It just doesn’t matter Jason 16 Feb 2006

192 comments Latest by r3n

Today I spent a lot of time fielding questions about why we did this or that with Campfire. Why we added certain things, why we left out others, why the UI looks like this and not like that, etc. It’s always a blast to interact with people who are genuinely curious (and not just there to bust balls).

My favorite answer to the “why?” question is always: “Because it just doesn’t matter.” I think that statement embodies what makes a product great. Figuring out what matters and leaving out the rest.

Some common questions:

“Why time stamps every 5 minutes? Why not time stamp every chat line?” Answer: It just doesn’t matter. How often do you need to track a conversation by the second or even the minute? Certainly not 95% of the time. 5 minute stamps are sufficient because anything more specific just doesn’t matter.

“Why don’t you allow bold or italic or colored formatting in the chats?” Answer: It just doesn’t matter. If you need to emphasize something use the trusty CAPS LOCK key or toss a few *’s around the word or phrase. Those solutions don’t require additional software, tech support, or have a learning curve. Besides, heavy formatting in a simple text-based chat just doesn’t matter.

“Why don’t you show the total number of people in the room at a given time?” Answer: It just doesn’t matter. Everyone’s name is listed so you know who’s there, but what difference does it make if there’s 12 or 16 people? If it doesn’t change your behavior then it just doesn’t matter.

Would these things be nice to have? Sure. Would they be great to have? Sure. Would they be cool to have? You bet. But do they really matter? Nope. And that’s why we left them out.

The best designers and the best programmers aren’t the ones with the best skills, or the nimblest fingers, or the ones who can rock and roll with photoshop or vim, they are the ones that can determine what just doesn’t matter. That’s where the real gains are made.

Most of the time you spend is wasted time on things that just don’t matter. If you can cut out the work and thinking that just doesn’t matter you’ll achieve productivity you’ve never imagined. It’s there if you just don’t pay attention to the things that don’t matter.

192 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Warren 17 Feb 06

You know that is your best Get Real statement yet

Have agreed and disagreed with the others but this one nails it for me.

Marcus 17 Feb 06

I agree! It makes desiging software so much less daunting too. The need to have EVERY feature is elminated by the need to have only the features that are important.

This is the philosophy that will get more software shipped and prevent it from sitting on the hard drives of developers who can’t put something out there until it has every bell and whistle imaginable.

Rabbit 17 Feb 06

I shall be posting this around our (1-room) office. :) (Prolly in my kitchen and bedroom, too, but don’t think I’m crazy!)

Willy Wonka 17 Feb 06

Jason - I feel like you overlooking one thing. So many of the comments are nothing but crap - draped in UI. Any half-ass UI designer looks at the product and sees the abundent good and potential usabiltiy flaws and wants to help address them (sincerely - not to simply bust on 37S). The problems you guys solved are huge. Honestly - don’t be surprised when your features show up on the next rev of Yahoo, Google, or MSN IMs.

Wanting features that have no need, is the UI ego at work. C’mon bro - if I asked you “why havn’t you solved world poverty” with this app., its not our concern.

TOTOALLY agree - so many of the little nit-pickers know deep down inside you guys some real awesome work here.

Willy Wonka 17 Feb 06

Jason - I feel like you overlooking one thing. So many of the comments are nothing but crap - draped in UI. Any half-ass UI designer looks at the product and sees the abundent good and potential usabiltiy flaws and wants to help address them (sincerely - not to simply bust on 37S). The problems you guys solved are huge. Honestly - don’t be surprised when your features show up on the next rev of Yahoo, Google, or MSN IMs.

Wanting features that have no need, is the UI ego at work. C’mon bro - if I asked you “why havn’t you solved world poverty” with this app., its not our concern.

TOTOALLY agree - so many of the little nit-pickers know deep down inside you guys some real awesome work here. And so many things don’t matter.

Mike McD 17 Feb 06

What to leave out is hard. Staying focused on what is NECESSARY takes incredible will power. You guys seem to have a great sense of what is NECESSARY and you consiously work hard at it. Congrats on the new product Release.

