It's hard for me to reply to you today because of the Basecamp thing. I've always respected Basecamp as a company and how they go about things, contrary to the status quo, furrowing their own path. Of course, we also use Basecamp software, and apply many of the lessons from their books.
I'm still digesting the fallout from their policy change this week to disallow societal and political discussion at work. I had a lot of gut reaction and a lot of that was different I think from what I'd have felt a few years ago. A few years ago I think I'd have said "good on you!" and "if they can do it, we should too!", but after over two years of weekly calls with Kim, I have found my gut reaction to these things changing.
My wife—who worked on GitHub's ill-fated social impact team for 3 years—read the first post last night without any context, and her immediate response was "WOW". I've seen responses like that on Twitter too, but I always check myself when reading responses on Twitter, because outrage is easy to manufacture, and nuance can be lost.
This feels different. I'm not actually inherently outraged by Basecamp's decision. Why should I be? It doesn't affect me. More to say: I'm disappointed.
But considering things that don't affect me is exactly the kind of thinking that Kim has encouraged us to do over the last two years. To my reading, Jason Fried is essentially saying:
What I'm most indignant about is when he says "We are not a social impact company." is that for me, a white dude, they are a social impact company. So much of my worldview is shaped by their writing, their attitudes. They've written posts and published books. Given talks. They urge people to follow their way of doing things and they use their platform to outspokenly criticise folks who go different ways. That has all had a big impact on me, and many others.
Deeply implied in what they are saying is that finding a way, or ways of working that are wholly inclusive is really, really hard. Perhaps so hard that it can consume you so much that you lose sight of whatever it is you're building, or you realise that some societal issues are so big that they make you feel like what you're building is worthless. I know I feel that sometimes.
But DHH himself has been strongly outspoken against prohibition as a solution to hard problems.
Confused and disappointed. Reflective. And, you know what, a bit relieved. Sometimes it takes an incident like this to realise that you don't have to—indeed, shouldn't—blindly follow one ideology or the other. We have our own core values, and we should stick to them, not someone else’s dogma.
Anyway, there's so much more that could be said on the topic, and I don't doubt we'll be discussing it a bit more on ... Vito office hours! Happening tomorrow at 3:30pm Irish time. We'll be live on Vito tomorrow, talking about Vito, answering questions if it's more than just us, and teaching you that speaking normally to a camera on a live-stream isn't actually all that intimidating. See you there?
<3 <3 <3 Until next week!
P.S. Here's a copy of our own internal discussion on the above matters.
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