If you have a site delivering mostly static content, obviously use the bare minimum JS.
It's also important to remember you don't have to go all in. If your site is mostly static with a few highly interactive components, you don't need a SPA Webpack setup with a 50MB node_modules directory. Tools like VueJS can be dropped incrementally on a server rendered application, and you can "step up" in terms of libraries, common components and build process only as needed.
The React infrastructure ended up with more than 10000 lines of code, more bugs, and he spent at least twice the amount of time to deliver.
The main reason he failed, was that he over-engineered his solution.