Hear insights and reactions from Adam Stacoviak and Jerod Santo as they break down the news of Microsoft’s acquisition of GitHub — from speculation to confirmation — including commentary from members of the developer community by way of Twitter and Slack.
Fastly – Our bandwidth partner. Fastly powers fast, secure, and scalable digital experiences. Move beyond your content delivery network to their powerful edge cloud platform. Learn more at fastly.com.
Linode – Our cloud server of choice. Deploy a fast, efficient, native SSD cloud server for only $5/month. Get 4 months free using the code
changelog2018. Start your server - head to linode.com/changelog
- Will Microsoft buy GitHub?
- Microsoft has been talking about buying GitHub, a startup at the center of the software world last valued at $2 billion
- A bright future for GitHub
- Microsoft to acquire GitHub for $7.5 billion
- Microsoft is buying GitHub for $7.5 billion
- 👋 Hello, GitHub
- Here’s the issue we posted to share our list of podcast episodes covering of the dramatic shift of Microsoft over the years.
- Congratulations GitHub on the acquisition by Microsoft
- Winners and Losers on YouTube
- The Four
- Scott Galloway (@profgalloway) on Twitter
- @masukomi’s tweet
- @dorkitude’s tweet
- @mjackson’s tweet
- @migueldeicaza’s tweet
- @kellabyte’s tweet
- @jasonfried’s tweet
- @dhh’s tweet
Play the audio to listen along while you enjoy the transcript. 🎧
[00:17] The best place to open is the question at the start of the weekend, which is on Friday we heard the news, “Will Microsoft buy GitHub?” and we went into the weekend kind of speculating whether that was actually true or false… Some pretty interesting parties reported this, so it seems like it’s close to true as it could be, like Business Insider, and then Bloomberg finally picked it up on Sunday, but…
The Verge… I mean, these are outlets that don’t tend to spread not true news yet. I don’t wanna say fake news…
Well, they were even reporting rumors, so… The Business Insider one on Friday afternoon was a report of people saying things that are going to happen, but there was no confirmation, so that one was very much rumor-ish.
And then, like you said, the Bloomberg one hit… I mean, Bloomberg is a pretty big news source. And as The Verge hit… And these were on Sunday, right? These were either Saturday or Sunday.
Bloomberg was on Sunday. Business Insider was the first to break it on Friday. This is like end-of-day Friday, too… Worst time for news, because like “Hey, I’m done. I’m gonna go do my weekend”, but no, it was time for news. I think at like 4:30 I logged the “Will Microsoft buy GitHub?” and linked to Business Insider, and called it a weekend; I was like “We’ll see.” Come Sunday…
And here it is… Yeah, Monday afternoon, and the deal is done.
Or at least pending regulatory review. The rumors were true. Whatever leaks were happening over the weekend were legit, and Microsoft has agreed to acquire GitHub for 7.5 billion dollars.
I think the important thing there too is – and I’m not sure how nuanced this is, but that’s in stock, in Microsoft’s stock. So that means it’s not a cash deal, right?
Well, those stocks are publicly traded, so they’re as good as cash in terms of you can immediately turn around and sell that stock…
Unless there’s like vesting, and stuff… I don’t know how these [unintelligible 00:02:20.02]
Right, there’s always some sort of details.
But yes, I think that’s definitely worth pointing out. The speed at which this happened - of course, on the outside it all looks very fast, because as we said, we heard the rumor on Friday, and then on Monday we have official announcements from both parties… Microsoft on their official blog, and then Chris Wanstrath, one of the co-founders and the CEO of GitHub, writing on GitHub’s blog, confirming both sides.
So this conversation here, this Spotlight we’re doing is to just share initial reactions… Both of these companies are a big part of our world, and this will have, like I said on Changelog News, broad, sweeping implications, and we’re just not sure what they are. Things are going to change, they could be better, they could be worse, and it’ll probably be both, in different directions, for different people, depending on where you are… But this is not a neutral - there’s gonna be ramifications. Developers are all reacting, and so we just wanted to share our reactions, and maybe even share some of the community’s reactions that we’ve been reading about.
There’s a couple different angles you can look at this, though… One, it’s a success story, right? Three fellas got together one time in a bar, decided on an idea, executed, it was a Rails app… This was a darling of a thing; it’s grown into something different, so the facets of which you can look at this are very varied, so to speak. You can take a look at this and say “Congrats Chris, and the rest of the team, for executing on an idea and coming out with 7.5 billion dollars of worth to somebody.”
