Roughly one-third of employees at Basecamp are quitting after the company instituted a 'controversial' ban on wokeness in the workplace, according to TechCrunch.
After CEO Jason Fried announced in a Monday blog post that employees would no longer be able to openly share their "societal and political discussions" at work, around 20 of the company's 60 employees simply couldn't handle minding their own business and focusing on what they were hired to do.
About one-third of Basecamp employees accepted buyouts today after a contentious all-hands meeting. I’m told more are coming.— Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) April 30, 2021
"Every discussion remotely related to politics, advocacy or society at large quickly spins away from pleasant," Fried wrote in the blog post. "You shouldn’t have to wonder if staying out of it means you’re complicit, or wading into it means you’re a target."
As an aside, here's Warren Buffett's opinion on workplace political views from today's Berkshire shareholder meeting:
"I don’t really like to get into political questions generally," adding that it wouldn't be his place to inject politics into the workplace. "I voted for Biden, but I never asked a single employee of ours who they voted for."
As TechCrunch notes, several employees took Twitter to express their outrage.
After 7 years, today is my last day at Basecamp. I plan on taking a little time off, but if anyone is looking for an iOS engineer, I would love to chat, my DMs are open.— Zach Waugh (@zachwaugh) April 30, 2021
I resigned today from my role as Head of Marketing at Basecamp due to recent changes and new policies.— Andy Didorosi (@ThatDetroitAndy) April 30, 2021
I'll be returning to entrepreneurship. My DMs are open if you'd like to talk or you can reach me at email@example.com
As a result of the recent changes at Basecamp, today is my last day at the company. I joined over 15 years ago as a junior programmer and I’ve been involved with nearly every product launch there since 2006.— Sam Stephenson (@sstephenson) April 30, 2021
More via TechCrunch:
The no-politics rule at Basecamp follows a similar stance that Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong staked out late last year. Armstrong also denounced debates around “causes or political candidates” arguing that such discussions distracted from the company’s core work. About 60 members of Coinbase’s 1,200 person staff took buyouts in light of the internal policy change — a ratio that makes the exodus at Basecamp look even more dramatic.
“If you’re in doubt as to whether your choice of forum or topic for a discussion is appropriate, please ask before posting,” Basecamp CTO David Heinemeier Hansson wrote in his own blog post, echoing Fried.
According to Platformer, Fried’s missive didn’t tell the whole story. Basecamp employees instead said the tension arose from internal conversations about the company itself and its commitment to DEI work, not free-floating arguments about political candidates. Fried’s blog post does mention one particular source of tension in a roundabout way, referencing an employee-led DEI initiative that would be disbanded.
“We make project management, team communication, and email software,” Fried wrote. “We are not a social impact company.”