Notes on Basecamp

If the doors of perception were cleansed, every tab would appear to man as it is: infinite.

4/20 has come and gone but I think everyone is still high. Justin Zhu, the former CEO of a company called Iterable, was fired for microdosing LSD at work “in an effort to boost his focus” according to Bloomberg’s Sarah McBride. He may have been trying to focus hard enough to discover what Iterable does, but now we’ll never know. The Guardian’s Oliver Burkeman investigated whether free will is only, like, an illusion, man. Astrology tycoon Susan Miller is getting absolutely smashed on Brown Sugar Body Polish and spending $6,640 on goose down pillows for her queen-sized posting station, where she interprets the stars on five different 16-inch MacBooks Pro. And Gabriella Paiella landed the interview of a lifetime when she talked to the congenitally high Marianne Williamson about her bird tweets:

GP: You recently tweeted a photo of a blue jay, writing, “I know people are going to laugh at me about this but it always strikes me how these birds never look in the mirror so they actually have no idea what they look like.”

MW: People pointed out to me, and rightfully so, that they look in the lake.

GP: But we don’t know what their conception of their own beauty is.

MW: Questions remain…

Aldous Huxley famously wrote, “Number 4, I know you heard this before
Never get high on your own supply.
” But Basecamp co-founder Jason Fried fired up the impulse-sauna yesterday, ripped a huge bong hit, and blasted out an all-company memo to the world quoting Huxley’s classic mescaline-trip diary / business handbook “Doors of Perception” that “the martyrs go hand in hand into the arena; they are crucified alone,” and then decreeing there will be “no more societal and political discussions on our company Basecamp account.” He also announced the end of “paternalistic benefits,” committees, and self-awareness. “It's time to get back to making calls, explaining why once, and moving on.” In this new spirit of certitude, Fried immediately made several updates to the post, and Basecamp co-founder David Heinemeier Hansson posted his own additional explanations.

As Karl Marx offers in Das Kapital, “when you post your surprise company policy changes on your public blog, employees tend to respond on Twitter.” Head of Design Jonas Downey said “I don't agree with the changes announced today, and I'm sad & upset.” Developer George Claghorn ended a thread on his reactions with: “Leadership didn’t even bother to announce some of those changes internally. We found about them from the blog post... They don’t even think work belongs at work.” Designer Conor Muirhead said “I am confident that I would be worse off as a person… had these new company policies been in place for the last 7 years.” And Navid Afshar described the employees’ efforts to organize a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion committee, which 21 of 58 Basecamp employees joined. “The responsibility for DEI work returns to Andrea, our head of People Ops,“ reads Fried’s post. As Internet Old Derek Powazek observed, the post “seems like it’s one long subtweet of whoever inside the company was advocating for them doing better.” For general analysis of a white tech CEO deciding that no one should bring “politics” to work anymore, I can’t do better than point you to Marco Rogers’ thread.

In past blog entries, Fried has prided himself on “Staying Out of It” and claimed that “The only metric that matters to me” is ‘Would I want to do that again?’” As for who could have seen this blowback coming, the Basecamp founders should have read this Inc. Magazine post from 2017, “Why You Should Have a Plan Before Your Company Becomes a Political Target,” by a guy named Jason Fried.

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She’s So High

My mission was to celebrate my second pandemic birthday on a high note so my roommates and I ordered 3 pizzas and a side of THC-infused ranch from Stoney Slice, the barely legal weed pizza joint recently profiled in the absolutely discreet LA Times

Each pie was 9 inches (4 slices) and infused with 30 mg of THC. They looked like the free pizzas I used to get in grade school for reading books, but more artisanal.

Here is the “Pizza Bianca” pie I ate and how it hit me as we rewatched 13 Going on 30:

I slept very cozy that night. And when I woke up I was 30, so it worked. 


Happy Birthday Pernell! Traditionally it’s been my job to gently poke fun at the intern but this is his last week and Intern Pernell has been such a delight to work with, I really can’t. Do you know he types out the entire alt text for me, for all of his cartoons and the Yahoo!?

Today in Etc: Idaho is threatening to kill 90% of its wolves. Sourcehut’s Drew DeVault: Cryptocurrency is an abject disaster. National Congress of American Indians President Fawn Sharp’s reply to Rick Santorum would be instantly fatal in a just universe. Russian contestant on a Chinese Boy Band reality show finally freed from his ordeal. “sooooo bad vibes at Insider huh,” writes Delia about the Digiday report on Insider’s writer metrics. Texas woman finally free of 20-year Sabrina the Teenage Witch felony record.

The Yahoo! today is also super high:

Today’s Song: The Coin Toss Scene from “No Country for Old Men.”

~ What’s the most you ever lost in a tab? ~

This Tabs is too l