David Heinemeier Hansson

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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January 29, 2022

Spotify's completely reasonable healthcare content policy

Here's what you can't say on a podcast hosted by Spotify about Covid, per the company's internal moderation policy: “Content that promotes dangerous false or deceptive content about healthcare that may cause offline harm and/or pose a direct threat to public health such as: Denying the existence of AIDS or COVID-19 Encouraging the deli...
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January 28, 2022

Spotify must be afraid of canceling Rogan, right? Right?!

What's stood out most to me about the latest Rogan round over Neil Young's ultimatum is the iron-clad assumption that Spotify surely must – MUST! – agree with the underlying premise. That Rogan is a menace to society because he host guests with divergent views on covid, and because he shares his unsanctioned opinion on the matter. Ther...
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January 28, 2022

We can't thrive without friction

Social media platforms have been on relentless quest since their inception to remove all friction from all acts of engagement. The distance from emotion to reaction has been whittled away one A/B test at the time, and there's barely any left. You don't even have to portray any original sentiment today, just like or retweet that of some...
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January 26, 2022

A pandemic dispatch from Denmark

Next week, virtually all pandemic restrictions will be gone from Danish society. No mask mandates, no vaccine passports, no distancing, no limitations on bars, restaurants, or night clubs. This follows a determination by the government's pandemic council that the virus is no longer threat to the functioning of society, and thus no long...
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January 25, 2022

Just the cost of doing business [crimes]

The Dutch competition authorities just slapped Apple with a five million euro fine for refusing to comply with the country's new requirements on App Store policies. These new requirements are somewhat oddly contained to just dating apps, as they came as a consequence of a specific complaint from a specific provider, but even with that ...
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January 21, 2022

The Mac proves Apple can safely open the iPhone

The Mac is such an inconvenient platform for Apple. It prevents the company from making any credible claim of an impending security catastrophe, if lawmakers force the iPhone to allow installation of apps without the App Store. With the Mac, we have almost forty years of proof that computers don't need an App Store to be safe. Made by ...
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January 20, 2022

Free is never forever

Google gave away free email on custom domains for years. This unsurprisingly lured lots of people into switching to Gmail. But now the party is over, and what used to be free will now easily cost $500/year or more (if you have 10 users on a custom domain). Yikes. Unsurprisingly, I'm not actually against Google charging for email. The l...
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January 19, 2022

Apple turns the legislative contempt up to 11

In North Dakota, Apple sent Erik Neuenschwander, a chief privacy engineer, to make its case that opening up the App Store to free and fair competition on payment processing would be bad for privacy. He focused in a relatively sober tone on the sanctity of Apple's integration and curation as arguments for why they deserved their monopol...
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January 17, 2022

Case study in motivated reasoning

A few days ago, an anonymous Twitter user claiming to be an employee at a Big Tech company wrote a thread about work that went viral (since deleted, possibly partly by Twitter). Hazard Harrington's thread depicted a company drowning in woke excesses, so of course it sent the internet to the trenches. "This is EXACTLY what we suspected!...
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January 14, 2022

This swapping of roles is making me dizzy

Matt Taibbi wrote a great piece called The Left is Now the Right last year. It detailed how many of the tactics and thought processes anyone who came of age in the 90s would recognize as "of the right" are now being used by the opposite side of the political spectrum. A clip: “Conservatives once tried to legislate what went on in your ...
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January 14, 2022

HEY is running its JavaScript off import maps

The advent of import maps, and the bundler-less JavaScript reality it introduced, was undoubtedly my favorite advancement in web tech for 2021. Between Guy Bedford's excellent shim and native support in Chrome 89, we've finally been granted an escape from a decade's worth of frustrating complexity with excess tooling. Usually progress ...
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January 13, 2022

The monopoly playbook is depressingly uniform across big tech

I finally had a chance to read ILSR's blockbuster report on Amazon's squeeze of independent retailers who sell through their marketplace. It's unusually well-written and researched, and the picture it paints is depressingly familiar to anyone who've been at the sharp end of a big tech monopoly spear. The overarching conclusion is that ...
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January 12, 2022

Why is Denmark able to have these vaccine debates?

It continues to fascinate me to no end how different countries have ended up with such different approaches to this late-stage pandemic game. While the French president is talking about "pissing off the unvaccinated", the Australians are trying to a martyr of Djokovic, and the Americans continue to render everything virus through the b...
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January 12, 2022

The thrill of changing your mind

I've changed my mind on a lot of topics over the last few years, and it's frankly been exhilarating. Especially if the topic had been one left unquestioned for a long time. To me, it feels similar to the rush of solving a hard problem. When the pieces suddenly fit into place, and an elegant solution emerges, you can't help but smile. T...
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January 10, 2022

The merit of hiring by merit

I've spent years pushing back against hiring practices based on years of irrelevance, pedigree gates, and brainteasers. These indirect measures of talent have proven both unreliable and unfair. If you can, why not look directly at merit? When it comes to programmers, that merit is chiefly their ability to program! And program well. It'...
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January 6, 2022

It's not a lottery

The opening for director of engineering at Basecamp has barely been up for a day, and there's already an inbox full of applicants. Virtually none of whom seem to have bothered reading the basic requirements for the opening or comply with the instructions on how to make a successful application. And I'm just left thinking: What's the po...
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