DHH

David Heinemeier Hansson

Creator of Ruby on Rails, Founder & CTO at Basecamp, NYT Best-selling author of REWORK and REMOTE and Le Mans class-winning racing driver

THIS CHAT HAPPENED ON February 12, 2016

Discussion

DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
Hey, I'm David Heinemeier Hansson. I created Basecamp with Jason Fried back in 2003 and extracted the popular web-framework Ruby on Rails from that. I continue to run those adventures. I'm also the co-author of REWORK and REMOTE. And I'm a gentleman racer who's won his class at the 24 hours of Le Mans. Feel free to ask me anything about technology, startups, business, life, happiness, or whatever!
jaequery
jaequery@jaequery · Founder, Techbeach.LA
As I truly admire how your mind works when it comes to "simplicity" and "elegance", I really wanted to hear your opinion on the React front-end framework craze going on right now. How do you feel about it?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@jaequery I like the basic philosophy a bunch: Just blow away all view state and rerender the world. Reminds me a lot about the glorious simplicity of regular request/response, before ajax, before client-side MVC. But that's about when the love affair stops for me. I'm not a fan of marrying templates, view logic, and going components turtles down. Perhaps that's just because the type of web UIs I generally work on don't need that stuff, but I also generally just have an aversion to that level of complexity. When you get into multiple nested components, with states and props, and flowing stuff back through the Flux architecture. Aye caramba! That's when I want to get off the train. Turbolinks is my preferred client-side approach. It's similar in its intent to "rerender the world" but it does so from the server-side, just wrapped in a persistent process for JS and CSS, so the speed is there (for most things). But hey, whatever floats your boat. Rails API will work great with React or any other client-side MVC framework. I'd just rather that most people interrogate whether they really need such a big honking setup. I've seen some terribly simple apps get awfully complicated by this.
jaequery
jaequery@jaequery · Founder, Techbeach.LA
@dhh Loved your response. Thanks!
Jason Gamblen
Jason Gamblen@jasongamblen · Co-Founder, InnerSpace
My question is a practical one about starting up without the biblical "angel funding"... In the early days of 37 Signals when you were building the product and revenue was similarly immature, how did you support yourself and your team financially? If you could pass along advice to founders who don't want to take the path most travelled and build the business at the pace of your customers, how do you recommend they feed themselves?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@jasongamblen 37signals got started in 1999 by three partners each putting in $10,000. Then it was a web design client-services business for the next five years until 2004 when we launched Basecamp. We continued to do web design for a year following the launch of Basecamp to pay for salaries until Basecamp was doing well enough to pay for itself. I think that's a great strategy, if you can swing it. Get something, ANYTHING, going to pay the bills. Then work on a larger vision on the side. Use customers to bootstrap.
jack rometty
jack rometty@rometty_ · student
Hey! I'm a huge fan of RoR, can't wait for 5.0! :) What do you look for when deciding if you want to work with someone? This doesn't have to be Basecamp.
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@rometty_ I'm a sucker for competence. It's not the only thing that matters, by far, but working with someone who's just really good at what they do is invigorating. Next best thing is to have an aptitude for learning. The only form of teaching that I really enjoy is the one where I have to say things only once, or at the most a few times. People who are great listeners and eager to learn can be (almost) as rewarding to work with. So bottomline: Be good at what you do or be good at becoming good at what you do.
Diogo Ferreira
Diogo Ferreira@diogomartf
Hey DHH, big fan of yours. I really enjoy all your work and mindset . I would like to know what you do in a normal day?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@diogomartf Depends on where I am. I'm in Spain at the moment, so my day starts around 8:30am. Get up, eat breakfast with the family, play with my 3 year-old boy for an hour or so, then take him to school. Have another hour or so hanging out with the family or doing things around the house, then work starts, currently, at around 11am. I work until around 7pm, with breaks in between to again hangout with the family, go get lunch, whatever. Then dinner, maybe a bit more work afterwards, and otherwise chilling with the wife for a few hours. Perhaps watching a show. That's it! ~8 hours of work, family time, show time, reading time. Great day :D
Nisanth Chunduru
Nisanth Chunduru@nisanth074
Hey @DHH, to add to Diogo's question, how do you structure your typical day? How did it change from the early days of Basecamp (when you were most likely spending a significant part of your time writing Ruby) to today? Thank you.
