David Heinemeier Hansson

May 14, 2024

Meta is shutting down Workplace

The saying "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" is at its essence about risk management. The traditional wisdom goes that if you buy from a big company, you're going to be safe. It may be more expensive, but big companies project an image of stability and reliability, so buying their wares is seen as the prudent choice. Except, it isn't. Certainly not any more. Meta killing Workplace is merely exhibit #49667.

Any company that hitched their wagon to Workplace just got served with an eviction notice. In a about a year, the data will go read-only, and shortly after that, it's game over. Now companies from Spotify to McDonalds, along with millions of others, have to scramble to find an alternative. Simply because Meta can't be bothered to maintain a platform that's merely used by millions when their consumer business is used by billions.

This, right here, is the risk of buying anything from big tech like Meta and Google. Their main ad-based cash cows are so fantastically profitable that whether it's the millions of paying accounts on Workplace or the millions of live websites once hosted by Google Domains, it all just pales in comparison, and is thus one strategy rotation away from being labeled "non-core" and killed off.

Buying from big isn't the sure bet they want you to believe. Buy from someone who actually needs your business to make the wheels go round.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.