December 2008 www.infotoday.com
37signals Rolls Out Focus on Publishing
(continued from page 17)
Simple Collaboration Solutions is not how the academic game is usually
played. Editors become editors of jour-
nals because of the prestige involved; it’s
by MARJI MCCLURE | us to build our own products, not something they won’t disclose. Why
to do our own thing the way would anyone want to be a secret editor?
ere’s a high-
that offers a variety
we thought it should be done,”
says Fried. “It’s frustrating
to not be able to implement
Some of the newer journal publishers
also purport to publish a collection of jour-
nals. But on their websites, the majority
of enterprise solutions so firms can col- something you think is right. of these titles are mere place holders with
laborate and manage any project. When you have a shot at notes such as “coming soon” (or even “con-
building your own thing and sider adding your content here”). Some-
doing your own thing and times these publications have editors and
FOUNDER taking the risk on yourself, an editorial board. But how will the arti-
37signals was founded in 1999. But it’s a lot more exciting and cles magically appear? It’s plain and sim-
the company was a web design firm, not rewarding.” ple: I consider this approach as editorial
the web-based project management and Since Basecamp was rolled irresponsibility that could even border on
collaboration software company it is to- out, 37signals has released professional misconduct.
day. In serving its clients’ design needs, five other products. The com- Basecamp, 37signals’ project management tool, enables users to create
online to-do lists.
37signals established a basic mantra pany also posts multimillion
that it still follows: Keep it simple. dollar revenues and profits,
Signing Up for Good Reasons
Founder Jason Fried says that he according to Fried. The com- Plenty of people sign up for these new
launched the company nearly 10 years pany has 12 employees—half startup editorial boards, and I am sure
ago because he wanted to work for him- of the work force is based they sign up for plenty of good reasons.
self. “The second reason was I felt most in Chicago (37signals’ head- OA is now “cool” these days, and some
of the web design at the time was exces- quarters), while the other em- people may feel they are genuinely help-
sive,” says Fried. “It was complicated and ployees are located through- ing the cause, even though they lack the
too fancy; and it wasn’t clean and clear. out the U.S., Canada, Spain, reputation, knowledge, and probably
So we set out to build a company that and Sweden. the commitment to make many of these
would focus on clean, clear, and simple projects succeed.
design; getting to the point quickly and
making things elegant. That was the idea
for the company back in 1999 and that’s Basecamp, the company’s
still the idea today.” flagship product, enables But it was
users to collaborate with team Users can easily share files with other users in Basecamp.