Insider Q&A: BaseCamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson
Sunday, 2 August 2020
David Heinemeier Hansson has made a name for himself as one of the tech industry’s more prominent iconoclasts and industry critics. The Danish programmer is a successful entrepreneur who has testified before Congress to argue that Big Tech firms should be more regulated and started an anti-Facebook campaign. He is chief technology officer of BaseCamp, which makes workplace collaboration software, and is also the creator of a widely used software development framework called Ruby on Rails.
Hansson spoke with The Associated Press to discuss remote work in the age of the pandemic and why Big Tech’s power should be limited. The interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Q: Basecamp is mostly remote. Has the pandemic affected how you work?
A: So BaseCamp has been been remote for about 20 years and we have all the systems and processes in place to be able to make that a pleasant experience. But I think what’s important to look at with the pandemic is that it’s not just remote work, it’s remote work during a pandemic. So we have a lot of parents at the company. About half the people at BaseCamp have families who all of a sudden have to deal with childcare at home or a spouse who has to share the one home office there. So the pandemic part of it has definitely been difficult.
Q: Now we’ve been doing this for a few months, we’ve seen many companies basically switch to remote mode. Have you seen other companies making mistakes switching to remote work?
A: The number one mistake I’ve seen from other companies suddenly being forced to go remote has been that they tried to recreate the office remotely. So if what happened at the office was a bunch of meetings early on Monday morning, those just turned into some calls.
And this whole idea that you can...
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