Hi. I'm Tim.
I can't overstate how excited I am to see a product designer position open up at Basecamp. I have a lot to tell you, so let's get started.
First, some housekeeping
There's a bit of a story up ahead, so I wanted to get these out of the way:
I work for Fulcrum which is built on Rails. Ruby on Rails experience: ✅
I've had "managers", but essentially I've decided what to work on and seen it through to the end for much of my tenure. Manager of one: ✅
Writing has become a favorite part of my work. There's something so satisfying about a sentence with zero fat on it: ✅
Also, when I hire a designer the first thing I want to see is their work, so here's that.
A little history
On a fall morning in 2010, I took the elevator up one story to the office occupied by Spatial Networks, Inc. My attendance brought the number of employees up to twelve. Hired as a UI designer to help shape the look and feel for one of their new products, I was shown around the office to greet everyone, eventually settling into a generic office chair next to the product manager. There, beneath a whiteboard already full of ideas, began an education in design, collaboration, professionalism, refinement, and creativity that recently entered its second decade.
When I was hired, there were no other designers. They reached a point with the software where the developers had taken the design as far as they could and were ready to hand over the reigns so they could get back to work. The product needed a look & feel, a logo, a website, trade show collateral - the works. While the company was already ten years old, the foray into SaaS and product design was a new venture.
Over the next several years, I worked on building up my skills to contribute as fully as possible and make the lives of my team members easier. The more I learned, the more closely I was able to collaborate, and the smoother the design & building process went. I love the feeling of working with a developer and being able to say, "I can do X & Y. You just worry about Z." With every new project, I try to learn something new that might carry over to the next one, aiming for a compounding effect that will lead to meaningful growth for myself and the products on which I work.
I've been following the evolution of Basecamp since you were 37 Signals, and I've always been enamored with the honesty represented in how you communicate, do business, build software, write copy...the list goes on. You treat your customers, readers, followers, and even the haters as adults who can handle the truth, whether they agree with it or not. I think it's that honesty that permits the highest amount of clarity possible, empowering everyone to do their best work.
The philosophy behind Basecamp is at the core of what compels me to apply for the Product Designer position. As happy as I've been at Fulcrum, Basecamp is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of place. The quality of Basecamp's products is more than enough to elicit the desire to work with you, but it's the way you work that draws me in.
For years, our team talked about improving our product development process and we went through various versions of Agile, Scrum, Nothing™ (doing essentially 'whatever'), etc. I read Shape Up the day it came out and knew this was the only way I wanted to build software. I was in the middle of working on a new global navigation feature for Fulcrum and felt unclear about the fully-baked Figma mockups I was designing. "Unclear" is one of my least favorite states of Being, which is why Shape Up resonated so strongly. I stopped working on the feature and proposed a change in our process. At the time we were using a combination of Asana, Github, and Slack, but after sharing my Shape Up epiphany, we purchased Basecamp and immediately started onboarding the engineering team. I became an ambassador for Basecamp and Shape Up, helping bring everyone up to speed on why we were switching and how this would help.
An aside: As I was writing this, I remembered that I thought this was such an important moment for me and for our company, I took a screenshot of the original Asana post I sent to our Product Manager, VP of Product, and CTO and labeled it "Fulcrum Turning Point" (see below). This really was a complete shift in how we thought about building features and we saw improvement right away, shipping the next several well-shaped features on time from the outset.
I've worked on Fulcrum since it was brand new in 2011 and I've spent years cultivating its growth and evolution with a fantastic team around me. The way Basecamp builds software gels incredibly well with the way I think, which scratches the exact itch in my brain that gets me excited to get out of bed and get at 'er. I think the quality of my design work is strong, but I consider my desire to get things done and my capacity to solve problems, learn, & continue growing to be my best attributes.
This is my future and I want Basecamp in it
Having just eclipsed the ten year mark at my company, I naturally took stock of my career and what my future might hold. While I'm incredibly grateful for my time here, I'm thrilled for the opportunity to throw my hat into the ring and pursue a professional dream of mine. I (obviously) don't tend to jump from company to company, so I'm looking for a stable, enriching, in-it-for-the-long-haul kind of career at Basecamp. This is a bit nerdy, but one sign that this is the right move for me is the fact that I don't feel nervous at all when I visualize what my first day would be like. I don't feel like an imposter, or like I tricked anyone into hiring me. When I imagine my first day, I just can't wait to meet everyone and get settled into a groove, having years of fantastic experiences and challenges ahead of me.
Whatever happens, I appreciate the transparency you all continue to show as a company. It makes the lives, careers, and companies in the software industry a lot better, and is a shining example of what's possible when you operate with honesty and respect in mind.
Talk to you soon, and be safe.