[04:05] Then you look at it like “How is this gonna change the community? How is this gonna change the way open source communities organize and ship software… Primarily, a lot of that happens on GitHub, although it’s not the only place… It is the primary place, so when you mention open source, it’s sort of as like inherent that it’s on GitHub, for most of the part.
On one side, I remember sitting in the room with Chris and Tom in 2008, literally three months after they created GitHub, and they were just like very nonchalant… It was not at all the GitHub it is today.
I can remember sitting there and thinking like, this is the next big thing. Everybody knows it, but it wasn’t there yet. So on one side of my perspective, I’m like “Congrats. Huge congrats on this momentous occasion, this huge success.” From zero to 7.5 billion is not easy. And then also, at the same time, there’s a lot of questions of like “Where’s it gonna go? How is this gonna change things?”
Yeah, exactly. And from Chris’ perspective… Like I said, the pain on whether your happy or sad or mad or joyful - it kind of depends on who you are and where you’re at, and from Chris’ perspective specifically, and no doubt too the early holders of GitHub equity, it’s a huge win. And we know that Chris wanted to step down as CEO, as much as - was it August that it was announced? I mean, it’s been a while…
This is the second time, too. He had to step back into CEO, and this is the second time stepping down.
So this landing at Microsoft is not simply a cash deal from that perspective, it actually comes with it a CEO, a replacement for Chris, which is Nat Friedman, one of the co-founders of Xamarin, who’s been at Microsoft for a couple of years with – Miguel de Icaza came there when Xamarin was acquired, and now Nat will be moving into the CEO role–
400 million, right?
What’s that, the acquisition?
The Xamarin acquisition I believe was around 400 million.
Yeah, sounds right.
So that’s happening, and Nat has a good post up - which is kind of funny - on a GitHub Pages domain, called Hello, GitHub, which we’ll link up, but which you’ve all probably seen on Reddit, as these things are making waves through our community.
So that’s happening, from Chris’ perspective. From Microsoft’s perspective - what does this mean for Microsoft? We can talk about what it means for GitHub, and then we can talk about what it means for every day users like you and myself.
At some point I wanna speculate a little bit… So if we can’t talk about it now, let’s earmark the fact that, given that conversation we’ve had with Julia White at Build, I have this suspicion that their next move will be to open source it somehow…
To open source GitHub…
Yeah, like go to an open core model of some sort, too. Give the community what they have been asking for, which is – they open sourced so much, and I think GitHub had to hold their technology somewhat close to their vest to get to this point… But I think now - I’d personally like to see Microsoft follow through and just say “You know what? The platform is open source.” I feel like that would win a lot of favor for them and a lot of trust for them that they have open source in mind.
What do they have to lose? I guess 7.5 billion dollars in stock…? [laughter] That’s a lot of money.
Well, they already signed that away, so…
Yeah, there’s a lot of value there.
But consider all the developers that will leave just because of the Microsoft name… And you and I know, we’ve been tracking this story for several years on this change, that we began skeptically on this story, but over time you and I have both sort of like lightened up to the suspicion of Microsoft and see the insides, the leadership change, even the changes at the developer level, and we see VS Code be the darling in GitHub…
[08:14] And we talked to folks inside of VS Code about just the way that project is run - that’s super open source. And we see a lot of that change, and I just hope that others kind of give them a chance to at least state their case before they say they’re totally bad.
I agree with you that the – well, on both accounts, first of all; I think that open sourcing it would win a lot of street cred for them on the community’s behalf, and I also agree that we’ve seen this transition that by my best take is not a facade, is not a front, is not just marketing talk. It’s legitimate change from the top down, and from the bottom up as well; it’s kind of interesting.
But let’s talk about our initial reactions, and then we’ll talk about community reactions, because there have been both positive and negative community reactions… But I wanted to start with the way you felt, because when you wrote about it a little bit, even talking in our Slack - this fired up quite an interesting little conversation in our community Slack, as everybody has those initial reactions…
You seemed very optimistic about this long-term. Is that a fair assessment of the way you felt about it initially?
