Peter Marklund

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Tue March 07, 2006

Less is More - The 37Signals Mantra

I remember seeing a presentation by Jason Fried of 37Signals at Reboot in Copenhagen a couple of years ago. The presentation was about defensive web design and it was very professional and convincing. It seems now though, Jason has become not only an authority on web design but also on the general process of how to successfully build websites. I listened to Jason's interview at IT conversations a while back and it really impressed me. I felt like listening to the speech several times and write down all the important points that Jason is making. However, 37Signals beat me to that task and for only $19 you can have the Getting Real book which essentially covers and expands on the same philosophy and guidelines that are in the speech. The book notwithstanding, here are my own sketchy notes from the IT conversations interview:

Reduce mass. Physics tells us that the higher the mass of a moving object the more difficult it is to change its direction. Mass can be too many people, hardware, software lockin, and long term contracts. Ability to change is very important in any product development.

Embrace constraints. Examples of constraints are hardware, people, and money. Constraints is where creativity happens. Let people use the product and look for real patterns. Start with less and your more with be a lot more clear down the road. The initial release should be half the product. Everything is beta these days but its time to have confidence, public is public. Keep iterating and make what you have rock solid, bullet proof, and great

Getting real. Use few documents, specs and diagrams. Build top down - build the interface first.

Managing debt. Feel the hurt. The people who built the product should support it. Chefs become waiters once in a while.

Finding people. Look for people who are:

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