David Heinemeier Hansson: An Interview With A Real-World SuperLearner
Today we are joined by a real-life superhuman – a man who has risen to prominence in not just one, but two extremely competitive arenas.
David Heinemeier Hansson, better known as “DHH,” is a software developer, entrepreneur, and race-car driver from Denmark.
He’s most known for his company, Basecamp, and for creating the popular Ruby on Rails web development framework that has taken the world of web development by storm. In 2005, he was recognized as “Hacker of the Year” by Google and O’Reilly. He’s written a slew of books on software development, and 3 very popular books on building and managing software companies: Getting Real, Rework, and Remote.
If that weren’t enough, David has also had a meteoric rise to prominence in the world of auto-racing, climbing through the ranks and coming in among the top spots in what many would call record time.
In this episode, I wanted to deconstruct David’s thinking process and figure out how he learns so much so effectively. I wanted to understand how he has managed to be so successful in two entirely different worlds, and see what tips he had to offer to anyone looking to live a life as diverse as his.
We talk about how he manages his time, but more than that, we take a deep dive and deconstruct his entire learning methodology in depth, flow, habits, happiness, goals, and how David has spent decades deconstructing and analyzing his own performance from every possible angle.
Quite honestly, I can say without exaggeration that this is one of the absolute BEST episodes we’ve ever done.
If you agree, make sure to leave us a review, drop us a tweet, or reply in the comments below!
In this episode, we discuss:
- A brief summary of David Heinemeier Hansson's life & work up until this point
- How has DHH managed to balance so much with such success?
- How did DHH start work on Ruby on Rails and 37Signals with just 10 hours per week?
- The secrets behind David Heinemeier Hansson's time management skills
- Group chat as a replacement for email: friend or foe?
- How the heck does David Heinemeier Hansson learn? How has he learned so much so quickly?
- The story of how and why DHH invented Ruby on Rails by learning from the best code & coders in the world
- The story of how David Heinemeier Hansson learned (and began dominating) auto racing
- Which surprising resources did David use for learning resources, which you can access right now?
- What “uncomfortable” and painful situations did DHH find in his pursuit of accelerated learning?
- In what ways does David Heinemeier Hansson leverage the beginner's mindset and learn from others?
- What are the many commonalities between the SuperLearner methodology & DHH's learning toolkit?
- What other areas of learning has David applied his learning toolkit or “template” to?
- Is there spillover between the areas David Heinemeier Hansson learns in?
- In what ways are programming, business management, and race car driving similar?
- What does “developing an eye” for something mean, and how can you do it?
- What does David mean by “operating at 2Ghz” in a race car, and how is it different from how others operate?
- A discussion of the “flow” state, neural networks, and what DHH calls the “residue” of flow
- Does David Heinemeier Hansson read a lot? If so, what does he read?
- What are the skills, routines, and habits that help DHH perform at such a high level?
- How has Stoicism impacted DHH and improved his life and his productivity?
- What, if any, are David's next milestones or goals? What is he hoping to accomplish next?
- Why is David Heinemeier Hansson patently against having “goals?”
- How much happier is David today than he was decades ago living in a tiny apartment with no AC?
- Are there any major challenges that DHH is facing right now?
- What book or books have most impacted David Heinemeier Hansson's Life?
- Where can you reach out to David or learn more about him?
- What one takeaway would DHH hope for you to keep with you for the rest of your life?
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Basecamp, formerly 37Signals
- Ruby on Rails
- Books by David Heinemeier Hansson:
- Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
- Getting Things Done by David Allen
- (Our previous interview with David Allen)
- Jason Fried's article, “I've Never Had A Goal“
- David's favorite books:
- David Heinemeier Hansson on Twitter