Proof of the peak


Just a couple of months ago, I wrote an analysis of why I believed we were entering the waning days of DEI's dominance. I looked at four factors: 1) the likely judicial defeat of affirmative action in universities, 2) the disintegration and scandalization of BLM, 3) the loss of Twitter as an effective woke policing mechanism, and 4) finally the coming mass layoffs in tech. Now comes the proof that we've indeed seen the corporate peak.

From Axios yesterday:

Companies that were once very vocal on human rights and societal issues have held statements close to the vest or stayed completely silent following the recent streak of tragedies in America.

This is a major shift in the way leaders communicate during heightened moments of tragedy and crisis. Most have now opted for internal correspondence in place of public pledges — and some are saying nothing at all.

The writer is clearly rendering this reality through a lens of lamentation, but still has to accept similar points of analysis as to why this is happening, like "economic uncertainty":

The tech industry — which was previously out front on many of these issues — is now going through massive cuts and is focused on staying afloat, not wading in. Plus, many tech companies have gutted their DEI departments in response to economic strains.

Another point mentioned is simply "fatigue", which again is spot on, but also not something to decry. There's a very distinct limit on how often most folks want to hear from the maker of the candy bar, the producer of their soap, or the purveyor of their software on societal and political topics. And we've clearly reached that limit! Good!

The Axios article ends with this bizarre postulate: "Corporate silence could crater civil discourse". What? Unless mega corporations weigh in on our politics, it'll crater civil discourse? Haven't progressives in particular just spent the last half century at least hemming and hawing over the influence of big corporations on public discourse and politics?!

The problem with the lack of corporate involvement, just like the lack of Twitter's overt censorship regime, is obviously primarily that it marks an absence of support from a very particular narrative and political orientation. I'm certain this same writer would be quick to call for corporations to shut up, if they replaced the "corporate silence" with support for a counterposition.


Let individual members of said corporations engage in politics to their hearts content as sovereign citizens in a democracy. But spare us the sanctimonious press releases, with their carefully rehearsed thoughts & payers, on company letterhead, from the outfits that stock our commodities.

David Heinemeier Hansson

03 Feb 2023 at 07:59

Just let me do my job


This is to everyone who've ever been frustrated with the inability to find time at work to do their actual job. To those who've had to nod and smile at the VP of Wasting Everyone's Fucking Time. To whoever is sick of playing calendar tetris just to win the prize of zoom gloom. To people who actually like what they do, and would be ever so happen if they'd simply be allowed to do it. To anyone who've ever thought: JUST LET ME DO MY JOB!

The modern workplace has become an interruption factory. Constantly cutting the work day into fleeting work moments. Keeping everyone busy producing everything but progress. Whether it's pointless meetings, the endless conveyer belt and line-by-line thinking of chat-first collaboration, or the gaggle of check-ins, check-ups, drive-bys, and 1-1s that plague life at work in far too many companies. Enough! ENOUGH! E-N-O-U-G-H!

Half the people who feel zapped by work at the end of the week do so because they actually want to get the job done, but just can't seem to find the peace and calm to do so. Drained by the lack of momentum on moving things forward, not from an intrinsic incapacity for motivation. That's an absolute travesty. An own goal of anti-productivity and peak pointy-haired bossness. And it's utterly unnecessary. It does not have to be this way!

Work isn't always a picnic, but if you get to apply your skills to interesting problems for long, uninterrupted stretches of time, it can actually be rewarding and meaningful. Humans were made to do, not just to be. The height of happiness at work is finding that state of flow. But you'll be looking in vain unless you're mostly left alone, either individually or as a team, to seek it.

We've worked for over twenty years on tools and practices in service of this goal at 37signals. We've built Basecamp for businesses who appreciate the progress that comes from just letting people do their job. It's not that complicated, but it is surprisingly difficult to pull off with the mishmash of tools most businesses foist on their employees. Basecamp's mission since its launch nearly two decades ago has been to give you a little less than you think you might need, such that everyone on the team can actually figure out how to use it.

Now we're making this ethos into the key slogan for a five-million dollar marketing campaign in 2023: JUST LET ME DO MY JOB!

The campaign starts today with this fun commercial that'll run before videos around the internet:

David Heinemeier Hansson

31 Jan 2023 at 12:06

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