New in Basecamp 3: List view for Projects and Teams
28 April 2017 | 4:37 pm

The change from Winter to Spring can provide a lot of inspiration for our team. We take time to listen to the rain, the wind, the flowers until they whisper the secrets to the way forward. Frequently, this growing season plants in us the ideas for the future of Basecamp.

Nature can be very gentle, but direct.

OK, OK, the truth of our new List view feature has a lot less to do with communing with nature and a lot more to do with listening to customers, but it’s still exciting! While a lot of customers like the card view, projects with longer titles are truncated and sometimes look strange. With a large number of teams and projects, the card view can be overwhelming.

Designer Scott and programmer Pratik heard the call! They teamed up to create a new feature which available to all Basecamp 3 users today. Now, you can see your teams in projects in a new List view, which groups projects alphabetically for quick scanning:

List view in Basecamp 3

Changing your View

To change your Team or Project, click the ••• menu at the top right of the section.

Switch using the ••• menu at the top right

Jump to your projects and pin them

The Jump menu still works the same with the Card or List view.

Filter your projects with the jump menu

Pinning is available from the ••• button at the right of a project or team:

Pin a project

New Project Flow

With the addition of the list view, we adjusted the flow for creating a new project or team. There’s a cleaner New button, where you can create a new project from scratch or a template and manage your templates.

Add a project

Faster, List View, Load, Load!

Previously, Basecamp 3 would load full menus for pinning and renaming for each project. By loading those menus asynchronously, we reduced HTML on the Home page by 45%. In addition to being just a bit more helpful, this redesign makes loading the whole home page faster.

A GIF of Basecamp loading wouldn’t make sense, so pretend that this is Basecamp.

Try it today!

List view for Teams and Projects act independently of each other. Basecamp 3 will also remember your preference no matter if you’re using the desktop apps or a browser. (List view for mobile apps will come in future updates to those apps.)

A list view was one of our most popular customer requests and we’re very happy to add it in Basecamp 3. If you don’t have a Basecamp 3 account yet, sign up today, the first 30 days are free.

New in Basecamp 3: List view for Projects and Teams was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Jousting with Jekyll
28 April 2017 | 2:27 pm

One responsibility of the support team here at Highrise is to maintain our Extras page.

What’s the Extras page?

It’s a list of all the 3rd party products that integrate with Highrise. Almost all were built by the 3rd party using the Highrise API.

This page is important for current and future customers because people use more than one product to get their work done. And these integrations can often save people tons of time.

But it became an absolute pain to manage for us.


There are a whopping 63 different listings on the Extras page right now. Requests to add new listings, update current listings, and remove old listings started to add up.

The Highrise marketing site is maintained using the static-site generator Jekyll. It gives our team control over our content, it works fast, and it’s not a feature heavy dynamic CMS like Wordpress.

Jekyll is simple. And powerful . . . if you know how to use that power.

The Extras page was just a giant HTML page in Jekyll. All listings were written in HTML, and if you needed to update a listing, you had to edit the repetitive HTML file and find exactly what line needed to be updated.

This led to manual errors. Typos in HTML. Incorrect links. A lot of wasted time to make tiny changes.

Enter Jekyll data files.

Data files give a middle finger to repetition. You can set custom options and load custom data to make your life much easier.

Here is a short video of why we made this change with an example:

How to use data files in Jekyll

First, create a folder in your repo titled _data and save it. This is where you’re going to store your files.

Files can be in .yml, .yaml, .csv, .json format. We’re using .yml in our example.

Now, create a file you want to store in the _data folder. We’ve created the highrises.yml file.

Here is an example of one of our data files in /_data/highrises.yml format:

- name: Highrise iPhone App
image: extras/img_iphone_app.png
description: Collaborate on contacts, notes, and tasks all from your iPhone.

- name: Android
image: extras/img_android_app.png
description: Collaborate on contacts, notes, and tasks all from your Android.

The data can now be accessed in our HTML. The filename highrises determines the variable name.

This information can now be used in your templates or HTML files.

For example:

Using in our file, Jekyll will insert the information from the data file.

Data files have saved us lots of time here at Highrise. Other examples of where you might use them:

  • accessing different authors’ bios of your blog
  • posting store hours for your brick-and-mortar shop
  • ordering any list of products you’re selling

If you’re interested in learning Jekyll, we recommend checking out the tutorials here and the community here.

If you enjoyed this post, please tap the 💚 and share it with others. And check out Highrise. CRM systems are cumbersome and take too much time. We designed Highrise, so you’ll be a master within minutes.

Jousting with Jekyll was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

Speed Reading
26 April 2017 | 4:03 pm

My 8th grade teacher had a curious process where she made us produce three book reports each quarter — three books that we picked on our own that fit diverse themes she had chosen. When we turned them in, she’d quiz us on the book. How could she quiz us though on these books that we picked out randomly, you might ask?

