Not doing something not worth doing is a great way to spend your time.
—David Heinemeier Hansson
Here’s a guy who’s succeeded in business by not doing more. But…he’s done important things. And…he’s enjoyed it. To learn about how he’s pulled this off, listen as Alex Sanfilippo interviews David Heinemeier Hansson.
David is a co-founder of Basecamp, and author of It Doesn’t Have to Be Crazy at Work. He’s also a race car driver and enjoyer of life. Links to David’s business, his book, and other resources are linked on the interview page.
With first-hand experience in the startup software business, David is unique. He and his partner eschewed the accepted features of that culture. They didn’t risk everything they owned, work 80 hours/week, or take no time off.
David has lived most of his life in Denmark. He learned a different work/life balance perspective than what’s common in the U.S.
David and his partner started Basecamp (then 37 Signals) as a side gig. The kept their established sources of income. They failed at an earlier venture and learned from the experience.
Calm vs. crazy is a concept that defines these guys’ approach to business. David discusses the quality of an hour vs. the quantity of hours he works. As people “fragment” their time, they never get into “flow”. Flow is what can make us intensely productive.
In today’s world, we’re bombarded by inputs that distract us:
- Social media
- Phone calls
- Etc., etc. etc.
To be productive, we must never put our schedule at the mercy of others’ whims. His advice: Turn off all notifications.
“Enough” is another concept David and Alex discuss. Goals can put us in the mindset of never having enough. We’re always striving for “more” As Basecamp started to grow very well, they got a point of 50 employees. They had several other products and found they couldn’t do them all with 50 people. Did they hire more? No – they stopped doing some of the other things. Basecamp was rewarding, and it was enough! As Basecamp grew, they’ve expanded to about 60, no more.
David asks himself one of my favorite questions: Why am I Here? His answer has 3 parts:
- He wants to make great software.
- He wants to make it with awesome people.
- He wants to treat customers right.
Nothing more, nothing less!
Here, I’ve hit on the high points of David’s ideas. I recommend you listen to the interview to get the depth of his ideas.