I think the twitter fight, and the general disagreement with this sentiment isn’t really that people disagree, it’s just that the initial conversation came across as always applicable. I do agree, particularly in tech startups, that the glorification of the always working mentality is pathetic…that said, my concern with you guys at Basecamp is that there are times, and those times may span months on end, that one may, for a variety of factors, need to put in obscene hours in order to achieve a specific outcome.
Additionally, there are times, and I’ve personally experienced them over several years, that those seemingly endless hours are incredibly rewarding. Not to use calculation of time as a medal, rather the personal satisfaction with a given outcome erased the concept of time…I have experienced this on numerous occasions in my professional life…particularly as a founder.
Bottom line, this discussion should never become ‘long hours are never justified’ vs ‘long hours are the only proof of quality’ argument.