First of all, I’m not interested in “crushing” anything. Not crushing the competition, not crushing my life. So I reject the entire premise.
Yet Basecamp is more popular than it’s ever been in the history of the product! We have more customers than we’ve ever had. More usage. More everything. AND IT’S PLENTY! I don’t desire anything more, what we have, the sustainable pace of which we’re growing is beyond bountiful.
I’ve made more money running Basecamp as a profitable business than I would ever need. There are no financial milestones left for me to clear to be happy (not that there ever really were).
What does make me happy, though, is to continue working on a wonderful business with 50-some amazing coworkers delivering a great product to customers at a fair price. Why does it need to be any more than that?
Customers come and go, of course. I’m happy to hear you’ve found a product that’s right for you. Every day we have people leaving Basecamp to go to another product that fits them better. And every day we have even more people signing up for or switching to Basecamp. That’s how it should be in a competitive market place! I have no desire for a monopoly.
As to Rails, I love working on it as much now as I did in 2003 when I started. How many “revolutions” do one man need to start to be fulfilled? I’m happy to have transitioned from a revolutionary to a governor. Rails is now able to help a whole new set of people, those not interested in cutting themselves on the bleeding edge, and that’s in many ways far more rewarding work than impressing the “What’s New Today?!” crowd. Certainly is for me!
As for workaholism, I think you set the bar very low when purported upside is simply “well, at least they’re not alcoholics or dead!”. There are much grander visions of a whole life and a whole human experience than “all work, all the time” for most people.
Besides, the crux of this article isn’t so much for the few who of genuine desire picks workaholism as their life mission, but for all those who get pushed into out of fear for displeasing their investors, their bosses, or anyone else who yield the power of them.