Small Giants Community

August 14, 2023

Growing with Purpose Podcast: "Out-teaching" the Competition with Jason Fried

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Jason Fried-2


On this episode of the Growing with Purpose podcast, host Paul Spiegelman speaks with Jason Fried, co-founder and CEO of 37 Signals, as well as the co-author of several books such as Shape Up and It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work.

As soon as Jason was old enough to work at the age of 13, his parents encouraged him to do so. From a young age, he was able to observe – and learn from – various management styles. Jason also took on an early interest in developing software, and freelanced and sold his own products throughout college. By the time he co-founded 37 Signals in 1999, he had an informed opinion of what strong leadership looked like.

One of the things that has made 37 Signals stand out is their willingness to share what’s in their (not so) secret sauce. Jason says that he’d rather out-teach his competition than out-spend it, and part of that is being public with their company decisions and thought process. This outlook caused controversy for the company in 2020, but ultimately Jason stands by his and his teams’ commitment to transparency. 

Tune in to this episode to hear Jason and Paul talk about the lesson that chefs can teach business leaders, the future of work, and the founder’s role in taking risks. 


Show Notes: 

  • 06:30 - Building a brand with a stance
  • 09:00 - 37 Signal’s existential risk
  • 12:55 - Lessons in management styles
  • 20:45 - What’s next for 37 Signals?
  • 25:30 - The future of work
  • 29:30 - “Profits buy you time, and time is a hard thing to buy.” 
  • 35:30 - Advice for young people


Book that Inspired Jason:
Maverick by Ricardo Semler


Listen to Jason's story below:

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About Small Giants Community

Our Purpose is to identify, connect and develop purpose-driven leaders. The Small Giants Community is a designated L3C organization, a hybrid between a for-profit and a nonprofit entity that prioritizes mission and social purpose. Passionate, purposeful business leaders from around the world come to us to train and develop future leaders in their organizations, connect with like-hearted peers, and learn how to run a values-driven business. Whether you’re a budding leader who wants to grow or a founder/CEO looking for new business best friends, there’s a place for you here.