E046: with David Heinemeier Hansson




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about this episode

Jason’s guest this week was David Heinemeier Hansson, creator of Ruby on Rails and partner at 37signals.  This show will go down as one of the epic shows, two great entrepreneurs both with often what appeared to be differing opinions but similar in many way.  You’ll have to watch to understand that comment, not to mention 2 great insights from Tyler “he’s back!”.

Insight From Tyler, “Going out for drinks and not going back to her place”

00:05 Ask Jason, Angela Benton (Black Web 2.0) calls in to ask, Do you think the Weblogs, Inc model will work today, in a specific vertical or niche?

00:18 It’s all about solving pain points

00:23 Jason’s Shark Tank, Devrim Yasar calls in to pitch Kodingen, a cloud development environment

Insight From Tyler, “Homeless Hotty At A Hip Hop Club” you’ll have to watch to understand

00:47 Interview, How David got started in tech.

He Got his first computer at 6 years old, his friends became programmers and he had no interest in C++

His first interest was in gaming and he ran a gaming review site (1997) about the upcoming launch of Quake 3

He worked an incubator in Denmark but quickly realized it wasn’t working which led to an interesting discussion about Europe vs the US and that in Europe you are accountable for VC money.

00:50 David isn’t a swing for the fences guy he believes in singles and base hits as a way to run your company

Jason shares his progression from the base hit approach to swinging for the fences through his three companies

Freemium vs premium discussion (Facebook vs 37signals)

David is not a believer in getting eyeballs = money

00:56 David believes market share doesn’t matter it’s all about profit

If offered an absurd amount of money he wouldn’t sell 37signals, he enjoys the work

01:02 David thinks that you should be working on your best idea at any given time

It’s all about profit not revenue
01:06 How “the exit” has changed the game

01:10 How the system is set up to benefit the entrepreneurs

Build a profitable business

Money taken from (Jeff Bezos) went to the founders and wasn’t to grow the company

01:14 David’s delusion’s of granger

01:16 David would not trade 37signals for Salesforce

David may believe in an older form of capitalism

01:22 News with Mike Bracco

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  • I don’t know what’s going on with the formatting but my iphone wouldn’t play the show #46 it said because of a format problem. I don’t know if other people are having the same problem. I have too slow a connection to play it on-line shame! I will have to do without. It’s the second show to have that problem, thought I’d let you guys know.

  • Judo

    Best episode yet, really enjoyed this one. First really heated debate on TWIST. Two guests I definitely would like to see again.
    – Michael Robertson
    – David Heinemeier

  • I feel no need to watch it now after reading the recap. lol Can I subscribe to the recap via rss?

  • Scott Simko

    James – Their is so much in this episode that I couldn’t even possibly get all the details, this one will be in the epic discussion.

  • This episode could have lasted for five hours or more :). Truly awesome and absolutely one of the best episodes yet for sure.

    It’s great to see two great entrepreneurs discussing their philosophies with none of them backing down as both of them are successful, so both concepts are valid.

    David really needs to come back for another episode.

  • Marko Hristov

    Great episode. David “bottom line” approach is different from the others.
    Today, Apple has a really similar approach and therefore a lot of cash that is not being spent on over-priced acquisitions (like Google-s YouTube, Microsoft’s Hotmail,…etc).

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  • A truly exciting and thought-provoking episode. Many thanks for putting this together. I would love to see another interview with Jason and David again soon.

  • Awesome episode, but I love how both Jason and David talk to the phone like the caller is sitting with them. Too funny.

  • Carl

    Is anybody else having problems with iTunes? The last episode shown is 47.

  • Great episode again. The pace was really good, obviously bc of the two great minds discussing ideas. Not events, not people.

    @jason & crew – don’t worry about the length, of +2hrs. I really can enjoy 2.5hrs when the discussion has some detail and explanation and viewpoints (why so and so is coming to this conclusion) are made clear.


  • Emily

    Hi Folks, the RSS audio only feed on itunes should be up and running soon. We had a small set back when switching over. Also, we are checking into why our new faster downloads don’t seem to get beyond itunes and onto your iphones/ipods etc. Please contact me if you have any problems/questions emily@mahalo.com

  • rohan

    Good work. This is a ‘Charlie Rose’ quality show.

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  • What a great episode…definitely top 5! I really appreciate David’s approach toward not having to be the end-all, be all for everyone. Focusing on core features and core values is very important and I really like David’s approach toward business.

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  • Jack Gallagher

    Good episode and interview but David seemed like the grade school kid who just learned swear words and had to find a way to bring them into the chat as much as possible to seem like a bad-ass. You’d think he’d have more confidence by now given his success without seeming so insecure. He had a lot of great comments that were undermined by his potty mouth.

  • It is not how much hours you are working it is how effective you are working and to live a happy life. why do you work? to be happy and to feed the people you love.

    different people have different values. :-)

  • Kudos for Jason & Tyler for having a guest who preaches against going to VCs (sort of). I just ordered Rework.

    BTW, I find the session notes to be incredibly helpful, especially when the shows go on for a couple of hours. Please try to keep/beef them up!

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  • good stuff, but the guy was little annoying. it seemed he did not give much respect to most business models that he is not in.

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  • David makes a great point for organic growth. Although, something should be said about scaling to a massive level before monetizing – and the insight that I imagine comes when you have some experienced VCs on the team.

    Yin Yang – I'm new to the game and I'm right on with David on this one; but I cant rule out what Jason is saying.

    I also don't know a thing compared to these guys experiences – great dialog, excellent show!

  • chabunkazur

    David is king. Two thumbs up!

  • Scott

    Second time watching this and Jason make's me cringe so much with his undermining comments.I have to give it to him for straight talking his thoughts but fuck he doesnt need to undermine David's views like he does.
    I mean sure, question his motives and reasons but don't be so condesending with it.

    Funny stuff, bloody brilliant interview!

  • Tarek Demiati

    This is the best show I have seen on Twist

    Pragmatism at it’s finest. Thumb up for DHH

  • Gjst

    A owner is not responible for the debt of his company in Europe, unless he co-signs on a loan.

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  • Anonymous

    One of the best yet – agree 95% with David’s take on Profit return – Brilliant back and forth @jason awesome composure and insightful take as always! :)

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  • David’s comment on profit being the driver of market share, rather than vice versa is excellent.
    However, Jason’s response that it’s related to where you are in your career (or the stage of the company), is very important.

    This was a really strong episode.

  • DHH outlook on profit being the underlying factor for business is spot on. I agree with his premise on working on your best thing now. This was my first intro to DHH and I’m definitely a fan. Thanks TWIST!