David Heinemeier Hansson

April 25, 2022

Either/or with Mr Spaceman

Sell Twitter to Musk, and you'll regret it. Don't sell Twitter to Musk, and you'll regret that too. Sell it or don't sell it, you'll regret it either way. Such goes Kierkegaard's immortal admonition that many of life's grand dilemmas have only regrettable choices. Yet we spend much of our time trying to argue and act as if otherwise. T...
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March 25, 2022

A state of sunshine

The contrast couldn't have been starker. About a year ago, we were going through a really difficult time at Basecamp, after instituting a new etiquette around societal politics at work. Twenty-odd employees took our 3-6 months severance offer, and we became the main characters on Twitter for a moment. Today, we've just finished a wonde...
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March 18, 2022

Always provide a way out

It's never been easier to dig yourself into an ideological hole. Get swept up in The Current Thing without really thinking it through or simply by following whatever herd you've been trotting along with so far. The internet today is nothing if not a credence reinforcement program. But some times people do change their mind, some times ...
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March 16, 2022

I can't tell the difference

Despite my continued and fierce opposition to Apple'smonopolyabuses on the App Store, I continue to be thoroughly impressed with the technical advances they keep making. I don't have a problem in the slighest with admiring the engineers while skewering the business operators. And perhaps no engineering unit within Apple is currently mo...
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March 11, 2022

Back to Le Mans

The 90th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is back to it's pre-pandemic schedule, and will be held June 11-12, complete with the traditional scrutineering of the cars in the city center. I'll be participating in the #43 Inter Europe Competition LMP2 car running under the Polish flag alongside team mates Fabio Scherer from Switzerland ...
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March 10, 2022

The silent majority's reply

When so much of the American political discourse and agenda is being set and performed on Twitter, it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking this forum accurately represents the voice of the people. But not only do the majority of people in the US never tweet, they're also increasingly disconnecting from party affiliations. Here's a ...
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March 9, 2022

You could be wrong

We recorded an episode for the REWORK podcast yesterday on the essay "Making the Call is Making Progress", which encourages training those decision-making muscles to be stronger so you can forward quicker. It included a discussion of lowering the price of making decisions by setting yourself up for cheap reversals. If making a bad call...
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March 8, 2022

The antidote to social media is being more social

I'm usually not one for coffee appointments or long business lunches, but since the pandemic restrictions were once again nixed a few months ago in Denmark, I've had the calendar packed with exactly such engagements. It's been a revelation. Part of this came as a result of giving an interview to the Danish magazine Computerworld about ...
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March 7, 2022

The long argument

It's rare that an argument is so strong that'll immediately pierce through all the cognitive defenses an opposing mind might muster. So if you only weigh an argument's worth on whether it served to convert someone to your perspective this instant, you'll usually be disappointed. "Right now, right here" is a bad timeframe to measure the...
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March 4, 2022

Weak principles, strong tribes

One of the most compelling metaphors of the battle between emotion and reason is that of the elephant and the rider. I first encountered it in Jonathan Haidt's book The Righteous Mind. It goes like this: “The mind is divided, like a rider on an elephant, and the rider’s job is to serve the elephant. The rider is our conscious reasoning...
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March 3, 2022

No RailsConf

2021 was an incredible year for Ruby on Rails. We started it off still celebrating the third major version of Ruby, and left it with the accomplishment of the seventh major version of Rails. Together, these releases sparked a renewed enthusiasm for building modern web applications with Ruby on Rails, unlike anything I can recall since ...
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March 2, 2022

Diversify your life

If your existence is all about work, and work goes to shit, then life goes to shit too. If you live for your hobby, and your hobby hits the wall, then your life crashes too. If everything else is waiting until you hang with your mates, and your mates fade away, then you fade too. Betting your drive to get up in the morning on a single ...
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February 28, 2022

The other side of social media

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is at once reaffirming all the ills of social media and showing its utterly unique capacity to give a direct voice to anyone around the world. And while the more unfortunate expressions of this being due to "blue eyes and blond hair", it is fostering a strong sense of fraternity here in Europe. This just...
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February 26, 2022

Dangerous conversations going private

I went on Jason Calacanis' podcast this week for the fourth time. We've had some explosive, illuminating, and contested conversations over the years, Jason and I. And I've loved everyone of them. Whether we were discussing venture capital, profitable businesses, and the definition of success or talking about big tech, education, health...
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February 25, 2022

Russell Brand is grand

While Joe Rogan has served as a magnet for all the wagging fingers of the world, Russell Brand has somehow so far managed to build a five-million strong channel pushing equally or more heretic views without much consternation. It can't be long before the fingers start pointing in his direction. But I can see how he's been able to slide...
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February 24, 2022

