Let's NOT Talk About Politics At Work

How a Basecamp's policy change banning political discussions internally resulted in 1/3 of the companies workforce to resign


RECAP:

  • Basecamp is a software company founded by David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried

  • The companies flagship product, “Basecamp” is a productivity/team management tool which was launched in 1999

  • Both David Fried and DHH are both long time advocates for remote work and don’t typically shy away from controversy

  • In the summer of 2020, Basecamp got into quite public battle with Apple, after Apple's App Store rejected their email app Hey, for not complying with the 30% tax on applied mobile purchases within iOS apps

  • In the spring of 2021 (this spring) Basecamp released a blog post (which was revised a few time) stating that at Basecamp, any from of "societal and political discussions” were banned

  • Tech journalists Casey Newton, who is the founder Platformer did some amazing reporting on this story

  • Roughly 1/3 of the 57 person Basecamp staff took severance packages worth anywhere from 3 to 6 months pending time at the company

  • This includes Head of Customer Support, Head of Marketing and Head of Design to name a few

  • Multiple former Basecamp employees took to Twitter to announce their resignation

  • All of this begs the question, to what extent should politics be discussed at work? Depending on whom you ask, the answer varies. And like most things when it comes to politics, expect strong opinions

DIG DEEPER:

  1. Casey Newton’s story is a must read

  2. This article by The Verge timelines the series of events well