Nathan Rutman 17 Feb 06

The problem with the “it just doesn’t matter” mindset is that you run a high risk of confusing yourself with the audience, which I think is the #1 rule of design: you are not the audience. Therefore, what might not matter to you might matter to your user-base, and personally, I think giving the user flexibility is generally a good thing.

For instance, you say that no one needs timestamps for every chat line, and that five minute intervals tells you when someone said something. That’s true, but the great thing about more detailed timestamps is reference. If you’re referring back to previous chat, you can say, “see 2:33:05 PM” instead of copying/pasting the whole line, which makes it very easy to find a certain line of text. So therefore, your product is less valuable to me without that ability, and therefore you’ve made a judgment call on what is valuable to you, but not necessarily to me, who would be the one shelling out $$ every month for your service.

I think it’s a dangerous mentality, but perhaps that’s just me.

Javier Cabrera 17 Feb 06

Campfire is good. But I can understand why some people don’t like it, and why others thinks it’s over priced, over hyped.

Personally, (if you don’t know me, stop reading at this, because my opinion is worthless to you) I think campfire has potential. I think it can be something good; but I also think everyone were waiting for “the big next thing” like basecamp.

That’s why some of the guys posting here are so sad, because they wanted something more. They expected to be amazed, and they wasn’t even close to that. I like it. But of course, you know some people will never like 37signals products and others will love them as long as their exist.

Cheers
Javier Cabrera

JF 17 Feb 06

The problem with the “it just doesn’t matter” mindset is that you run a high risk of confusing yourself with the audience, which I think is the #1 rule of design: you are not the audience.

Our #1 rule: We are the audience. We build tools for ourselves. Then we put them out there for other people who think like us and appreciate what we appreciate. Luckily with the internet it’s easy to find millions of people just like us.

Andrew 17 Feb 06

Amen brother!

Brad 17 Feb 06

I think what you guys mean to say is “It Just Doesn’t Matter To Us.”

Which is fine. I guess it works for you guys. Good luck with Campfire.

Oliver Wagner 17 Feb 06

A good product is not perfect if you cannot add any more - it is perfect if you can´t take anything more out of it…

JF 17 Feb 06

Javier, we can’t keep all the people happy all the time. We never over promise and under deliver — we say what we’re going to deliver and we do. If people want more because they have fantasies in their head, well there’s nothing we can do about that.

It’s like the people who want Apple to release quad-processor powerbooks with 2 gigs of RAM for $995. Not going to happen.

And in regards to people not feeling good about Campfire, we’ve had more paying signups in the first day than any product we’ve ever released. So I think things are going well.

Deepak 17 Feb 06

Great post

I really like the “it just doesn’t matter” mentality, as long as what doesn’t matter has been validated by the end user, which is kind of where Nathan is coming from.

JF … now your post scares me. That rule might work in the short time and for the audience you currently cater to, I am not surprised it does, but long term, it seems to be one which can backfire. I love your products and would hope that doesn’t change, but remember in the end it is the end user who calls the shots, whatever you might think is the best way forward. Of course, since you guys seem to “get it” most of the time, things seem to work just fine.

nate 17 Feb 06

Nothing really matters…
Anyone can seeee…..
Nothing really matters….
Nothing really matters…. to me…..

(Any way the wind blows….)

Sorry, couldn’t help myself.

Amine 17 Feb 06

I agree, that’s your philosophy, and It applies not just to Campfire but to all your products, and that’s what makes your products different from others.
Congrats ..

Carl 17 Feb 06

What doesn’t matter to you… might matter to someone else.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

I love your products and would hope that doesn’t change, but remember in the end it is the end user who calls the shots

When the end user calls the shots we get nasty bloated software (See MS products). When companies with taste call the shots we get the iPod. I’ll bet on companies with taste to deliver the better goods any day.

nate 17 Feb 06

@Javier: you are amazed, you just don’t know it yet. Seriously.

I will probably never use Campfire, but I still recognize the fact that the problems it solves really are revolutionary. Not only that, but they’re solved in a ridiculously simple way, and I think many people won’t fully appreciate that until they’ve used it for a couple months and reflect on the difference.

