David Heinemeier Hansson

Creator of Ruby on Rails, co-owner & CTO of 37signals (Basecamp & HEY), best-selling author (REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, REMOTE), Le Mans class-winning racing driver, antitrust advocate, investor in Danish startups, frequent podcast guest, and family man.
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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March 10, 2021

It all began with an email

I must have told the story a hundred times. How I'd been a fan of 37signals since the company was founded in 1999, how I saw a post on Signal v Noise where Jason asked about a programming problem in 2001, and how the answer I sent in an email led to us working together for the next twenty years. But some of the details were always a li...
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March 9, 2021

Keep HEY weird

We're planning the next cycle for HEY right now. As always, there's an almost unlimited number of things we could do. We've never been short on our own ideas, we've never been short on feature requests. That's software development! But with HEY, the process of picking what to do next has a new important directive: Keep HEY weird. Keep ...
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March 8, 2021

Google suffers from a digital petro curse

The profits that spew out of our ad-infested internet accrue to Google most of all. For the last couple of years, Google has seen an astounding $40 billion dollars per year flow into its coffers from US online advertising alone – a market in which it commands an astounding ~30% share. And then there's the international market on top of...
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March 8, 2021

The enclosure of internet commons

In Less Is More, Jason Hickel provides a brief history of capitalism from the year circa 1500 onward, which includes an account of the European enclosure movement. Where formerly public commons, like forest, streams, meadows, and land of all types, were turned into private property with titles and deeds for the lords to exploit. Ending...
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March 4, 2021

The Arizona House stands up to Apple and Google

It passed! It fricken passed. I could barely contain my excitement when I saw the tweet from Matt Stoller that the Arizona House passed HB2005. This is the anti-monopoly bill that will prevent Apple and Google from using their gatekeeper role in mobile to force developers to use their exorbitantly-priced payment processing, and stop th...
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March 3, 2021

You gotta read Less Is More

This gushing review was first posted to our automatic check-in question in Basecamp: What are you reading? Normally I do a big batch of everything I've been reading for several months, but right now I'm so enamored with Jason Hickel's new book Less Is More that I didn't want to wait! I've been a fan of Hickel since I heard him on the C...
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March 3, 2021

Thinking about HEY World's potential for abuse

The internet can be a pretty grim place, and if you're building software here, you better think about how it can be abused, because odds are that it will. We thought a lot about that with HEY itself. It was one of the key motivating factors behind the screener. Which, immediately after launch, both Jason and I learned is a life-saver i...
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March 2, 2021

Apple can brick your computer if you miss a payment to Goldman Sachs on the Apple Card

I talk a lot about the problem with big tech not just being monopoly power, but also conglomerate power. Fingers in a million pies. Here's a sample from my testimony before the Arizona House of Representatives: “Apple is now involved in offering credit cards, producing TV shows, curating news, offering fitness classes, commissioning vi...
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March 1, 2021

Remote-work surveillance software is vile

You could have hoped that as the pandemic wore on, the initial rush of companies to adopt employee-surveillance software would peter out. They'd realize that the biggest problem with working remotely is usually not that employees work too little, but that they work too much. No such luck. Employee-surveillance software seems to be as p...
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February 26, 2021

Antitrust comes slowly then all at once

If you would have asked me a couple of years ago whether I thought big tech faced any material threat to their dominance from governments, I would have said no. Because it's been twenty years since the last time any of them did. For basically my entire career, big tech has gotten away with whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Th...
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February 25, 2021

Why Apple, Google, and the rest of email's big players let spy pixels happen

After the BBC ran their big story on spy pixels being endemic, there's been a surge of interest in the phenomenon. And for a very good reason: Most people still don't know they're being spied upon when opening emails, and they're shocked when they learn that they are! I went on CNBC Europe this morning to talk about spy pixels, and one...
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February 24, 2021

We will monetize by charging money

People are rightfully skeptical about new apps and services on the internet. The industry has a terrible record of conning folks into using something new "for free", then either selling their data to advertisers, selling them in bulk to an acquirer, or just shutting down entirely when the hockey stick can't hit the moonshot into orbit ...
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February 24, 2021

Organic food used to be niche like privacy is today

I don't remember when I first heard about organic food, but I do remember only knowing one family growing up where the term was even mentioned. This was in the 90s, and my awareness of pesticides, factory farming, cage chickens, antibiotics-pumped pigs, and the other ingredients of industrial food production simply didn't occupy space ...
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February 23, 2021

Less software

As a software maker, it's rare you'll hear customers ask for fewer features, fewer options, or really any degree of less software. The customers you'll hear from are the people who want more. And if you juuuust add that one extra thing (or ten!) they'll stay or they'll signup or they'll upgrade or they'll tell their friends (and if you...
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February 22, 2021

Testimony before the Arizona House of Representatives

I delivered this testimony before the Arizona House of Representatives today in support of HB2005, which will give all app developers the right to choose their own payment processor, as well as protection from retaliation if they do so. It was a closely contested bill, but in the end passed the committee in a 7 to 6 vote. You can read ...
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