A friend shared this.
At the core of the Basecamp kerfuffle, it’s a disagreement at work around a tense subject. I’ve seen this play out many times before and after reading all the accounts from all sides it boils down to an executive unwilling to take the L.— Matt Haughey (@mathowie) April 28, 2021
You should 100% click on it and read the thread. Do it in another tab though, I’m not done here!
Matt’s thread reminded me of something. First, I don’t care for DHH, I never have. He struck me as a white tech bro that thought he could do no wrong, and that his hot takes were printed on gold foil.
But whatever, there’s plenty being written about Basecamp’s implosion, go find it. What this thread reminded me of is an interaction with someone I consider a friend now.
Years ago, 10 or so. An attendee at one of my conferences had an issue. I don’t remember it was, some confusion around something. He wasn’t entirely right, nor was I. We went back and forth over email for an hour one morning of the event. It was getting more and more heated. I’m sure had it continued he’d never come to another of my events again, likely making sure everyone knew how he’d been treated.
I didn’t want to be wrong, I technically wasn’t. I certainly didn’t want him to have the last word.
As I said, this was happening during the conference, I was at the registration desk, he was somewhere in one of the rooms. Something in my head clicked and it occurred to me that I was being dumb. My ego had stepped in and wasn’t letting any other part of me get a word in. I could feel the flush in my cheeks as I typed out angry responsese.
somehow, thankfully, I realized there was no downside to “taking the loss” on this. The customer wasn’t entirely wrong and making him feel whole on the issue cost me nothing beyond being “Wrong”. At the end of the day, who cared? My customer did, but did I? Or was I just reacting to a perceived attack? It was the latter, and it took over an hour to realize that.
During the next break, I tracked him down and apologized. I addressed the issue, we agreed on a resolution. Like that it was done. He was happy his issue was addressed. I was happy that a customer was happy. We’re friends now, he comes to my conferences still all these years later. I know if I need something he’ll do what he can to help, same as I would for him.
I don’t know all of what’s going on at Basecamp, but do know this could all be solved if DHH and Jason took a minute to take their heads out of their asses. To listen to their employees openly without commenting. Without digging in. They’ve built a team of outrageously talented and passionate people. By now they’ve lost a lot of them, and that will continue.
My heart breaks for the Basecamp folks now looking for new opportunities. I’ve talked to enough of them over the years to know they loved what they did and who they did it with (and for).