Mike Taylor
Mike Taylor@sea_local · web developer
Do you look back on any decision in your work and career and wonder if you should have made a different decision at that time? If so, what was the decision?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@sea_local It's funny to think about where things might have gone if instead of pursuing Basecamp I would have pursued that master's degree from Copenhagen Business School. That would have been a pretty poor life choice, probably :D. But generally I don't really care much to think about woulda-coulda-shoulda. I got to where I am from the road I took here. Very pleased with the general outcome of that.
Jure Žove
Jure Žove@jurezove · Programmer
Hey David! To spice this up a bit, I'd like to know how your dream garage would look like if money was no object (besides the two blue rockets that are in it right now). Also, what were the main reasons you decided to order both the Zonda and the Agera? Thanks!
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@jurezove I pretty much have my dream garage, even though money was an object :D. Only a couple of cars I really lust for: Aventador J. McLaren SLR Stirling Moss. Lamborghini Miura. Zonda and Agera are both expressions of the same idea: One man's life long dream fulfilled by a small team that beat the giants at their own game. They get there very differently, though. Love both to bits.
Jason Hänschell
Jason Hänschell@jasonhanschell
Hey David, big fan of your principles on software and life design. As you now have two young kids how do you see your time spent in different countries as they grow up? How do you view these coming years for their education and activities. Is homeschooling an option? My wife and I recently welcomed a child as well so we are interested.
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@jasonhanschell I don't believe moving around as much as we do now works once the kids have to go to school. So we're likely to settle in California for the next 15 years once school season kicks in. Then I'm sure we'll be back to roaming the world after that.
Jason Hänschell
Jason Hänschell@jasonhanschell
@dhh Thanks David!
Mike Coutermarsh
Mike Coutermarsh@mscccc · Code @ GitHub
Hi @DHH 😀. When building a new feature for basecamp, what process does it go through to get from an idea to production?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@mscccc It usually starts with a desire to have something. Then a quick paper or ipad sketch. Then some HTML to flush it out. Then making it real as a feature in the app. Then playing with it and revising it. Then pushing it live. The shorter the better from start to finish.
Bob Sheth
Bob Sheth@bobsheth · marketingnotes.com
Hi @dhh - i'm new to writing software. With the help of ruby, rails and the os community I've been able to get my first commercial web app launched. I want to now give back to the community but don't know where to start. Should I write a gem? Is there a way to help with the rails core software development? Confused but want to help. Any advice would be much appreciated.
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@bobsheth Thanks Bob! It's a great feeling to give back to a community that's helped you get off the ground. I had the same feeling with Rails after building on top of Ruby, MySQL, Apache, Linux, etc. Helping out with better documentation is a great way to start. Most open source work has documentation that could need help, including Rails. Second would be to help work on fixing some of the many outstanding bugs that most successful projects have. Third, if you do have a good library or framework to extract, by all means!
William O'Shea
William O'Shea@woshea · CEO, MyCo
I run a SaaS company with 15+ remote work employees in different geographies, time zones and cultures. Curious to hear what do you see as the one or two most important things to get a "remote company" working well.
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@woshea It's a challenge, isn't it? But then again, running any business of 15 employees is a challenge! I think it's just easier to see the challenge fully when people are remote. Jason and I wrote a whole book on the topic called REMOTE, you can check it out here: http://37signals.com/remote.
