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.
It’s rare to find a solution to all that ails political discourse in a single article, but Politics is way too meta fits the the bill.
Political journalism and discussion has become all about “policy X will make group Y feel Z” instead of “the result of policy X will be Y”.
This is my new filter to ground any discussion about COVID, politics or almost anything.
It just so happened to be that the majority of the customers for that service were on Apple. About 90% of the customers that we have for HEY, use at least one Apple device. Something like 70% of the paying customers use Apple devices predominantly.
The real issue is that overlap between people who would pay a hundred dollars a year for an email service and exclusively use Apple devices is more than 70%.
DHH tries to frame this as a completely random event, “It just so happened…”, but people who pay for quality software overwhelmingly buy Apple hardware.
The groups that hate everything Apple like hardware hackers and gamers aren’t likely to pay for software.
Sidestepping the whole App Store debate, why won’t (or can’t) anyone else make hardware that people who pay for software are likely to buy?
Great thoughts on the recent trend of every blog having a paid newsletter and rando bloggers essentially panhandling from Greed is ruining the web:
Great content usually lives in odd corners of the web, seen only by a few people a year, created because someone was passionate about something. It will not generate money, it will not make someone famous. And that’s OK. I think way too many people nowadays approach the web with a financial mindset.
We have this debate any time there’s a new gravy train for online writing, and it’s getting exasperating. Every new platform will reward a set of star writers in a POWER CLAW distribution, the early will cash in, and discovery is the unsolvable problem.
What rankles me in the Great Wheel of Online Publishing is not that we repeat the same debates about it each time, but that when these bloated platforms inevitably disappear they take entire communities and comment histories with them. And those have more value than the writing.
I’m ok not going viral and making money at my day job.
Listeners are building entire mental models around a single word. Subscribing costs money, following is free.
Even though Apple invented the podcast and subscribing has always been free, there’s much point in fighting a quixotic battle against the dominant mental modal in the industry and the words connected to it.
I’m reading The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene.
One of the main points is that all of us, no matter how rational we think we are, get caught up in non-rational biases, tribal thinking and everything we accuse other people of doing. It’s a good read for some self-reflection and to also understand where other people are usually coming from.
Outside of scientific contexts, I’m just not a fan of the metric system. Feet and inches feel intuitive for most objects that I handle on a daily basis.
Likewise Fahrenheit is more natural with a great range of degrees for the climates most people live in. Water freezing at zero and boiling at a hundred in Celsius doesn’t do anything to simplify my life.
One quote to mull from the article, although the whole thing is worth reading:
The spectre of life without work has fuelled many utopian schemes for centuries. But there’s also a pragmatic rationale – we simply don’t need to work as much to produce what we need and want as we once did. Long hours serve a political and cultural agenda as much as they do an economic imperative. Transcending a long-hours economy will, in the process, transform our ideological commitments to work, offering different lessons about ‘time well spent’.
Not directly related, but I’ve recently been working with Americans more than at any point over the past decade. The cultural need to talk about work, appear busy and what amounts to productivity porn is real. Incidentally, they are some of the least productive people I know.
Three months after release, the latest version of Big Sur contains a software fix for the iPhone/iPad sync issue that would have been an M1 dealbreaker for me. Good, of course. But shouldn’t testing have caught this long before release?
The COVID lockdowns have been a mad rush to protect the interests of the primarily older upper middle class. Putting your life on pause for a couple of years in your 20s is catastrophic, in your 50s not so much.
Last in line for vaccines and with schools and universities shuttered, young people have borne much of the burden of the sacrifices being made largely to protect older people
In the United States, a quarter of 18- to 24-year-olds said they had seriously considered suicide.
The lasting effects on suicide rates, depression and anxiety are still being measured, but in interviews, a dozen mental health experts in Europe painted a grim picture of a crisis that they say should be treated as seriously as containing the virus.
We may realize in the coming years that the lockdowns were far worse for society than the virus ever was and highlights a slow shift in our values away from investing in to future to paying anything to protect the status quo for boomers.
By the way, Meg Jay’s TED talk about not wasting your 20s was incredibly important for me during those formative years.
Imagine if all managers were kept on an island four days a week. They’d give each other presentations about leadership, congratulate each other, pour our over spreadsheets, talk about mentorship and growth. The only catch is that it’s a retreat — no contact with their teams.
The productivity and happiness gains among their teams would be unprecedented. And then the following week, the managers could talk about how their leadership brought about this uptick in productivity.
I like Google calendar at work. If everyone in an organization uses it, scheduling meetings with multiple people is easy. The calendar shows you when they’re free, without having to play “does 3 o’clock work for you” ping pong.
In organizations with too many meetings — or where looking busy is valued above productivity — people start to add fake meetings to their calendar. To fight this cultural problem, it’s common to block off work time, a lunch break or whatever.
Now I’m back to square one and writing to half a dozen people, “ok, I looked at your calendar but when are you really available to meet?”
The problem isn’t that people want time to actually work and have lunch; the problem is that if you don’t explicitly schedule time for those, low value meetings will fill the empty space on your calendar.
An office prank led me to write a quick AppleScript (yes, we’re all nerds). Scanning through the documentation sparked an idea that was completely unrelated but helped solve a much bigger problem. Having an afternoon lull let the people who could move the solution for the bigger problem hack out a proof of concept.
As optimization becomes the highest value, we’re killing the chance encounters that lead to creativity and innovation. If everything is optimized for today, there will never be enough resources for tomorrow’s opportunity.
Good UX writing is subtle and easy to overlook. Bad product writing is obvious.
I’m looking at a new connection’s profile on LinkedIn. This text has the voice and tone of a dating app, not a professional tool. Even if it were properly targeted at a recruiter, the intent is not “profiles anytime, anywhere”, it’s to make it easier to view the right profiles. The last thing anybody wants is a work app open “anytime, anywhere”.
Ignore the fact that culturally similar countries (Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the UK and US) have had vastly different outcomes. Nope, it’s not incompetent leadership and poverty (lockdowns are for the rich, after all). Peasants who get corona just didn’t follow the rules.