I've been hearing quite a lot lately about the people at 37 Signals, whose web-applications (you may have heard of their Basecamp and Highrise products) are proving very popular with small business owners across the world. Jason Fried, one of the founding team, was interviewed on the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast recently and delighted me by praising a competitor and saying that he "liked to see others do well".
This prompted me to look a little harder at the 37 Signals offering (something produced by someone with an attitude like that has to have something going for it) and I was even more pleased to see on their website that 37 Signals aims "for the software sweetspot. Elegant, thoughtful products that do just what you need and nothing you don't". Digging a little further into the site, I came across a blog entry from Jason (see, I feel like I'm on first-name terms with the guy!) in which he describes some 'simple things I've seen this week that make me smile'. This just gets better and better.
Whilst a cynic might dismiss 37 Signals as hopelessly naive, I'm emboldened to try and get to grips with the software they're peddling. Usually, I feel as though the techies are laughing up the sleeves of their cool T-Shirts at hopelessly inept me. But not these people. It's great to see a brand-owner who's prepared to be so open and generous in his approach to the world. It's not surprising that the word-of-mouth on their offering is so positive. I'm sold.
(Oh, for the record: some of those things that made Jason smile included 'a shopkeeper sweeping the sidewalk in front of her store', 'a squirrel deftly de-shelling and devouring a peanut' and a 'handwritten letter'. For more, go directly to the 37 Signals Blog ).