Winfield
Winfield@wpeterson · Software Engineer
What do you think makes the Ruby and the Rails communities unique in software? Do you see those ideas/values spreading?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@wpeterson I wrote a long treatises about that here: http://rubyonrails.org/doctrine/
Brett Johnson
Brett Johnson@burtjohanson · Fire Drops, LLC
Hey @DHH, thanks for doing this. I'm curious to get your thoughts on Elixir as an up and coming programming language. Obviously it shares a lot of its roots with Ruby, so I'm curious if you see a future where lots of Rubyists migrate to Elixir and Phoenix. Thanks!
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@burtjohanson I think Elixir is great. Have great respect for José Valim and his work. I'm sure it'll find some great use cases where it's just right. But for the kind of work that I do, web applications like Basecamp, it doesn't float my boat. Ruby and Rails remain unparalleled in their luxurious treatment of the programmer. And if you can afford that from a business model and use case perspective, why wouldn't you?
Brett Johnson
Brett Johnson@burtjohanson · Fire Drops, LLC
@dhh thanks!
Ayrton De Craene
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Clearbit
Are you a fan of emoji? And if so what's your favourite?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@ayrtonbe ❤️👊👐
David Ehrentreu
David Ehrentreu@dovidmehrentreu · Marketing, design, entrepreneur.
Thank you @dhh for this awesome opportunity! What would consider an MVP for an online b2p marketplace? Also, what front end framework have you found works best with RoR?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@dovidmehrentreu Don't think I can say anything meaningful about an MVP on such a broad topic. For front-end, we keep things simple with Turbolinks and some jQuery. No client-side MVC framework for us.
Ayrton De Craene
Ayrton De Craene@ayrton · Code @ Clearbit
Imagine a world where the ruby language does not exist, in what language (if at all) would you prefer to write Ruby on Rails now?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@ayrtonbe You're giving me nightmares with such a question! I actually don't really like that many programming languages. But if I HAD to choose something else, I'd probably be looking at Smalltalk. I'm glad that I don't, though!
AJ Robertson
AJ Robertson@codeithuman · Infinite Red
If you were to build another another large applications (like Basecamp), what technology stack would you use? Would you consider something other than Ruby/Rails?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@ajrob27 Ruby on Rails remains so overwhelmingly the right choice for the kind of apps that I've built in my career, Basecamp/Highrise/Backpack/Campfire etc, that no, there really isn't a runner-up at the moment. Yes, I'm a Ruby fanboi!
Jonny Miller
Jonny Miller@jonnym1ller · Cofounder @Maptia
Hey @DHH, loved your eloquent slamming of "disrupt-o-mania" on Medium and the subsequent interview with Laurence at Happy Startups. (I was intrigued to hear Zach Klein echo your thoughts on 'building a company that you don’t want to sell’... he regretted selling Vimeo). It’s a big question (and I’m not sure that there’s a simple answer) but how do you think we (global startup communities) can help share an alternative narrative of "building something you love" and working on it indefinitely vs. the current Silicon Valley definition of success that = being acquired or hitting an IPO in ~3 yrs? (I’d also be curious to learn roughly what % of PH founders seek VC funding vs. aspire to be working on their product for the next decade or two...)
Mike Taylor
Mike Taylor@sea_local · web developer
@jonnym1ller @dhh As a follow-up to this question, why do you choose to voice your opinion about taking VC money? Much like you recently stated that you've refrained from arguing with the public on Twitter, you could just as easily dismiss the fact that people accept VC money, and focus on your own path. So, why spend the extra energy on asking people to "Reconsider?"
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@jonnym1ller I don't think growing in a sustainable, long-term way is compatible with the VC founding-to-funding pipeline. So that's simply mission number one: Give more people the strength, motivation, and insight to reject the angel -> VC -> IPO/sale pipeline. Because once you've stepped on board, there's no getting off. So that means highlighting all the alternatives. Like starting a business on the side. Bootstrapping it with your own meager funds for starters, then relying on real customers to take it further. It's a boring, slow way to build a business, but for most, I think it's far more realistic, rewarding (emotionally AND economically), and plausible.
