Some thoughts on the recent Basecamp drama:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.