I was very fortunate recently to have David Heinemeier Hansson agree to do a short interview with me.
David (if you have been living under a rock) is a partner in 37signals, the creators of BaseCamp – one of the world’s leading online project management software. His company is highly controversial at times with their unique take on business. If you haven’t read Rework, their latest book – I highly suggest you do. Its a short read and really entertaining. While you may not agree with their approach 100%, the book really makes you think and question why we do many of the things we do in business.
David is also the creator of the programming framework Ruby on Rails. He speaks worldwide at conferences and is the author of three books including a New York Times best seller (Rework).
Here is a transcript from my interview with David:
Hi David thank you so much for taking the time to speak to me today. David, I respect your time and really appreciate you taking the time to do this.
Todd: Besides 37signals and servicing your 3,000,0000 users of Basecamp, do you make money online in other businesses or blogs etc?
David: I make virtually all my money through my ownership of 37signals. I’m all in.
Todd: Do you have a well defined niche you cater to? Can you tell us about it and why you focus on that niche?
David: At 37signals we focus on making small teams more productive. That’s who we are and that’s who we know. So whether that small team is a small business or a small team within a big business, we try to make it easier to communicate, organize, and structure their information and their work.
Todd: What advice would you give a new business owner trying to generate traffic? Are there some “secrets” that have worked for you that you can share?
David: We like to out-teach our competition by sharing as much as possible on our weblog and elsewhere. We write about how we work, what we think about our industry, and experiments we try. It helps us build an audience. Permalinks are the currency of traffic and nothing builds those like great content that people want to read and link to.
It takes a long time, though. We’ve been building our audience and our traffic for more than a decade. When we started we had just a few hundred followers, now we have a few hundred thousand.
Todd: Do you use any automation tools that you wish you knew about when you first started (like socialoomph for automatically sending tweets etc)?
David: Absolutely not. I think that’s a nasty, spammy way to try to attract an audience. Be undeniably interesting and the rest will follow.
Todd: Okay, I call this “What’s under the hood?”. What are the five tools you use most?
David: Basecamp, Backpack, and Campfire. We have a home-grown blogging system and use Google Analytics for web stats.
Todd: Do you use any Automation tools?
David: Hell no.
Todd: What advice would you give to new business entrepreneurs looking to Blog online?
David: Write about something that you care about so much that you can’t help but be interesting.
Todd: Thank you David for taking the time to talk to me. Some great advice and obviously things have worked out very well for you!
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