re released. [Read More]

What books would you recommend?

I think “Turn The Ship Around” is a great book on leadership. And “Thinking In Bets” is a good one re: decision making. But I typically think business books are too long. I think you can learn more from reading good short writing like Warren Buffet’s annual shareholder letters. Bezos’s shareholder letters, too.

Books by Jason Fried:

[Read the rest here]

If you are getting into Product Management, do apply for the upcoming cohort of NextBigWhat’s Product Management Course.

Aside, the next AMA is scheduled for Wednesday — go ahead and join the community of DOERs and stay

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