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@sea_local @jonnym1ller I generally don't enjoy arguing with random strangers in a twitter thread because it's a poor use of my energy and time. The BEST outcome is that one person MIGHT think of something a different way. RECONSIDER was seen by more than 300,000 people. Having a chance to reach that many people with a message that might well save them a decade of burnout, anguish, or worse feels like time very well spent.
Diogo Neves
Diogo Neves@diogosnows · Sound Wave Wrangler, LOST
@dhh @jonnym1ller is there any danger in a B2C product that in a slower development environment, other VC funded companies may get to the users faster? I get the impression that is the motivation behind. Do you think a small but really strong team could keep improving the product fast enough? How would you feel about taking a small angel investment but then relying on customers from there?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@diogosnows @jonnym1ller The fear of the well-funded VC competitor striking at just the same market, with just the same idea as you is about as real as the yeti. Stop worrying about it! The angel business model doesn't, generally, work with you "relying on customers from there". Funding leads to more funding. You've taken the money, you gotta pay the piper.
Laszlo Levente Mári
Laszlo Levente Mári@laszlolm · CEO @ Dakai - Blockchain Services
Hey! Thanks for coming! I'm still laughing a lot on Groupon's hilarious job offer (https://gist.github.com/dhh/1285068), what did you reply? And how did the whole conversation end? 2, any fun facts about Rails that you can share with us?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@noxowe I think for that one I actually wrote someone at Groupon and told them to fire their recruiter, because clearly that person was incompetent. That's pretty much par for course in technical recruiting at the individual contributor level. There's not enough money in it to do it properly, so you have a whole industry full of bottom-feeding spamsters. Or at least that's the underbelly of the beast that I get to see on a regular basis.
Laszlo Levente Mári
Laszlo Levente Mári@laszlolm · CEO @ Dakai - Blockchain Services
@dhh Any cool facts you can share about RoR or you?
Yoshi
Yoshi@dnxx28 · Freerance Engineer
Hi David-san! I'm Japanese Yoshi and read your book "REWORK" and "REMOTE" in Japanese. 1 : So I plan to make product within 3 to 4 years for local people. Especially Texas or Iowa. Please give some advices m(_ _)m 2 : And have you been to Tokyo or else in Japan?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@dnxx28 Awesome! I think going local and focusing on markets or niches "too small" to be taken seriously by The Big Guys is a great way to bootstrap. So I'd follow that! I've been to Japan and Tokyo about 5 times. Love it every time. Will be coming back at the end of the year for the 6 hours of Fuji as part of the FIA WEC calendar. It's a highlight of the yearly traveling I do.
Yoshi
Yoshi@dnxx28 · Freerance Engineer
@dhh I recommend Tohoku where is famous of 3.11 or Ruby is born in Shimane. However I never seen to Matz LOL. Thx. David-san!!
Jody Smallman
Jody Smallman@jody_smallman
I am curious to learn more about how your organization shape impacts your technology decisions. Can you elaborate a case where you wanted to shoot for the stars but ended up shooting for the moon because of this constraint?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@jody_smallman First of all, I fucking hate that expression :). I generally think that if you shoot for the stars and don't make it, you're more likely to end up like the Challenger than you are a consolation prize of the moon: In a thousand pieces! All these star chasers, or unicorn-wannabes, give up a shot of the mere moon to die trying getting to that billion dollar level. Fuck that. But the first part, I think the organizational shape has a big impact on technology and decisions. I've long been cautioning people against a microservices architecture if they're just a small <10 person company. Even for our <50 person company, I think a microservices setup would generally be disastrous. That's the kind of thing to do when you have no other choice because you simply can't get everyone to talk to each other, like you're Amazon. For us, I'm a big fan of the Majestic Monolith pattern. Much maligned in recent years, but the real secret to how we can do such an incredible amount of work with just 13 developers at Basecamp.
Jody Smallman
Jody Smallman@jody_smallman
@dhh Thanks, Love your tell it like it is attitude.
Brendan Hufford
Brendan Hufford@brendan_hufford
@dhh @jody_smallman This is one of the greatest statements ever. Why not just build something that takes off? Then tweak it so it gets to orbit? Then the moon? Then further?
