Be nice. Or else.
Hey Mig, glad to have you with us today. I don’t think your work needs an introduction so I’ll start things off with a few questions.
Hey Matt, great questions.
There aren’t “typical” days at Basecamp, per se. It’s different for everyone that works here. Out of about 45 people in the company, only about 12 live in Chicago. For me in particular, I like to spend half my time at my favorite Chicago coffee shops, and the other half in our office. For tools, everyone has their own preferences for how they write code and design. I’d say most of the designers fire up Photoshop for image editing, Illustrator for illustrations, but nearly all of us work in a text/code editor and get our hands dirty with HTML and Sass sooner than later. Even our Customer Support team uses Terminal, Git and Markdown to update our help pages. We’re a really hands-on type of culture.
Regarding creative blocks, I never try to force an idea. If something isn’t coming to you, staring at your blank canvas won’t make it appear. So I take breaks. I may switch projects that only require tedious production types of tasks—or I may not work altogether. I’ll pull out a book, or my Kindle, and get my mind off code, design, and the problem I’ve been trying to solve. I think people feel bad when they aren’t working every second, and that seems a little crazy to me. Inspiration and motivation comes in waves for a lot of people—me especially. So when I don’t have it, I don’t force it. Tomorrow is another day.
My one piece of advice to beginners would be to dive right in to whatever it is you’re trying to learn. Basketball, the piano, or HTML. You can read about how to do something, but nothing will ever replace you actually getting in there, making mistakes, and trying all over again.
Be nice. Or else.
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