I’m positive, because that’s my nature. It’s not because – I think because of our history in the conversation of trusting or not trusting, and the evolution of Microsoft, and that shift, because of that (only because of that) can I be more comfortable… And I’m just naturally the kind of person to see the brighter side of things, and to at least give them a chance. Because if GitHub trusts them, and Chris, who started this, trusts them, and sees the leader that Satya is (the CEO of Microsoft) and Nat, and knowing that he understands what GitHub is, the responsibility it has as a business, and then the responsibility also as the epicenter of open source, I would imagine he would have those interests in mind.
And everybody may not agree with the direction he takes it, but I think he would hand it off - or have enough couth - to hand it off to the right kind of next leadership. He’s also looking at the next ten years, so he’s not just saying like “Okay, for the next 1-2 years Microsoft will manage this well.” No, he’s thinking for the next decade; what’s the next decade look like? To me, I just see some optimism there.
Mm-hm. Somewhat mixed bag of emotions… My first reaction was just surprise. And I wasn’t surprised for Microsoft’s side. It makes total sense from them. I call that shrewd business from them, right? That’s just a good move, in my opinion. I was surprised that GitHub would sell to Microsoft; not because of like the “evil empire” side of it, I just didn’t realize they were in such a state that we find out they’re having some revenue problems.
Now, I know they had some losses early on, but startups have losses all the time. So the revenue was happening. What was it - like 98 million in revenue in 2016, something like that… It seemed like, from the very start, GitHub had good financial ground. And we know they’ve had some ups and downs with regard to leadership, and they’ve had their problems there, and I knew that Chris was actively seeking a CEO replacement, but I guess it wasn’t top of my mind that it’s been a while and they haven’t found anybody yet… So in that regard, they’re fairly – I’ve heard it called “rudderless”, which I think is probably a little bit too harsh… But you know, searching for leadership replacement.
So because I wasn’t thinking about those things, I was just surprised that GitHub would sell. And the more I thought about it, and I’ve had – these are Friday afternoon feelings for me… But the question is “Will this happen?” I was thinking – it seemed like it was actually a rumor, but a pretty solid rumor, so I think it is actually going to happen, and I was mostly just surprised.
[12:12] Now, do I think it’s a net win or a net loss for the greater developer community? I don’t know, man… [laughs] I’m probably slightly less optimistic than you are, but not necessarily a doomsayer with this circumstance.
I’ll address that skepticism and rewind a little bit. I think totally having one of the Big Four - Big Four as noted by Scott Galloway: Microsoft, Google, Amazon… Who else? Who is the fourth?
Facebook. So all four of those are deeply investing into open source. GitHub is where “open source happens”, and one of those takes ownership of that place. Something’s gonna change, naturally. Hopefully, it stays a neutral ground, which is why I think everybody’s pushing for an independent GitHub. That makes sense, because you keep those four away from the control of it, which means that none of them have control, but now one of them does… So I can clearly say that your skepticism and your concerns are validated, and that makes sense to me. I totally get that. Something will change there.
Yeah, and I feel like most of it is my support for independent business. That’s where I feel like something’s been lost, where it’s like, this is consolidation of power, even if we think that’s benevolent power; if we think that that’s going to produce more value than it’s going to take, which is kind of like reminding me of our Zed Shaw conversation, but…
But for me it’s just like, there was an independent entity, and now that’s gone. That entity is not just any – like, it’s been a core center of our life for the last ten years… Our business life, at least.
So that’s like a little bit of the skepticism or the sadness. This actually resonates with what – I pulled a few tweets out, to get everybody’s reactions, and here’s one from a fella named Masukomi on Twitter… He says, “Now that it’s official, I have to admit - my emotional reaction is sadness. I don’t believe that Microsoft will screw up GitHub anytime soon, but at the same time I feel like the community has lost something. It was nice to have it be an independent company, but I get the reasoning.” That resonates with me. He’s not saying the sky is falling, but he does feel like there’s something lost there, specifically with the independence of GitHub,
You know, I think it remains to be seen, but it seems clear that change is coming. What that change is, we may not know. If they can promise to the other bigger players who may have concerns and stop using GitHub, which may change the ecosystem and social network that it has become for programmers and software developers and anybody making software, change is gonna happen, we’re just not sure how that change is gonna take place.
The other thing to consider is the viability of GitHub. You alluded to their revenue and run rate, and loss, and things like that… Obviously, they’re a business; it’s not just this happy place, free code gets hosted, and somehow magically it does. Bills get paid, money has to get made, it’s a business.
