Jason Fried Basecamp founder and CEO posted on his blog April 26th about changes in policy at the company that makes collaboration tools. One policy stood out to many: employees will not be allowed to discuss politics or the state of society on the company’s internal accounts
It was followed by a flood of public outcry, employees speaking out against policies, and discussing why they were made. There were many revisions to the blog post, and nearly a quarter of employees chose to take buyouts or to leave. It is unclear if Fried will apologize again.
The story of Basecamp’s disastrous policy
The whole story is now available here. Keep an eye out for future updates.
Jason Fried is Basecamp CEO. He has since apologized. The “policy changes” he announced on Wednesday resulted in a third employee leaving the company.
Fried said that last week’s events were horrible. Fried noted that we began with policy changes that felt reasonable, easy, and consistent. However, it caused cultural disruptions that we didn’t anticipate. We are sorry. We have much to learn and reflect upon.
A list of new company policies that prohibit “societal or political discussion” within company forums was the blog post that caused the company to have a terrible week.
Today’s political, social and economic waters are turbulent. These issues are more problematic at work.
Casey Newton was Verge contributor editor. Later, Management learned that the original motivation behind the letter was incontinence over an “unfunny” list of Basecamp customers. Other employees deemed the inclusion of these names inappropriate and considered them racist.
Fried’s original blog post provoked immediate criticism. David Heinemeier Hansson, the co-founder, posted a plan to sever employees who disagree with the company’s direction a few days later. No questions asked. ” We will assist those who cannot see a future at Basecamp in this new direction in any way that we can.
Newton said that the all hands meeting held on Friday pushed some employees to take the severance offer. Singer (18 years old) eventually resigned.
Fried’s Tuesday posting contained an apology, but it didn’t address Singer situation or tension. Basecamp also apologized to employees who stayed.
Our second message to staff: We get it. It can be difficult for people to let go. We are so grateful to you for your loyalty and support.
Fried’s latest post provides assurances to customers that Basecamp will support them. “
Fried concluded his speech by promising to “regroup & rebuild” before returning to creating great software. He didn’t elaborate on what that would look like. “We will remain in the business until it is gone forever