David Heinemeier Hansson: Grow Slow & Profitable (The DOcast)

David Heinemeier Hansson talks about working Remote
David Heinemeier Hansson talks about working remote

Do you know what Twitter, Groupon, and Shopify have in common — Ruby on Rails. It’s a game changer in the way web-base applications are made for developers. It’s also happens to be a by-product when David Heinemeier Hansson was building Basecamp (which is also a by-product). David is a founding partner at 37signals, a best-selling author, a race car driver, coder, hacker, photographer, and a big advocate on working lean, efficient, and remotely.

I had the pleasure to talk to him via Skype from his home office in Malibu, CA, to talk about how his principles might apply to an non-internet company.

Be sure to get a pen and a pad, his story is jam-packed with ideas and tips to grow your business.

Interview with David Heinemeier Hansson

Sponsored by: Hanley’s Foods — Louisiana-inspired, natural, fresh foods. Just for you, enter “docast” at checkout for $4 off. 

  • By-products (3:00)
  • “I generally do not like risk very much.”
  • How do you manage your time while building by-products? (7:05)
  • “Once you get started, you can get other people to help, you don’t have to do it all yourself.”
  • How do you know when to charge? (11:15)
  • How do you work remotely with time difference? (14:00)
  • “When I go to the office, I get way-less shit done.”
  • “Collaboration is one bit of what work is about, but an even bigger bit is the work itself — most people don’t protect that.”
  • Rework by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson  (book mention)
  • Remote: Office Not Required by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson (book mention, both by-product of their workflows)
  • How can one systematize a company that has physical products? (22:10)
  • Justin’s Nut Butter (company mention)
  • “Profits = Freedom.”
  • “We would rather take it slow and build up our business at our own pace. It’s taken us a decade to go from 4 people to 40 people — but we’ve done it in a way that we’ve been profitable the entire time and thus, we’ve been able to control our destiny.”
  • “Grow slow and profitable.”
  • How can you zero-in and focus on profits when starting up? (25:50)
  • “I rather have a small slice of a big pie, that a big slice of a small pie.”
  • SOD Strategic Operating Document (30:40)
  • “Rushing to a sustainable model and then scaling it up, is far better than scrambling around and trying to scale that up.”
  • When is it time to hire? (33:40)
  • What’s the single-most important thing to working remotely? (36:15)
  • Signal VS Noise — The person they’ll become (blog article mention)
  • What do you like to do outside the office? (40:00)
  • David’s Flickr page (amazing photos)
  • Fujifilm X100S (camera mention)
  • Leica Camera (Digilux 2, camera mention)
  • Finished 24 hours racing at Le Mans (photo)
  • What’s a book, a song, and a quote that you love? (43:25)
  • What’s a challenge you can leave with an entrepreneur that wants to get started but hasn’t? (46:20)
  • “Look for opportunities where you can start something where the main investment is your time.”

CONTEST: I’ll send you a free copy of David’s new book, Remote: Office Not Required (check out the trailer) + a bottle of Sensation salad dressing, all you have to do is leave a comment below about what you are going to do today to get started. I’ll announce the winner on the next episode. Congratulations to Kristen for winning last episode’s contest.

Check out David at:
Twitter: @dhh
Blog: Signal VS Noise
Website: david.heinemeierhansson.com

Play the interview

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8 thoughts on “David Heinemeier Hansson: Grow Slow & Profitable (The DOcast)”

  1. I’m already working from home now and plan to ramp it up in the future. It really helps to decide what work is really important versus work that exists because you have an office.

  2. What am I doing to get started?
    Sticking with my system and maintaining momentum:
    Working on a personal project and dream every night until I can’t keep my eyes open anymore, and loving every minute of it because my newest project has got me amped and excited for what the future may hold. No matter its public success, it has me breaking down personal barriers and improving myself beyond what I ever could’ve imagined 6 months ago.

  3. Great interview. Been working remotely since I started in 2006 and am really interested in what they have to say in Remote. I’m wondering if there’s something I’m missing or if it will be just completely validating my lifestyle.

  4. I am going to act on what DHH just said at the very end, that I don’t have to risk everything to start. He is very right, there is this strange idea that ppl must risk it all to start a business, when its just not true. I am going to ramp up my work and really start moving forward. Great interview Richard.

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