Inspired? No home

Useless, absurd, must, need, appalled, just, infuriating, essential, etc.

I admire 37Signals for putting simplicity on the agenda. But they advocate their views too strongly and quite frankly some of their ideas are just ridiculous (which I have commented on before).

The latest post from their Signals vs. Noise blog is a collection of customer inquiries. Yes - they posted customer inquiries they did not like on their blog. I do agree with 37Signals that the listed inquiries are somewhat ignorant or just plain stupid to be honest. But first of all you do not publish customer inquiries on your website! Would you contact this company if you knew you could end up on their blog if you ask a (in their mind) a stupid question?

Most of all I think this shows the attitude 37Signals has to product development and their customers. It is not just about simlicity for 37Signals. It is about them and what features they want to spend time on implementing. In marketing this is something that is referred to as the ‘product concept’. This strategy was abandoned in the 1960s. Now we focus on customer needs and we take customer responses seriously into consideration. This is called the ‘marketing concept’.

I think 37Signals products are fine products for businesses who do not need extra features, and they have put the importance of simplicity on the agenda for many other software developers. I do agree that software is often too complex. But that does mean there is a need for many features. 37Signals have good products for a niche in the market. But they forget that the rest of the market has other needs than their simple lists and “feel-good” yellow fading techniques.

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Written on 12 April 2006.
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