The next step for GitHub to become the GitHub that needs to be there for the next 10 years to keep that going needs to be a GitHub that can go through either, dare I say, an ICO or an IPO, right? ICOs are interesting new ways to fund things through cryptocurrencies; there’s been a lot of speculation around that… Or an ICO, which is not easy. Either of those are not easy. So you either get a new valuation, more funding just to keep trying to make more, or you eventually become a GitHub that competes with Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Facebook… Maybe not Facebook, because they don’t have cloud, but the other three do. So you start to compete with them. Do you wanna do that, or you do you wanna get bought by one of them? It’s a tough road.
[16:20] Yeah, it is. So sharing a little bit more of the community reaction… First of all, we should mention that there was GitLab – GitLab happened in the wake of this, which is I think a lot of the developer gut reactions… And the nice thing about Git is you can easily just Git push to a different remote – so we had a massive jump in GitLab in new repositories that happened over the weekend, with this rumor…
Yeah, imports from GitHub. So with any move like this, you have the people who are just going to jump ship… And I’m just happy that a) we use technology where it’s easy to jump ship; distributed version control makes that very easy… And b) that GitLab exists as an alternative. What if there was no BitBucket, there was no GitLab, there was no SourceForge… Right? SourceForge…
It’s not a place anymore. I mean, it’s still a thing, but…
[laughs] Okay… So I named the alternatives. But if GitLab hadn’t been formed, then there wouldn’t be anywhere to go… But do you feel like most of these people are over-reacting with the whole export, right when you hear the news?
You know, I mean, because of the ease of transition and move, I’d say yeah… I mean, why can that hurt, to wait and see? I think in life people can get and deserve second chances. I mean, obviously, that’s a sliding scale, of course, but I think for the most part Microsoft, as we’ve documented, has been working hard for years to reclaim their trust, to re-establish trust, to reconnect with developers, to make new inroads, to open source things… Miguel de Icaza mentioned it was like the crown jewel of Microsoft, .NET.
To me - sure, the skepticism there, the distrust is there from the old Microsoft, but leadership has changed. To me, I’d be like “Just wait and see.” Why create this whole stir? Sure, voice your opinion, blog about it, whatever, but does it need to be a mass exodus? I don’t think so. I think the community would be better served by patience. Patience to see how it will work out, “Can we trust them?” and if you can’t, then you do what you need to do. Then it makes more sense.
Yeah. So here’s another reaction… Well, I guess I stated kind of a sad reaction.
Let’s get a positive one.
Here is somebody who’s positive. That is Kyle Wild, aka @dorkitude on Twitter. This has 70 retweets at the time that I snapped it, so there’s some support for this sentiment. He says “As a developer and long-time GitHub user, I responded to the news that Microsoft has acquired GitHub with a sigh of relief. It was never totally certain the service would stay online forever, and now I believe it is.”
Yeah, definitely a lifeline. If you’ve wondered if GitHub is gonna survive, the answer now is yes. The other side of that is how, and in what capacity? Will its relationship with the community change?
Well, what do you think will happen with regard to that? I know it’s tough to read the tea leaves and tell the future, but… First of all, let me say they’ve communicated that GitHub will continue to operate independently, as a community, a platform and a business; GitHub will retain its product philosophy. These are bullet points from Nat Friedman’s post. So there’s very much a hands-off from the Microsoft side of this, aside from the fact that they did provide Nat, who is a Microsoft employee, as the CEO… So obviously, he’ll be highly involved. But they’re saying nothing changes for the most part, and part of me thinks “Great!” and the other part of me thinks “That’s what everybody says when they acquire something.”
[20:11] So… Yeah. Do you think there will be dramatic changes, or do you think it’ll be small changes over time? I mean, we can look at LinkedIn, we can look at the purchase of Minecraft, we can look at – I don’t know what other things Microsoft has done lately…
Skype? We use Skype every day… Sure, there’s a love/hate relationship with the handling of acquisitions by Microsoft. No one gets everything right. I think the play should go for a source of direction for this - back to Nat Friedman’s post… He ends it by saying “I’m not asking for your trust, but I’m committed to earning it. I can’t wait to help make the GitHub platform and community that’s special to all of us even greater.”