Theoharis Dimarhos
Theoharis Dimarhos@theo_dimarhos · Marketing+Biz Dev at AngelouEconomics
Hi David! How do you think about charity giving? What kind of things move you to donate funds, time etc? Where do you think charities are moving towards in the future?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@theo_dimarhos Great fan of charity. Shouldn't take the role of government in providing all services, but it fills in many spots wonderfully. I support EFF, ACLU, Innocence Project, Free Press Foundation, DonorsChoose, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Brain & Behavior Research Foundation amongst others.
Alex Weidmann
Alex Weidmann@effektz · Co-Founder, GitMonitor
If you were going to launch a new startup targeted towards developers, and you were not "internet famous", what are a couple ways you would go about gaining traction for it?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@effektz There's only one way that I know of if you're not rich: Build an audience. How? Be interesting. Write interesting. Teach people. As Kathy Sierra says, "You can either out-teach or out-spend". If you're starting out, not famous, not rich, well, then you pretty much only have the first option available! It's never been easier to build reach if you have something to say. If you don't have something to say, well, work on that!
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
What are 3 things every new founder should think of daily?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@ems_hodge GROWTH, GROWTH, GROWTH.... Hahaha, I'm KIDDING! That's a fucking terrible chant that we need to beat out of the startup community. A horrible ideology that's leading the companies that chase it to some very dark places. Instead, I'd like to think: 1) Do great work. Work you can be proud of. Care about the inside of the box. Do fewer things well. It's amazing how easy it is to forget this. 2) Act like you'd want to be treated. I'm a customer hundreds of times per month. Every time is an opportunity to observe how I feel about those interactions and reflect on whether we're doing better ourselves. 3) Going the distance. So easy to be sucked into a never-ending sprint. The habits you set now are the habits you'll keep tomorrow. Be very careful which habits you adopt. Over work and over collaboration are two chief bad habits to be alert about.
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)
Emily Snowdon (née Hodgins)@emilyjsnowdon · Operations @ Product Hunt
What makes you happy? 😃
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@ems_hodge Spending time with my wife and sons (is there anything better than your own kid's laugh?). Understanding a deep idea fully (often takes several tries). Writing the best code I know how. Driving 309 km/h down the Mulsanne straight. Capturing that perfect expression on someone's face at F1.4 on the Leica. Feeling the wind and sun in my face with the top down in a convertible. Really going deep on a topic in conversation with my wife or friends about things that matter. Helping others 'click' with an idea. Spreading techniques or tools that I think are valuable to others. Rotating an iPhone 6 in my hand (it may not be the prettiest iPhone, but man does it feel great in the hand). Coming up with that perfect zinger for a great rant. Listening to Loosing My Religion really loud. Binge-watching a great new show. Drinking a 200ml glass Coke at temperature just above freezing.
DerekMartin
DerekMartin@derekmartin · Chief conductor @ Tuba
Hi @DHH what is your biggest fear or concern when it comes to the current direction or trends of enterprise software ?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@derekmartin The same as it always was: That the merchants of complexity will convince the world that they are needed. That the web will disappear as a freak accident of history and we'll be back on proprietary platforms run with an iron fist by tech giants.
Nicolas
Nicolas@nicolasmlv · dev
Thanks for doing this AMA and thanks for Ruby on Rails If for some reason, being a racer was not possible, what would you do ? Other passion / more basecamp / more sleep / new company?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@nicolasmlv If I wasn't racing, I might try to spend more time on photography. Really love doing that. Or maybe pickup fencing again. Used to do that way, way back in the day. Probably that would be a better game since it would force me to stay in shape, which is a role that racing helps play at the moment. I don't really love working out, so to me it helps a lot to have a goal. I simply HAVE to be quite fit to race for 24 hours.
