No Quick Exits for “37 Signals” Founder

Jason Fried likes to think long-term. No quick exits for this entrepreneur nor for his company, 37 Signals — a web collaboration application for small businesses that he co-founded in 1999.

That was 14 years ago. The other co-founders are long gone… but Fried says he likes the work he does so much, that he intends to continue at his company for the rest of his life.

Over the years, countless numbers of investors have approached Fried, offering financial investment in the company. He refused most of them, saying that 37 Signals wasn’t in need of outside money. However, in 2006, he did accept one offer — from Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of

“Jeff’s a very long-term thinker,” says Fried, who stressed that the billionaire did not need the few million dollars of profit that he would gain from an investment in 37 Signals. Rather, says Fried, it was a gesture of support to ensure the company’s longevity. “He’s not interested in pushing us to get out [in an exit]. It was a good fit because he’s a long-term guy and we’re long-term guys. I’d like to be in this business forever.”

Fried reveals how he captures the first thousand users for Basecamp — the company’s project management tool, why he stays away from reading industry publications, and why he disapproves when developers disparage the work of their colleagues. ❒

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