So for me, Nat somewhere alongside Miguel de Icaza to found Xamarin; obviously, they eventually sold that to Microsoft, but there’s some affinity there, obviously. They’re developers, he’s been developing since he was six; I didn’t even know that until this article. But there’s some trust I have there, like – you need a developer at helm of GitHub. You need somebody in touch, in the trenches, willing to get in the trenches with that community, because I think that’s what’s required.
You couldn’t just take a random executive or any CEO from any established corporation and just install them there. I think it needs to be a developer that has earned their way to that level of management, and I think Nat’s that person; he’s asking for the trust, he’s shown he can lead Xamarin, he’s done some interesting things with technology… To me, I feel like in every angle they’ve given a promise of like “We’ve got you. Don’t worry, I know you don’t understand what’s happening right now, but we’re gonna take care of this. This is gonna be right.”
Speaking of Miguel, he had a great tweet about this, which has like over 1,000 (when I snapped it). He said, “Satya looked at Microsoft’s bill from all the code that we host on GitHub and figured it would be cheaper to buy the company.” [laughter]
I don’t doubt that, because the same – in an unaired episode of the Changelog we asked a question to the VS Code team when they’ve talked about the recent integrations of GitHub Marketplace and (I think it’s) Visual Studio Team Services and things like that… I think even VS Code… There’s some sort of integration that happened there that we talked through. Oh, it was an integration with Azure… And it was like, okay, so I know that Marketplace has a 25% payment to GitHub for that transaction, so there’s a lot of money exchanging hands from Microsoft to them. It’s like, “Well, do we keep paying this bill, or just double it and buy them?” …or quadruple it – I don’t know how much money they’re paying. Obviously, it’s not billions, because [unintelligible 00:22:54.10]
7.5 billion is more than quadrupling it, I would expect, but yeah, I get the point.
They’re also in the future, too…. Like, Azure is not going anywhere. Their mantra of “Everything is a computer” - is that what it is?
The world is a computer.
The world is a computer. If you have that kind of mindset, it would be natural to wanna extinguish a potentially very large bill and just say “Hey, let’s make sure this thing lasts and lives, and install a developer CEO that can actually lead…” Because Chris stepped down. When I said “actually”, I didn’t mean it negatively. Chris desired to step down from the CEO role. They were looking for a new CEO for like the last six months, so some change needed to happen there, and there was really no – I can’t say no leadership, but in that particular role, the leadership wasn’t fully established because of this desire for a new CEO.
Right. And if I had to guess what we would see in terms of product changes in the short to medium term, I think you drilled it with Azure. I think this is a natural fit for tighter integrations with Azure. I think we’ll see more of the “Deploy to Azure” button type of things getting integrated into the product, and I think that’s a clear win for Microsoft, and I think it’s a loss for anybody else with a cloud. I think AWS, I think the Google Cloud platform - they both take a step back in terms of how tightly they can integrate with GitHub in that regard, because now Microsoft owns the keys to the source code kingdom.
[24:24] That’s another interesting point, too - if they own that key to the kingdom, so to speak, and while their terms of service may say they don’t look at your code, if you’re one of the four or anybody influential that cares if somebody else can see your code, you may be more leery… Where there was trust for GitHub to say “I’m not looking at your code. I have no compete with you, so what’s the point?” But if you’re AWS, or the Google Cloud platform…
Direct Microsoft competitors who are either paranoid, or perhaps not paranoid… This would require some illegal maneuvers on Microsoft’s behalf, I believe.
Oh, yeah… I mean, could you imagine that headline? “Microsoft sniffs code/steals AWS– “, I mean, whatever… That would be insane to see that kind of headline. Hopefully that never happens.
Here’s another community reaction - Kelly Summers (aka KellaByte), over 500 retweets: “Our industry is really whack. We trust some random startup with all of our source code, that could disappear anytime, and a company known to have a track record of supporting things for decades buys them out and now you all worry? Who else would you have liked to buy them?” She’s optimistic, but…
I like Kelly, she’s awesome.
Yeah, me too. She’s always got something interesting to say.
She’s got a great attitude towards – I just love her perspective on things. I’m glad she wrote that tweet.
So it brings up an interesting question, though - who else would you have liked to buy them? Would there be a better suitor, where you’d say “Well, I’m fine with it, but I would have been better if it was XYZ company”?