Jon Hainstock
Jon Hainstock@jonhainstock · Software Entrepreneur
Thanks for taking the time to do this @dhh! Are you still using a hybrid approach to native apps at Basecamp now, or are they completely native? If they are completely native, would you be willing to share why you made the switch?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@jonhainstock We are tripling down on hybrid. It's really been the secret to how we could do Basecamp 3 with the small team that we have. Just 2 ios developers, 2 Android developers, and some incredible apps that feel totally native. So it's a native shell and navigation frame with some native features sprinkled in, but then 95% of the functionality is webviews powered by Turbolinks 5. Check it out https://github.com/turbolinks/tu...
Jon Hainstock
Jon Hainstock@jonhainstock · Software Entrepreneur
@dhh That's awesome to hear. We used Ionic for V1 of our app, but would love to move to a hybrid app in the future. Thank you for taking the time to answer!
Diogo Neves
Diogo Neves@diogosnows · Sound Wave Wrangler, LOST
@jonhainstock I started native but still working on it. Would love to discuss hybrid with someone if you're interested :)
Jon Hainstock
Jon Hainstock@jonhainstock · Software Entrepreneur
@diogosnows I'm a newb to hybrid. We built our app with Ionic because we were able to reuse a lot of the angular components in our app. It allowed us to build and launch the app in a month. We are on our second iteration using Ionic now, but it's not the experience we want to deliver. What has your experience been working with native? Are you supporting android and iOS? What's your app? I want to check it out 😀
Diogo Neves
Diogo Neves@diogosnows · Sound Wave Wrangler, LOST
@jonhainstock very very early stages! Started not long ago ;) thus why I can experiment and maybe change now. I'm only developing an iPhone version to start with, but would love to do more platforms... I really like swift and even though I'm new to the iPhone, I find the tools are fun to use so far. I still think the whole submission to apple process slows progress and any way to avoid that would be great. One of my requirements is that some of the content has to be available offline so, server side rendering is out of question, unless there's an easy way to keep it local afterwards. Can you point me to the tools/frameworks/libs you use at the moment?
Leigh Mackay
Leigh Mackay@leigh_mackay
Hi DHH, Turbolinks 5 supports hybrid apps and it looks really great. There are frameworks like Framework 7 and others that mimic native navigation and controls. Do you think a future where most things for apps like Basecamp are done in HTML is where it's headed? Thank you.
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@leigh_mackay You have to be really careful about not hitting uncanny valley. I'd rather that the web feels like the web and native feels like native.
a sire
a sire@hashtagjuice
What advice do you have for a recent college grad looking to get a job that involves Ruby on Rails?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@hashtagjuice It's never been easier. The barriers to entry for programming are ridiculously low compared to many other fields. That's both good and bad. But basically, I'd say keep it simple: Become a good programmer. You can start by reading these: https://signalvnoise.com/posts/3...
QueenLear
QueenLear@queenleariv · ConnectionAgent-Co-Founder @ButtonPoetry
@dhh This is an incredibly resource. Thank you for sharing! There are so many resources out there it's hard to know where to start or what path to follow. @hashtagjuice
Alex Bachuk
Alex Bachuk@netxm · web developer
What do you think the future of the RoR and ruby in general? Now that node.js and frameworks like meteor.js are gaining traction and becoming very popular for both MVPs and enterprise level software.
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@netxm After investigating node.js and React in particular lately, I think the future has never looked brighter for Ruby on Rails /trollburn.
hobbyistLisper
hobbyistLisper@hobbyistlisper · Hobbyist Technology General HTG
what was the most challenging obstacle you faced... 1) whilst cutting your teeth as a budding programmer 2)During the writing & extraction of the initial version of Basecamp ? At what point did you finally grok programming & software development?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@hobbyistlisper It took me years and years and years to finally understand programming. I vividly remember being stuck on very simple concepts at a young age. Like why do you need a variable that can change (or maybe I was just foreseeing the rise of functional programming back then :D)?! Sticking with it was hard, but it was made easier by really wanting specific programs that I could only rely on myself to make. I didn't consider myself a REAL programmer until after I discovered Ruby.
