David Heinemeier Hansson

October 26, 2022

Why do they talk like that

We are finding that our advertising partners across many industries are decreasing their marketing budgets, especially in the face of operating environment headwinds, inflation-driven cost pressures, and rising costs of capital.

Why do they have to talk like this? The jargon isn't compressing any compelling complexity, the cliches aren't making the bad news any easier to digest.

What would happen if they simply spoke plainly? Would any investor think less of them for being clear? The mumbo jumbo above compress neatly into plain English:

We're selling fewer ads because of inflation and higher interest rates.

But maybe that's the problem. Clarity isn't a feature when explaining bad numbers to an impatient market. The more hand-wavy, long-winded bullshit you can blow, the less likely the focus remains on the fundamental truth: You're losing money holding our stock.

On the other hand, aren't all these sophisticated investors who actually read this stuff aware that the company knows that they know this is just hot air? Are there really any fund managers left who's impressed by the same trite excuses for why the money isn't flowing as richly as they were enticed to think it would?

This dance is fascinating. And by fascinating, I mostly mean deeply off-putting. Holy hell I'm happy we never have to dress up and pretend like this at 37signals.

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.