You know, in all honesty, since you turned me onto Scott Galloway and Winners & Losers, I’ve been watching that… As soon as one comes out, I’m watching it, so I feel like I’ve been schooled by Scott. So if Scott is a source of truth on this stuff, then I’m right, at least in my taking his direction, but if you look at who would be trustworthy of something that big, it would be one of the four… But you know, Amazon is big enough, Microsoft I think just passed them in terms of market cap… And Google - I mean, can I tell people how you log into Google Hangouts, and stuff like that? [laugh] I mean, you’re skeptic of them on the Hangouts stuff even, let alone code.
I’m skeptical of…
Well, I think it’s healthy, to a certain degree. I’m not crazy paranoid, but I do like to spread my data around a little bit. I just don’t wanna give Google all of my data; I feel like if I’m gonna have little silos, maybe somebody can’t put together a full profile on me, or something… Anyways. Yes, Google has a lot of our stuff, so this would be more of our stuff.
Yeah, I’m not sure I would trust Google with – I mean… I’m not sure I would trust Google with GitHub. If that was the headline, I’d be like “Oh, my gosh…” Microsoft, because they have been such an underdog, they’ve been earning it. As we’ve said with Julia White, they brought the code, they earned it, they came to the community, embraced it… They did things the right way, they played by the rules, in a lot of cases; not if you ask Zed Shaw - that conversation is gonna air soon… But that was after this, otherwise it would have been a different conversation, because there were some things that happened in that conversation. Had this happened, we would have been able to key into it a bit more, but…
You know, I think Microsoft, because they’ve been trying to earn it, to me is the best suitor of this, if there had to be one. If they couldn’t go through an IPO, or even an ICO, which both of those are lengthy processes, risky processes… You don’t know at your IPO if people are gonna pay your stock price; that’s not a sure win. It’s a long road, it’s a different kind of business; it’s not self or even VC-owned anymore now… It’s a way different regulated company.
[28:28] If you think about that - Chris and the rest of the leadership team may have actually protected GitHub from the chains that would have been forced on it by IPO-ing or going public… Which could be a different perspective maybe no one’s considering, like “What would GitHub be or how would it have to change if it went public?”
They’re regulated, right? A lot of regulation is involved.
Yeah, they would have to report more of their financials, they would have specific legal obligations to their stockholders, and to the SEC and other entities… But I’m not sure what else the implications are. Of course, they’re venture-backed, so they did have people that they were fighting for already in terms of the financials.
Speaking of venture-backed and the concerns of Microsoft and GitHub… Google Ventures invested 20 million last year into GitLab. So I’m not saying that GitLab is owned by them, but they’re certainly influenced by some investment there, at least their ventures wing and I’m not sure what the relationship – they’re not stating that’s true or untrue, I’m just saying that no one is immune to these Big Four. It’s called GV now for a reason probably, because Google Ventures maybe – I refer to them as Google Ventures, that’s what I know it as, but GV is what they go by now, because maybe they didn’t wanna be referred to as Google Ventures… I don’t know.
But they invested 20 million in GitLab, so… I mean, if you’re moving there, it could be – Sid and the rest of the team may five years down the road be worth 2,5 billion, 5,5 billion, or whatever, and be like… Google now buys them. Or that could be like six months from now, who knows? Given this move, that move is not an option. I did like what Sid said in the – and Sid, I have to applaud him too for getting that post out; he congratulated GitHub - which I think is in great taste - about this move.
No doubt a busy time for GitLab, as they did receive a windfall of new users through this move, so they were taking advantage of that, but like you said, they also took time to congratulate GitHub, and…
They did that first, too. That was the first thing they did. And that was even while it was still an unofficial announcement too, but I guess considering the sources, it was about as official as it can get… But that’s why it was taking a little while, and the title was “Congratulations, GitHub, on the acquisition by Microsoft.” What I wanted to point out there was just what he says - he says “What does the Microsoft acquisition mean for the industry?” It just means that developers (in his words) are the New Kingmakers and their influence within organizations is now growing along with that value, and just reassurance that this is a type of platform worth investing into.
DHH had something to say, as he always does…
Back in 2012, he wrote a tweet that said “I love the GitHub product to bits. We’re proud paying customers. I hope they figure out how to disarm the VC time bomb before it blows.” This was 2012 he said that, and then today he quote-tweeted that one, and updated it saying “GitHub’s time bomb has exploded right on time with the sale to Microsoft. Venture capitalists need their pound of flesh in one big lump. There’s no path for simply taking profits in that world; it’s all or nothing. Sad end to the independence of GitHub”, with a crying emoji face there.