AL
AL@rrellou
DHH, do you see yourself as an "outsider"? In many cases throughout your life, you were against the mainstream ideas at the time: Ruby vs PHP, unlearn your MBA vs Pedigree Degrees, slow & steady vs GROWTH, bootstrapping vs VC money, REMOTE vs SanFran/Silicon Valley. And what are your main criticisms of Silicon Valley as a whole?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@rrellou Certainly. I'm deeply skeptical when I find myself with a bunch of people just all nodding their head in agreement.
Zach Cmiel
Zach Cmiel@zach_cmiel · CEO, PoKoBros
Hello Mr. Hansson! What's the best way to learn about A.I. and deep learning for iOS apps? Is Basecamp integrating aspects of A.I. in the app?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@zach_cmiel I have no idea. Utterly clueless when it comes to AI. But I did really like the vision of it expressed in the movie Her.
Zachary Snader
Zachary Snader@duulzach · Lead Architect @ Aries Futuristics
Hi, David! Thanks for taking some time to host this conversation. Question: Why do you think the realm of project management software is still lacking an industry leader?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@duulzach What do you mean 'lacking an industry leader', have you tried Basecamp 😄?! No seriously, I think it's WONDERFUL that there's no Winner Takes All in project management software. Industries where that's true are dystopian. The world is so much worse off when a single company gets to dominate an industry. May it never be true of project management! Also, I don't think it will be. There just aren't strong network effects and people are simply too different. Their brains click around different patterns of work. They work with different cultures. It's a marvelous richness of diversity.
Isaac Ben
Isaac Ben@isaac_ben · Laravel/WordPress Web Developer
First of all you changed my life with creating Rails, so I really admire you. I would like to know if there are any plans to make Rails apps easy to convert to mobile apps as this is becoming a must for a lot of websites.
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@isaac_ben Thanks! Absolutely, Rails 5 and Turbolinks 5 are a lot about this. It's the combination that powers Basecamp 3 across web, email, android, ios from a single Majestic Monolith. The current industry trend of doing everything fully native and pairing it with a client-side MVC thing on the web is just terrible in the barriers to entry it raises. You need a huge team to do that for any substantial app. I'm fighting to keep things simpler so that smaller teams can be on a level foot to fight the deep-pocketed VC backed firms.
AL
AL@rrellou
DHH, how have your political views changed over the course of your life? And how do they affect the way you structure and manage Basecamp?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@rrellou I think I've grown to respect the Scandinavian welfare model much more. I grew up and spend 25 years in Denmark, but it's hard to appreciate many of the benefits of where you were born until you try living somewhere else. Living in the US in particular has made me realize just how much better life is a large swath of the population in Denmark. Which in turn gives me more respect for well-run government and, shockingly, even taxes. I don't know if those insights have done that much to manage Basecamp. Perhaps in the sense that we're not in a traditional sprint for GROWTH GROWTH GROWTH like a typical American tech company. That we're more content with steady, sustainable, manageable growth or evolution. And that we treat people as though they were going to be with us for the next 30 years.
Filzi
Filzi@n_filzi · Fullstack developer | Code teacher
Hi David! I'm a teacher at a european Bootcamp called Le Wagon (Paris, Amsterdam, Brussels...) teaching about the awesomeness of Ruby and RoR. Can you think of anything about your work you would want us to share with our future RoR ninjas? :)
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@n_filzi Awesome! It's never been a better time to learn Ruby on Rails. The community is amazing, large, and (relatively) diverse. Ruby on Rails is now a "safe" choice for many businesses, which means you get to use it in more places. Lots to love.
Filzi
Filzi@n_filzi · Fullstack developer | Code teacher
@dhh Thanks for your answer. Any anecdote, easter egg, or just simple words of wisdom to pass onto them from the creator of their soon-to-become favorite tool?
