Tom The Architect

Technology and other Interesting Stuff

Tag: 37signals

Book Review: Rework by Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson

I first heard of 37 Signals back in 2004, and found their approach to design very much aligned with my design ideals of simple, fast, and always available. At the time, I was interested in getting 37 Signals to do a one page redesign for a web site I was working on. It never happened, as they were transitioning from a consulting company to product company and were not interested. I had the chance to meet both Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson at the Web 2.0 Conference in 2005 and listen to Jason Fried’s talk about Less as a competitive advantage. Rework is just the logical extension of that talk. Being in the room and in the hallway after his talk, in the land of venture capital, there were skeptics to say the least. 37 Signals has been proving those skeptics wrong every day since.

Rework takes the same approach 37 Signals has taken with all the things they have created, focus on simplicity. The book in my mind is a collection of byproducts from their efforts to create a business. The idea for almost each essay can be found in the conversation they have been having with anyone who would listen. Just like the points Jason made in his talk Less Money, Less People, Less Time, Less Abstractions, Less Software, and More Constraints; Now packaged for More Convenience and as DHH would like to say More Profits.

The book is a fast read and having followed the 37 Signals conversation since 2004 it contains refinements and elaborations on many points. It is a great book and the ideas can be just as powerful to an individual as they are to a company.

I am not going to try and chop it up like a highlight reel, just read it for yourself its worth the effort.

Simple shifts

As the understanding of the web matures, new unique perspectives of the web are going drive innovation. In the beginning having the web was the driving force of innovation (The Bubble was a side effect), and by all measures that type of innovation is still going on today. Now after more than a decade of the web we are seeing innovation based on using the web in an unique and innovative ways.

Companies like SalesForce.com (CRM, business applications), Google (mail, chat, calendar, marketing and search) are delivering services via the web that were previous costly and difficult to manage. Companies like 37signals (Basecamp for Project management) and Zimbra are simplifying and bringing together information and applications in meaningful ways. More and more simple shifts in thinking about how the web can be used or generally how the network can be used are having profound effects on technology and the community of companies and people on and off the network.

Rails, Nice, very Nice!

I have been planning a personal project and have been thinking about development platforms. I thought about Java and it’s just a bit much, entertained the idea of .NET and it’s too Microsoft and then I looked at Rails. I am a big fan of 37signals and the applications they have built on Rails. So I started messing around and I’m finding Rails to be really well thought out. Ruby is a great language and provides all features I need to build my little project. Rails is very friendly from a development, testing and design perspective. If you need a good book on Rails try Agile Web Development with Rails by Dave Thomas and David Heinemeier Hansson with Leon Breedt, Mike Clark, Thomas Fuchs, and Andreas Schwarz.