Of course, he’s always been celebrating the independent companies, so it makes sense that he would have that angle at it.
[32:07] If I could peek into the books of GitHub, I wonder what were their biggest loss leaders. Where did the loss that was described in those articles, like 66 million in the first three quarters of 2016 – they lost a lot of money… Like, what was that loss? What attributed to that loss? Was it investment into SalesForce? Was it hiring new people? Was it investing into the community? Was it their conferences? Was it just the general loss of operations as it comes to hosting open source? Where did that loss come from? What do you think?
I would have to guess labor and customer acquisition, perhaps… And by that, I’m specifically speaking of enterprise sales, because GitHub’s already been very good at acquiring open source indies like us; they have the whole open source market. But their real bread and butter in terms of income is GitHub enterprise, those on-premise sales. So I think acquiring those customers is very expensive. That’s just my guess, I don’t know.
Just going back to DHH, I think he’s always said Basecamp is big enough, right? And whatever that “big enough” is subjective to their desires for big enough… And I think maybe his perspective is like, you know, the independence of GitHub - could they have gone another way? Maybe… To stay independent, to stay their own company… Only they know. I can only speculate on the choice they had to make. I’m sure it’s tough, for sure.
Well, while we’re on Basecamp, Jason Fried actually predicted this sale on Twitter back in February 2014. He said “Prediction - if GitHub ends up selling itself one day, Microsoft will be the buyer.” That’s a pretty solid prediction right there. That’s four years ago.
I’m gonna take some advice from Jason from now on. [laughter] [unintelligible 00:34:04.21]
I’ve always appreciated him, but I read that because I think somebody retweeted that… And I was like “I’m not following this guy on Twitter yet… I’m gonna follow him just based on that.” So I actually hit the Follow button for the first time on Jason Fried today.
I’m gonna follow some of his advice too, because that’s a pretty good prediction. Well, closing thoughts… We’ve been rambling on here for a bit, but there’s lots to say, and… Just even evolving opinions - as we talk about it and think about it more, I even just change the way I feel over time, so… Still very much initial reactions, but do you have anything further before we call it a conversation?
[34:44] Obviously, you’re gonna have the people that just up and leave. That’s gonna happen. But I would actually just encourage the community to just chill out and wait and see. What’s it gonna hurt? If the move is that easy, why create such a ruckus? Let’s give them a chance, let’s give them some support… We’ll share the list in the show notes to this, but we’ve got at least ten or more episodes for you to go and listen to to kind of see what we’ve seen, to have maybe our perspective… And maybe not Jerod’s, because he’s still speculative or skeptical, but…
I’d say just be patient. Always, yeah.
I would just encourage people to be a little patient, to give them a chance to make it right before they say they’re gonna make it wrong. And it may not be an independent GitHub – I’ll agree with DHH, that era is over. But does that mean that what GitHub was or could be is over?
Closing community reaction… React Podcast host Michael Jackson - he says “Honestly, it makes a ton of sense for Microsoft to buy GitHub. After this acquisition, Microsoft will control VS Code, TypeScript, Electron and GitHub. This puts them pretty much front and center of the modern development stack for a lot of people.” That’s true, whether you like it or not. When we’re talking about reserving judgment, and wait and see, and giving them maybe a little bit of the benefit of the doubt, some of this might be whether you like it or not… [laughs] It may be harder and harder to escape; you can’t just run to GitLab if you’re still dependent on all these tools that Microsoft is helming up. Just a thought.
It’s almost like saying “Is that black hole that bad?” Because if you’re gonna get sucked into it no matter what, resistance is futile.
[laughs] That’s right.
I hate to end note, though…
Resistance is futile!
I mean… If they control a lot of it, then… But if it’s for the betterment… That’s what remains to be seen. We will see. I will end by saying I remain optimistic; I wanna see the bright side, because that’s my nature. Given our exploration of Microsoft over the years, that’s how I can have that opinion. If we didn’t do that, I would probably be just as skeptical as everybody else. I would be like “Sky is falling”, all that good stuff, probably.
Our naysayers will say “That’s because you’ve been assimilated”, Adam.
Oh, boy… I’ve been brain-washed.
Resistance is futile, and you’ve been assimilated.
You give somebody a little peek behind the curtain, they start liking what’s back there…
We shall see.
Our transcripts are open source on GitHub. Improvements are welcome. 💚