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.
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.