Considering what a big part IM has come to play in business (well, mine anyway), I daresay this is bigger than Basecamp.

Chris S 17 Feb 06

Luckily with the internet it’s easy to find millions of people just like us.

Exactly. So many don’t get this part of it…and you know pretty quickly whether you’ve scratched an itch or not.

Javier Cabrera 17 Feb 06

JF. we can’t keep all the people happy all the time. We never over promise and under deliver

Who said that? I never say you over promise or under deliver, I just said some people feel that way because they are waiting something that will never comes.

Who can keep all their market happy? Jesus? nah, who? no one.

JF. And in regards to people not feeling good about Campfire, we’ve had more paying signups in the first day than any product we’ve ever released.

Well, congratulations, you are going fantastically good! Keep that way. I may be signing up as well.

Why I said you can’t keep everyone happy? Well, you seem to spend a lot of time answering the “I wanted more! why the blue color is blue, I want it green! you guys sucks! too much ego” kind of question. So I only wanted to contribute to the post saying “hey, you can’t keep all guys happy. Go for those you can keep happy”.

Anyway… Jason, take a drink or something. Congrats.

Alex Bunardzic 17 Feb 06

I like where this is going (gegedy!)

This is exactly why Rails matters. It helps us ignore things that don’t matter.

One bone to pick with you, Jason: I strongly disagree with you that factoids, such as total number of people presently inhabiting a chat room, or the most people ever recorded in a single chatroom, or the larges quantity of ice cream ever consumed while spending time in the Campfire chatroom, etc. could ever be deemed ‘nice to have’, ‘great to have’, ‘cool to have, and so on. These factoids are annoying, useless, they make media such as CNN look hideous and appaling.

Please stay clear of factoids!

brad 17 Feb 06

I think there are two key issues that a lot of people are missing about 37signals’ approach: 1) software and services in the context of people’s lives and 2) incremental cost and benefit.

On point number 1, the reason I think “simple” and “getting real” are attractive is because most people are too busy to learn how to use features. They want products and services that are quick, intuitive, and uncomplicated because in most cases they don’t have one or two or twenty hours available in their lives to learn how to use new stuff.

That said, feature bloat in and of itself isn’t necessarily bad. I use perhaps 1/100 of the features in Microsoft Word, but the program works fine for me. The fact that I don’t use most of its features doesn’t make it any less valuable a program for me, nor would I prefer a stripped-down wordprocessor because some of those features might come in handy once a year or two. So that “just doesn’t matter” either.

But where feature bloat does matter is in incremental cost and benefit. When you’re a small shop, I think you have to weigh the benefit of devoting staff time and energy responding to all the “nice to have” features that your customers are asking for. How many additional customers are you likely to get or retain if you add a timestamp to every chat entry instead of one every five minutes? And more important, what other more profitable and interesting opportunities are you delaying or losing by devoting your time and attention to adding those features?

Mike Swimm 17 Feb 06

I the past I have taken issue with the ‘less is more’ mantra but I agree wholeheartedly with this statement.

Steven Covey always talks about that if you don’t learn to say NO, you will never be able to say YES. Anyone who runs a small bootstrapped business lives by those rules. Otherwise you spread yourself too thin and lose any effectiveness and agility that you had.

Although I would still like an easier way to search the SvN archive :)

Noah Winecoff 17 Feb 06

woooo amen.

MT Heart 17 Feb 06

This is such an excellent point. All too many times we see developers (and some designers) go off in the weeds and down rabbit holes trying to force that “one more thing” into the product/app.

Leave the crap out - the UI is *supposed* to get out the way and let end users do what they need to do.

Like Alan Cooper says:

“No matter how beautiful, no matter how cool your interface, it would be better if there were less of it.”


Mat 17 Feb 06

Deepak -

I do not think that what the ‘signals are saying is contradictory to your point. The end user does call the shots. Rather than run focus groups or do expensive research to try to get into the head of some arbitrary user base, they have chosen a particular population as their target user—people like them. Seems to me there are an awful lot of us—as is evidenced by the dialogue here and the on-going success of their products—and the approach seems to be working for them.

