Reality 2.0 Newsletter - May 14, 2021: Workplace Communication

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A Quick Plug

Episode 69: What’s Up With Basecamp?

Katherine Druckman and Doc Searls talk about Basecamp’s new policy on workplace political conversation.

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Recently, Basecamp, the company behind the eponymous project management app and email, announced a set of controversial workplace policies that caused public pushback as well as significant employee resignations. In last week’s episode, we discussed this move and shared our own thoughts on communication in the workplace.

Ultimately, we’re rooting for Basecamp to reevaluate and move forward, but at the same time, we concluded that open communication is an important part of the human experience. Most importantly, it is absolutely necessary to foster an environment for learning.

We’d encourage you to dive into the links below, listen to this short episode, and come to your own conclusions. If anything strikes you, please reach out here in a comment, or on any of our social outlets, or via our contact form.

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This Week’s Reading List

  • Changes at Basecamp — Recently, we've made some internal company changes, which, taken in total, collectively feel like a full version change. It deserves an announcement.

  • The story of Basecamp’s disastrous policy - The Verge — On April 26th, Basecamp founder and CEO Jason Fried posted on his blog about some policy changes that would be happening at the company, which makes team collaboration software. One policy stuck out to many on the internet — the company would no longer be allowing its employees to have discussions about society or politics on its internal account. What followed was a tidal wave of public outcry, employees speaking out against the policies (and talking about what led to them), several revisions of the blog post, and, finally, almost a third of the company’s employees deciding to accept buyouts and leave. There has since been an apology from Fried, but it remains to be seen if any more will be coming — there are still accusations made by employees that haven’t really been addressed.

  • The Utopia of Rules: On Technology, Stupidity, and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy: Graeber, David: 9781612195186: Books — Where does the desire for endless rules, regulations, and bureaucracy come from? How did we come to spend so much of our time filling out forms? And is it really a cipher for state violence?

  • The Soul of A New Machine: Kidder, Tracy: 9780316491976: Books — Computers have changed since 1981, when The Soul of a New Machine first examined the culture of the computer revolution. What has not changed is the feverish pace of the high-tech industry, the go-for-broke approach to business that has caused so many computer companies to win big (or go belly up), and the cult of pursuing mind-bending technological innovations.

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