She read each and every book when we turned in the report over her lunch break. It wasn’t a big class, and we didn’t all turn the reports in on the same day. But she could easily go through a couple books at lunch.

It was amazing and something I wanted to learn myself. I stumbled through some books on speed reading but never really landed on success until I took an Iris speed reading class when they had a Groupon.

I’ll share a few big tips and ideas I learned there, but it won’t substitute for taking a day long class like I did and going through the exercises.

The biggest lightbulb moment for me in speed reading isn’t faster reading but better skimming.

Afterall, most books and material are filled with fluff. Good ideas separated with a ton of sentences you don’t need <- A great case-in-point. You didn’t need that second sentence. The first one was enough. Damn, I did it again.

When I first get a new book I’ll read the periphery of the thing. The back summary, the insides of the covers. Next, I’ll look over the Table of Contents looking for things like “How’s this book broken up? Is it like three parts with three big ideas, or 27 chapters each with a unique point?”

I want to learn as much about the thing I need to devour beforehand so I know what I’m about to do.

Next, I read the first page of the intro, and then I’ll skip right to the end, and finish the last page of the book. Yes, you might ruin any suspense you were hoping for, so if suspense is your goal, don’t do this.

Next, I’ll go through each chapter. I’ll read the first paragraph (two if the first is short and not useful enough).

Then I’ll go through each paragraph of the chapter and read just the first sentence. The first sentence is often the most important point of a paragraph after all:

Often in a book, you’ll have other paragraphs illustrating that topic sentence anyways.

Then, I’ll read the last paragraph of the chapter which often summarizes everything.

And I do all the above at my normal reading pace. I take my time and carefully consume those skimmed sentences and ideas.

Now I have this crazy good outline in my head of what the chapter is about, and what holes I might have in the ideas. Page 10 talked about X which seemed obvious, but later on, page 35 mentioned a story I didn’t quite understand in my skim.

So now, I’ll go through the entire chapter again but this time as fast as I can.

At this point just being a better skim reader has probably earned you 70–80% of the benefit of “speed reading”. You can go through a second read of a chapter you’ve skimmed and probably know exactly what you need to “re-read” to understand better. And you can probably do that at a normal pace and still save a ton of time.

But the other 20–30% is all about getting through words faster.

Reading as Fast as You Can

You instantly recognized a dog. You didn’t have to vocalize the word “dog”. You also don’t have to first look at its nose, then move to its eyes, then body, etc. You seem to be able to take a whole dog in with your eyes, and just know it’s a dog. But a lot of people don’t read like that.

When you were young, you likely read out loud most of the time. Mouthing each and every word. When you got older you probably stopped saying the words out loud, but many people keep vocalizing the word silently in their heads. You have to learn to stop vocalizing words as you read.

Another habit people need to break is having their eyes read each and every letter as they go along. Again, this is something we learn as young readers. We see a word we don’t know, and we look and sound out each letter until it makes sense to us.

You need to learn to just digest words instantaneously. Even better, you want to learn to digest multiple words together at the same time.

Another bad habit most of us have is rereading text purposefully or subconsciously. We skip over something and then reread it again. Tim Ferriss has found we spend about 30% of our reading time in “re-reading”. What a waste.

You need to train your eyes to work like you want them to. You don’t want them going over every single letter. You want them to fixate in fewer places in a sentence.

I remember my 8th grade teacher sliding her whole hand down the middle of the book keeping her eyes stuck there. It’s funny, because using a finger was a technique many kids use to help read but are trained to stop. But you’ll see many speed readers use a finger to read. A finger can help guide your eyes to fewer places on each line and page of a book. It can also force you to keep a pace that’s faster than you might be initially comfortable with.

A lot of this is just practice. Just like running. Get a stopwatch and start timing yourself through some examples. Get an article and figure out the word count. Skim the thing. Now, go back for a reread and get through the thing as fast as possible trying to take in as many words as possible at a time. Keep timing yourself and trying to beat your best. Use your finger/hand to force yourself to go faster.

I won’t go into an in-depth look into training your eyes to ingest more. I’ll leave that up to Tim’s article or classes like Iris.

But one thing I started doing to help train my eyes for faster word digestion: is trying to quickly read a book in a language I didn’t understand. You’ll have much less desire to try and comprehend what you’re reading, because you simply can’t. You don’t have all those same urges to reread things or sound out words.

I hope that helps. The skim reading part is what really cracked open a whole new world of getting through more stuff faster. But I don’t read everything like this. If there’s a great fiction book that I want to take my mind to another place, I read that as comfortably as I can. Speed reading for me is a shortcut to get through stuff. It might even make the book less “fun”. But my goal is often to get through piles of new books and articles out there looking for interesting needles in the haystack.

P.S. Please help spread this article by clicking the ❤ below.

You should follow my YouTube channel, where I share more about how history, psychology, and science can help us come up with better ideas and start businesses. And if you need a simple system to track leads and follow-ups you should try Highrise.

Speed Reading was originally published in Signal v. Noise on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.

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