The Basecamp Drama

Some thoughts on the recent Basecamp drama:

  1. The mighty are humbled. DHH and Jason Fried market themselves as the best tech managers out there. Regardless of the backstory, a third of the company leaving, among them many senior employees, shows that something is off at Basecamp.
  2. Style matters more than substance. While DHH has many of the “right” opinions, his style is reminiscent of a certain reality TV host: always the center of attention, announcing major company decisions via social media rather than directly to the people involved and generally an online bully. What seems like a maverick and charismatic leader from an outside perspective can be a nightmare at close range.
  3. The revolution will come for thee. No amount of wokeness will be enough for some people, and management by trend-driven committees is reckless. Once a joke in poor taste becomes equivalent to genocide, there’s not going to be a productive conversation.
  4. Non-politicized spaces are important. I don’t doubt there were people who quietly complained, and many people who added feigned support out of fear. Keeping spaces free of politics gives everyones some much needed breathing room.
  5. A SaaS company or a marketing company? I wonder how much of Basecamp’s revenue comes from their tech rebel persona and selling books instead of selling their actual software? I can’t say I’m particularly impressed by their software.