Hugh MacLeod & Gapingvoid Culture Design

Slowly, Then All At Once

Michael de Groot - Blog
2 min readAug 13, 2020


“How did you go bankrupt?” Bill asked. “Two ways,” Mike said. “Gradually, then suddenly.” Ernest Hemingway’s “The Sun Also Rises”.

What Hemingway wrote about one of his book characters, Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress says about the future of remote work (“Distributed Work”, as he calls it).

“On the distributed front, the future of work has been arriving quickly. This week, a wave of companies representing over $800B in market capitalization announced they’re embracing distributed work beyond what’s required by the pandemic:

Coinbase is going remote-first.

Facebook wants to be “the most forward-leaning on remote work.”

Twitter has allowed permanent work-from-home.

Shopify is now a “digital by default” company.

Square has indefinitely extended remote work.

Spotify is allowing work-from-home through 2021.

Change happens slowly, then all at once.”

And since this article was published, it continues…

Google to Keep Employees Home Until Summer 2021

After Google, Facebook, and Twitter, Intel to allow employees to work from home until June 2021

Of course, a lot of the disruption that occurred to people we know was due to the kind of housing people had. Suddenly being told to work from home is a lot easier if you live in a big house in a leafy suburb, than if you rent say, a $3200/month, 800 sq ft sleeping cupboard in Manhattan.

And with all those newly-remote’d office workers fleeing the big city, what happens to all the service jobs that satellite them (waiters, bartenders, personal trainers, etc). And without those service jobs to gainfully employ the artists, actors, poets, aspiring filmmakers, and other bohemians, what happens to the arts? What happens to culture?

Matt’s contention (and many people agree with him) is that “Distributed Work” is the future, all the C-virus did is accelerate the inevitable.

Which is precisely what most big change does, after all. Plus ca change…