Its not about ignoring the user’s needs and wants. Its about saying “We’re a group of internet professionals. We have certain needs that could be addressed by creating some software. There are a lot of other internet professionals out there like us. Let’s make software for them (which is us—yah know)” Certainly, if the ‘signals built software for… I dunno… nurses and doctors, then it wouldn’t make sense for them to call themselves the audience (unless DHH is moon-lighting as a surgeon somewhere unbeknownst to the huddled mass of SvN readers).

Interesting twist on the IM game fellas and a wonderful provactive post.

Scotty Allen 17 Feb 06

Well written thoughts Jason, and something I need to think a lot more about in the product I’m building.

I disagree with you that granular timestamps aren’t important though. They are important - in certain circumstances. Specifically, I believe that online chat has evolved enough as a communication means, that there is a certain amount of information conveyed in the rhythm of the conversation. The fact that two people are responding fast and furious, versus waiting 30 seconds or a minute between responses, says a lot that the words don’t say.

Right now, looking back at a transcript, the only way to get a hint about what the rhythm of the conversation was is to look at the timestamps. Even then it’s hard and unintuitive, but at least it’s possible. It seems to me like there should be a better way to get this information though, short of replaying the conversation as a sort of animation.

Alan De Keyrel 17 Feb 06

Here is one thing that does matter (to me).

- Some sort of window flashing or sound to notify me of a new message. I won’t live in this browser window all day long and I hope my employees don’t either.

Without that feature, the whole application gets a little less useful to my company. With it, we could probably do away with IM.

Since you’re famous for 30 day post-launch “upgrades”, it would be the one additional feature I’d make sure “mattered”.

JF 17 Feb 06

They are important - in certain circumstances

And there’s the rub. We design products for 90% of the time. We don’t care about the other 10%. It’s not a problem we want to solve. We want to solve the most common use cases and leave the complex use cases to someone else to solve.

Seth Thomas Rasmussen 17 Feb 06

Two concepts:

1) You can’t please all of the people all of the time.

More important than the first, however, is its companion:

2) The fool tries to please all of the people all of the time.

I am at a loss as to what is so hard to understand about this concept for some people. Don’t get me wrong, I have my personal problems with doubting myself and what-not because of worries about the opinions of others, but that doesn’t make it right just because it’s natural. We have a responsibility to challenge convention and evolve ourselves. Furthermore, a cursory glance at the world around one’s self and one’s experiences ought to confirm the validity of the two cocepts stated earlier. The converse perspective simply does not exist in reality. There is always dissent, which is a good thing, dare we forget.

This post smacks of common sense, and I like the cut of its jib. Good work on Campfire, says I.

Minimalism isn’t the new black. It is black.

Deepak 17 Feb 06

Matt

Good point and one reason for the success of 37Signals. There is a reason I am the only person in my group who uses backpack as heavily as I do. Others just don’t get the concept, so they are losing out on 4 other potential customers.

I am not an internet professional, but does 37Signals want to limit itself to that user group?

I am hoping the 37Signals approach succeeds, cause it actually rewards innovative thinking.

AndyToo 17 Feb 06

This is a long way from being rocket science, or innovative – however it is something that is easily forgotten.

I think it’s wrong to say ‘it doesn’t matter’. For me, it should be ‘it’s not important’. Some of the things you mentioned *do* matter. Obviously, this is subjective, so should be post-fixed with a ‘to us’ or ‘right now’.
Yes, ignore the fluff and only deliver what *you* consider important. In version one. Then deliver the fluff in subsequent releases if it doesn’t jeopardize more important features.

I have to say, your opinion smacks of irony for me. I use Tadalist, and does it really ‘matter’ to me that the page isn’t posted back ‘cos you’ve used some trendy Ajax? No. Yet it’s in there anyway. Often, the Ajax stuff actually hangs the browser, which I find a lot less user-friendly than a postback - at least you get some feedback during the page reload. So really, does using the flashy Ajax matter? Not to me.
Having said all that, I still think it’s a nice application and would use it, Ajax or not. In the case of Tadalist then, the flashy UI does matter. It makes it trendy and gets it noticed. But it doesn’t add a whole lot to the usability or feature set. Still, it made it on your list of ‘what matters’ for that project.

