David Heinemeier Hansson started working with Jason Fried as a contract worker from Denmark. How did he eventually become a partner at 37signals?
I’ve kept in touch with David over the years, and we’d planned on doing an interview for awhile now. It finally happened this past week. This is a pretty personal interview. I spoke with David about growing up in Copenhagen, and how he met Jason (there’s a great story in there). We also discussed his new book (with Jason Fried) called Remote, and how he stays motivated when writing. This is part 1 of the interview.
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Can anyone at 37signals take advantage of moving to warmer climates?
“Absolutely: I think about 1/4 of our people are in Chicago. We have quite a few people have moved around a lot. I think Jeremy Kemper, who’s on the Rails core team, has moved about 4 or 5 times; mostly to warmer places on the West Coast. One of our support people, Kristin, just moved from Chicago to Portland. So, we definitely have people who take advantage of wherever they want to live. This is one of the great benefits of remote working – you can choose to live exactly where you want to, and it doesn’t really matter. I don’t drop a beat: it doesn’t matter if I’m in Spain or Chicago.”
“For me, personally, it’s great to not be in the same city as everyone else. I do my best work in solitude. I love those short bursts of bandwidth with in-person collaboration.”
“People overemphasize the benefits of collaboration. Collaboration is great; but it’s overused in terms as a tool.”
“For me, the most important part of writing is having something to say.”
What’s your strategy for writing?
“I’ve been working on this book for the past 10 years (in terms of my forming the ideas, and gather the experiences). When it came to recording it all, the best strategy for me was to put on the turbo chargers and get it done.”
“[Growing up] I always loved good writing. That was my inspiration for starting my own magazine in high school.”
“That happens a lot: I get inspired by something, or someone, and say – ‘Hey, I want to do that to.'”
Remote: Office not required (David and Jason’s new book – out October 29, 2013)