The advantages of large, long-running pull requests

My favorite part of doing code reviews is to see all the trade-offs, design decisions, and changes in context together. You can't easily do that if your feature has been chopped into itty bitty pieces as independent pull requests under pressure never to let them run longer than a week. So at Basecamp, we let pull requests run as long a...
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February 23, 2022

Equating blasphemy with violence legitimizes the inquisition

By far the most furiously pushback I've received for writingabout the Canadian trucker protest has come from calling it "peaceful". Objections to this term has taken many forms. But they all seek to justify the opposite label of "violent", no matter the blind logical leaps required. Some claim that the background of certain organizers ...
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February 22, 2022

Simulacra

I never did make it all the way through Jean Baudrillard's book Simulacra and Simulation before I lost my paperback copy on a trip. But it lodged several perspectives deep in my brain that I'm still trying to process. One of which was this: “Disneyland is presented as imaginary in order to make us believe that the rest is real.” It's a...
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February 21, 2022

I was wrong, we need crypto

To say I've been skeptical about Bitcoin and the rest of the crypto universe would be an understatement of epic proportions. Since the early 2010s, some of my most ferocious Twitter battles have been against the HODL army with the laser eyes. There's just so much to oppose: Bitcoin's grotesque energy consumption, the ridiculous transac...
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February 16, 2022

Gritting your teeth, biding your time

What's the goodwill of developers worth to a platform operator? It's a hard question, because it can't be answered by the traditional economic models used by bean counters to populate the balance sheet. And it's far more ephemeral than the goodwill of consumers. The relationship is more intertwined. We're not just engaging in transacti...
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February 15, 2022

This just wouldn't happen on Twitter

I'm slowly regaining my faith in debates again. You know, the ancient practice of listening, presenting arguments, accepting counterarguments, and progressing towards a deeper shared understanding. Even when the topics are hot. Even when the counterpart is a stranger. And it's giving me vintage internet vibes! Take this Canadian trucke...
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February 11, 2022

Introducing Propshaft

It's an exciting time in web development. After a decade's worth of front-end progress kept demanding ever more complicated setups, we're finally moving in the opposite direction. With simpler tools that are still able to hit those high-fidelity user interface notes, but at a sliver of the cost in complexity. The long expansion of enab...
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February 10, 2022

After two weeks with no covid restrictions in Denmark

It's been a couple of weeks now without any form of covid restrictions in Denmark. The daily infection numbers have remained as high as they were when the restrictions were dropped, and the positivity rate for tests is still a staggering 30%. And yet, Danish society has simply moved on. At our kids' school, it seems that virtually ever...
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February 9, 2022

Go truck yourself

The Canadian truckers have now for almost two weeks faced insults, threats, and slander to protest the country's new vaccine mandates. With a persistence that is driving some progressives both inside and outside of Canada absolutely batty. How dare these truckers continue to exercise their basic political rights to freedom of assembly,...
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February 5, 2022

How to mint a crypto fan

You couldn’t have planned a better advertising campaign for crypto than Gofundme’s ham-fisted cancelation of donations intended for the protesting Canadian truckers. Their first attempt would literally have re-routed donations for the truckers to “other charities”. That sounded so crazy when I first read it that I had to dig up multipl...
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February 4, 2022

Apple reveals road map to tax any business with an app at 27%

In response to getting fined €5 million by the Dutch competition authorities, Apple has revealed an even more draconian, invasive, and frankly, terrifying scheme to collect their App Store tax from dating-app developers operating in The Netherlands. One that grants themselves the right to audit the books of any developer who dares refu...
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February 3, 2022

The second-hand stress of social media

I'd been an active combatant in the arena of social media for so long that I thought the baseline stress it produced was mainly due to the direct involvement. Over the past ten-plus years, rarely did I go a week without getting into some sort of heated argument with strangers online. But since retiring from the back-and-forth, it's cle...
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February 2, 2022

The infuriating ease of Rogan's popularity

For Rogan's own sake, and for all of our sakes, I hope we'll soon move on from picking apart every facet of his popular podcast. But before we do, just one more thing. Really 😂 In this whole saga, I must admit to a guilty pleasure of chuckling at all the folks infuriated by the fact that Rogan commands such popularity from his off-the-...
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February 2, 2022

Work unites what politics divide

Is there a more powerful, communal force than making stuff together? It pulls the shared humanity right out of people when they collaborate on making something greater than what they could make themselves. It intersects all the major sources of meaning by combining human connections, pursuits of mastery, and a shared purpose. It's quit...
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January 31, 2022

There are no all-knowing, all-seeing oracles

Moderating content on the basis of "truth" is an impossible task at all but the dullest edges of discourse. Because the vanguard of truth is always in dispute. Out there on the edge, truth is a process, and it emerges faster when opposing inquiries are pursued simultaneously. This is the bedrock of science. Rarely has this principle be...
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