AL
AL@rrellou
DHH, are you actively involved in the stock market? Do you invest passively (ETFs, funds) or do you use your background and expertise to select the best and worst companies? If so, have you shorted some unicorns?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@rrellou I'm almost fully ETF. But manage all my own funds. The only company that I'm currently in directly is Apple. Been long for a long time. It's currently my best performing investment after the recent drops in the market. I've run shorts a few times. Had a good run against Salesforce for a while. But ultimately it just wasn't a rewarding use of my time. Even if you can analyze and comfort yourself that the fundamentals really are fucked (which is true for many public tech companies, imo), it's hard to get the timing right. You can go broke being right waiting for everyone else to wake up pretty easily. And really, I make my money selling Basecamp. My investment strategy is very content just matching beta. Matching the market over the next 30 years is plenty good enough for me. Not trying to get richer quicker.
Alex Skryl
Alex Skryl@_skryl_
Hey David, thanks for bring Rails to the community! What do you think about the future of Ruby? Rails put the language on the map for most of us but recently the spotlight has been shifting. I love the language to death but I'm upset to see many popular gems being abandoned by their developers. Python has the scientific community to carry its torch. Do you think Ruby will live on in a niche or be forgotten as new (and old... cough... Javascript) technologies take the helm?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@_skryl_ The spotlight always shifts. Nobody gets to live forever under it. That's the nature of technology, and thank heavens for that! But so what? Why do you need a spotlight on something for it to bring you pleasure or to be productive? Ruby on Rails as a community has never been larger, but it's just not as trendy any more. That's the nature of trends. They change! I've yet to see a programming language that does better than Ruby at what makes Ruby so great. Look at any major programming language and you'll see libraries that are abandoned. That's merely a function of time. Ruby on Rails has been around for 12+ years now.
James Lee
James Lee@jleebiz · Startuptabs.com
Any plans on a Lumens equivalent for rails?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@jleebiz I don't know what Lumens is.
Andrew Porterfield
Andrew Porterfield@ajporterfield · Software Engineer, Network for Good
How close is the version of Rails Basecamp uses compared to what's released as open source? Is it identical, or are there things that aren't pushed upstream?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@ajporterfield Virtually identical. Anything we haven't pushed upstreamed yet will be.
Jon Moss
Jon Moss@applerebel · Rails developer
In a short 2 years, I have fallen in love RoR, at age 15 was able to get a summer internship with my skills, and am now part of the Issues Team. I'm a fan of the addition of Action Cable in Rails 5, but what do you see as major feature (s) of future Rails versions?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@applerebel It's been awesome to have you on the team! I was involved with all sorts of communities at age 15 as well (the Amiga demo / elite scene, then the console gaming scene). Predicting the next major feature is hard though, because if I could predict it, I'd already be working on it! But I've stopped predicting that we WON'T come up with new major features after being proven wrong for 12 years straight :D
Riccardo Arvizzigno
Riccardo Arvizzigno@riccardoar · @TrueLayer - Previously: Product Hunt
Why you've chosen to "live" in spain and not any other EU country ? (Ok I know that you live in USA too...but why you've chosen spain over denmark ?)
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@riccardoar Fighting words: Spain has the best food, the friendliest people, the best all-year weather, the only view of Africa :D Denmark is a lovely place... for about three months out of the year. IN A GOOD YEAR. It's absolutely a grey lump of misery for a long, long time. Just couldn't do it, given the choice.
Jóni Batista
Jóni Batista@jonibatista · Software Writer
@dhh @riccardoar If you think that about Spain you should visit Portugal neighbor ;)
Swami Venkataramani
Swami Venkataramani@swami108 · 20questions.com, wize.fm
What advice do you have for a new startup team of three engineer founders, and no business person? We are pumped up about our new project (wize.fm), and we are strong product people, but I'm afraid we lack business skills. What can we do to improve the chances of success?
DHH
DHH@dhh · Creator, Rails | Founder/CTO, Basecamp
@swami108 Learn business. It's not that complicated. Sell something for more than it costs you to make. Read: Blue Ocean Strategy, The Effective Executive, Turn The Ship Around, Influence, The Intelligent Investor,