Well, I understand you…

Useless, absurd, must, need, appalled, just, infuriating, essential, etc. – Signal vs. Noise (by 37signals) is a favorite post for those appalled by 37signals hubris. Reading it again, some months later, they don’t seem tto be jerks so much. Merely startled by the language (and I’m not just talking spelling, here, folks) used by the irate customers.

There are two sides to every story, of course. I have been a 37signals detractor in the past and will probably be again in the future. That said, as we develop our product and get it into the world, and as I live through the B&A redesign fallout I find myself sometimes started by the contents of my email box. I think I will restrain myself from reprinting anything, but there is one important thing to recall:

PublicSquare is run by two people, both who “know better” as you like to say, but also both who are desperately fighting for the survivial of a company. Boxes and Arrows is a bunch of people, all who “know better” but who aren’t paid and typically work two hours a week on it (myself excepted– been doing 30 hours on B&A and 40 on PS. Thank god I work at home, or I wouldn’t recognize Amelie anymore.)

Every single hour we spend is a choice:
* build something we think is nifty
* build somethign that demos well
* fix something nonessential but broken
* fix somethign essential and broken
* build something essential to our stategy, but not to our revenue
* build something essential to our revenue, but not to our strategy
* build something we feel is morally “correct”
* build something that will save us time
* do customer support
* promote what we are doing
* respond to morons who think arial narrow is a crime against god
* work on ppt & excel stuff for investors
* play with baby (Lars and I both have babies within three months of each other)
* salvage marriage to increasingly disgruntled spouses
* consider yet another consultanting job so rent gets paid (and DON’T DO IT because FOCUS IS KING!)
* read up on legal stuff we should know or we’re gonna get creamed by IRS/INS/VC
* chase lawyer/accountant/etc who isn’t as worried about our business as we are
* dig up baby sitter so we can go to a networking event
* go to networking event
* write potential investors “Not dead yet! Doing more nifty things than ever!”
* do happy dance when investors write us back
* do happy dance when revenue shows up
* exercise so we don’t develop question-mark posture (see happy dance mentioned previously)
* check in with each other, since we are on different continents
* blog occasionally, to show signs of life
* promote features that keep us going, like the job board

* design revenue sharing program
* research legal stuff around revenue sharing program
* figure out how to track and do math aroung revenue sharing program
… and so it goes, and so it goes.

You have to choose! You can’t do everything, so you have to choose the things that take yoru farthest.

And while 37 signals is slightly larger than we are (okay, way the heck larger) I bet some days when a user says “But you HAVE to have localization” they just look at them and think, “Buddy, you have no frigging idea.”

some time later, having read all the posts, plus some trackbacks and commentary Okay, I don’t understand. I would have taken that post down and apologized. But it doesn’t matter, really, does it? People who hate the attitude will wait patiently until some wild-eyed fast-typing rails kid writes a copy-cat ap… that includes some of the desperately desired features.

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    Lawrence Krubner

    some time later, having read all the posts, plus some trackbacks and commentary Okay, I don’t understand. I would have taken that post down and apologized. But it doesn’t matter, really, does it?

    What trackbacks are you talking about? I feel like I’m missing part of this conversation.

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