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Jason Fried: Slow Growth Is the Healthiest Growth

Basecamp Founder Jason Fried explains his decision to become a one-product company.

Moving fast in the name of soaring growth comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur, right? Basecamp founder Jason Fried isn't buying it. Fast growth isn't the only path to success, he says--at least not for his company.

Fried decided earlier this year to become a one-product business. You might recognize Fried's company--formerly 37signals--as the creator of other popular productivity tools like Highrise, Backpack, and Campfire. Now Fried's 42-person team focuses solely on its project management tool, Basecamp. 

"I'm a fan of slow, consistent growth. I feel like it's the healthiest way to grow. Whenever I see things shoot up, whenever I see hockey stick growth, I just get nervous about it," Fried told Inc.

But it wasn't merely a gut feeling that led Fried to decide to scale back. 

"We looked at the things we were doing, the things we've done, and we realized that we couldn't do them all at a high level of quality. We could do them. We were doing them. But we were diluted, and it was very difficult to execute at a high level on multiple things. It's hard to do one thing well, and we were trying to do four, five or six or ten things well," Fried said. 

Yes, there was employee resistance and doubt that came soon after Fried made the decision, he said. But when Fried clearly explained his reasoning for the maneuver, his team got on board. 

"I think, like anything, if you explain the vision and you're clear about it people will come along with you if they believe in it," Fried said.  

 
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Last updated: Aug 15, 2014

LAURA MONTINI | Staff Writer

Laura Montini is a reporter at Inc. She previously covered health care technology for Health 2.0 News and has served as an associate editor at The Health Care Blog. She lives in San Francisco.




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