David Heinemeier Hansson

April 9, 2021

The App Store is broken because it wasn't designed to work

When Kosta Eleftheriou first started revealing scam upon scam in the App Store, I have to admit I didn't quite get it. How were all these multi-million dollar scams being allowed into the App Store in the first place? And why weren't they being expediently removed when scores of customers complained in their 1-star reviews? The answer ...
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April 5, 2021

Stop talking about product

Business people just can't stop referring to whatever their company makes as "the product". It's the great tell of whether someone's in it for the business or the beat. You hear it all the time. Car executives who talk about "producing compelling products" rather than "making good cars". Game executives who talk about "best-selling pro...
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March 31, 2021

It's hard to draw lessons from your own failures

Andrew Wilkinson's tale of how he blew $10,000,000 building a to-do list app perfectly illustrates the danger of trying to analyze your own failures. It's so easy to fall in love with one of those infinite alternate universes where you just did that one thing differently and everything worked out. Like "if only we had raised venture ca...
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March 26, 2021

No more platforms please

We have enough social media platforms, and they are all broken. Content moderation is bust at even moderate scale, and algorithmic amplification is broken at any scale. We need a reboot. We need to double down on the ideas of Web 1.0, and the tools that make carving out your own place on the internet possible. Not more platforms luring...
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March 19, 2021

A world without trust is not better

One of the reasons I've never cared for crypto currencies is that the associated utopia of trustless society had zero appeal to me. I don't think the world is better off by erasing the need to trust in our transactional counterparts, so turning these transactions into pure computing always struck me as a regression. (There are a millio...
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March 17, 2021

Google affirms the duopoly grip by following Apple's 15%-on-the-first-million scheme

I can imagine Machiavelli advising Apple on attempting to appease App Store scrutiny by throwing some inconsequential concessions into the ring: What if y'all just lowered the totally obscene 30% cut of revenues to a merely utterly obscene 15%, but then only for the first million in revenue? It would cost you bupkis, but the plebs migh...
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March 17, 2021

Apple in China: Privacy, principles, purses, and pickles

It's easy to commit to principles when they don't cost you anything. That's why most mission statements ring so hollow. They're filled with free platitudes, and thus provide no guidance on how to actually drive "the mission" when trade-offs must be made. That's by design. The flowery mission statement is usually meant as a fig leaf ove...
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March 16, 2021

What you read is none of their business

There's this scene in the 90s movie Se7en where the detectives played by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman are able to hone in on the serial killer via a secret FBI program that monitors people's library habits. The killer, played by Kevin Spacey, has been reading Dante's Divine Comedy, Milton's Paradise Lost, and other books about the seve...
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March 12, 2021

The totalitarians of the attention economy

It's become increasingly common for executives of dominant internet services to see their competition as all of human activity. Not just activity spent on competing or adjacent services, no, all activity of any kind. Any time spent outside their service equating to minutes on the clock to conquer. The latest example of this totalitaria...
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March 11, 2021

Memento mori illuminator

I really like watches. Not so much because I need to precisely tell time all that often – most of my days, the calendar is pretty empty – but because they remind me that I'm going to die. That reminder of death is a reminder to make time count. Forget about productivity, though. The notion that TIME = MONEY – squandered unless invested...
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