Ryan Singer

Head of Product Strategy, Basecamp

Podcast interviews about Shape Up


Interview on Product Love


  • Learning design, development and strategy
  • Shaping and defining work before budgeting it
  • Product positioning at Basecamp
  • Asking "when" instead of "why"
  • Thinking of products as functions, cause and effect
  • Evaluating "fitness" instead of like/dislike
  • Problems with agile, bringing back up-front design

Interview on HumanCurrent


Interview on Laroche.fm


  • How to think about strategy for design
  • How we ship every six weeks at Basecamp
  • Supply vs demand thinking
  • Affordances and actions
  • Option value of UI real estate
  • How design is like a network
  • Making something kind of bad but really useful
  • The effects of individual changes on the larger whole

Talk at Mind the Product

San Francisco, 2015

  • A shorthand for sketching the affordances and flows the product should provide
  • How to break the work into orthogonal mini projects
  • Integrating the team around one part to get it "done" so you can stop worrying about it, and repeating that process

A Tour of the Design Process at 37signals

Future of Web Apps, London, 2010

  • Thinking through a product as a Rails model
  • Roughing affordances in with real code before styling much
  • Starting with a simpler idea for a feature that could be more complex
  • Cheaply experimenting with style by screenshotting the coded version and then making changes in code

Designing with Forces: On Christopher Alexander and UI Design

The School of Visual Arts, New York City, 2010

  • Using Alexander's form/context definitions to set a boundary on the problem
  • The notion of forces as requirements coming from outside the boundary of the form that you're designing
  • Resolving forces with a wireframe-level design concept
  • Examples from real design decisions we made while building the first version of Highrise