Tag Archives: basecamp

No applause for retweets

DHH writes about how Basecamp is experimenting with removing their “applause” feature — the clap icon that Medium has also recently adopted:

But as I read through the replies from the few dozen people who answered the question on any given day, I was faced with the dilemma of the clap. If I applauded an update from Sam yesterday, but don’t today, does that mean I’m expressing discontent with the most recent work? If I don’t applaud for Javan on the same day as I applaud for Sam, does that mean I’m parting favor of one over the other?

The problem with these “just click a button instead of sending an actual reply” features is that they fool us into thinking we’ve done something meaningful by clicking. Anyone can click a Twitter heart button to show that they’ve noticed a tweet or enjoyed it. It takes very little effort and doesn’t mean much.

On Micro.blog, favorites are private. They are just for your own use, like bookmarks. We’ve found that the lack of public likes encourages people to reply to posts instead, even if it’s just a quick “Thanks!” or “That’s great!” or other comment. It’s a little more meaningful because it requires a bit of effort.

In an interview with Piers Morgan, Trump said something revealing when pressed on his retweets of a racist group:

Well, I know nothing about them. I did a retweet. You know, retweets… sometimes you do… retweets are very different. When you do your own tweeting, when you do your own social media, it’s fine. When you do those retweets, sometimes they can cause problems.

What Trump is trying to say is that retweets aren’t as important as a tweet you type yourself. Retweets encourage a sort of thoughtless approach to sharing.

We don’t like retweet counts or follower counts in the UI of Micro.blog, because it’s another place for judgement — “this person must not be very interesting if they have so few followers” — instead of letting someone’s content speak for itself. Likes, claps, and retweets aren’t a substitute for a real conversation. We’ll eventually have some form of public reactions on Micro.blog, but we aren’t in any hurry to get there.

Getting good at making money

Justin Williams on the challenge of making Glassboard profitable:

“Making money is harder than it seems. Most people assume you put a product out and people instantly find and support it. The reality is that for most products, they first struggle to find an audience, and secondly struggle to find an audience that’s willing to pay.”

Justin’s blog post reminds me of something that Jason Fried of Basecamp wrote about. Getting good at making money is the same as getting good at anything: you have to practice.

37signals rebrands to Basecamp

I first blogged about 37signals a couple times back in 2002, and I’ve been a fan ever since. They had a huge influence on the way I approach design and the way I like to build products, not to mention a big impact on a whole new class of “software as a service” web apps.

The decision last week to go all-in on Basecamp left me puzzled. Daniel and I discussed this at length on Core Intuition. It’s one thing to focus all your efforts on a single product, but seems quite another to rename the whole company around it. I still feel that once you make that choice, your hands are tied from ever thinking big again, from ever wanting to grow beyond the scope of a single product. It’s like saying “our best product ideas are behind us”, and I know that’s not true for 37signals.

On the other hand, I’m sure 37signals understands their business better than I do. And maybe even big decisions are temporary anyway. I’m excited to see how it plays out in another year or two.

You can listen to Core Intuition episode 123 and let us know if we’re off base or not. Last week’s show also has more about choosing a product lineup, managing time, and thoughts on App.net’s Backer. Thanks to Smile’s PDFpen for sponsoring the podcast.