Really, do you always practice what you preach in this post?

Britt 17 Feb 06

That should also be a mantra for corporate communicators. We’re aware of how people are bombarded with too much information. Our job should be to cut out the clutter and get to the point.

Well said, Jason.

Michael Slade 17 Feb 06

The best designers and developers don’t tell their customers “It just doesn’t matter.” It may not matter to you but it may matter to a potential customers. Instead of telling them that their view is marginal and unimportant you might ask them why it is important to them.

JF 17 Feb 06

Michael we listen to what *everyone* has to say. That’s why we have these public forums. But listening and acting are two different things.

90% of everything we add to our products originates as a customer request, but the path from initial request to implementation is a long tough road. Only the strongest feature requests survive.

Lucas Carlson 17 Feb 06

Why have Campfire at all? It just doesn’t matter. The problem space is full of great solutions.

Todd Dominey 17 Feb 06

It’s the classic ‘law of diminishing returns’ — I get that. That said, I *do* think seeing the total number of people currently chatting matters. Why? Because there is a limitation on how many people can simultaneously chat. And unless there’s a numerical read-out, or some visual indicator of when that ceiling is hit, the administrator has *no idea* when the room is full.

Are administrators supposed to scroll through a tiny iframe and count, line by line, to see how many people are in the room before sending an invite to someone else to join? Is receiving an email from someone stating, “hey! I can’t login? What’s up” good usability?

mike 17 Feb 06

all these comments and no “meatballs” references?? bill murray would be rolling over in his grave if he were dead.

David Demaree 17 Feb 06

Lucas:

Why have Campfire at all? It just doesn’t matter. The problem space is full of great solutions.

Then go use one of those solutions. More power to you. 37s is NOT saying their solution is perfect for everyone unilaterally — they’re saying it works well for them, and making the informed guess that it’ll work well enough for others to justify releasing it as a product. They’re not trying to tell you to abandon your IRC or AIM or Yahoo or GTalk or Microsoft Office LiveMeeting Professional Web Edition for Campfire if you’re using that and it’s working for you.

Todd: I’m in total agreement that there should be a display of the number of active chatters somewhere so the admin(s) can monitor how close they are to the limit. I guess it’s not unreasonable to say that if you routinely need more than the 20 chatters on the Plus plan, you should consider upgrading to the Premium plan. But some people may have unpredictable needs, like a seminar or an unusally large client meeting.

JF 17 Feb 06

We will be adding a chatters count to the lobby because the limits are global based, not room based.

David Demaree 17 Feb 06

JF: Awesome news.

I do agree that knowing how many people are in a room isn’t a necessity…Ryan posted something in the comments yesterday about CF being based on trust and that people chatting in CF are likely people who work together or know each other in real life. It’s not like IRC where you just walk into a room full of strangers — you get to create rooms and invite people as needed, so that it’s not about how many people are there — it’s about making sure *the right* people are there.

It’s like a meeting in real life: it doesn’t matter if you have 17 people present if the 3 who need to be there aren’t there.

Seth @ Subimge 17 Feb 06

Jason, you’re on the slippery slope to adding # of people in the room…. :)

I think you’re starting find in time it DOES matter. It’s nice to get a sense of scope.

Congrats again on a nice app.

Rob Bazinet 17 Feb 06

This is is a common problem I face everyday with my company. As the technical lead on this project it is constant battling with upper management and marketing to determine feature set and those upper managers always THINK they know what a customer want but rarely steps back and decides what is really important or really matters.

victor 17 Feb 06

my impressions are these:

1. people usually ask for things they’re used to. IM software has accustomed us to detailed timestamps / _italic_ and *bold* text (people are used to them) and at the same time chatlogs full of probably unuseful timestamp-it-all / _different_ *fontstyles* text for the most (people can grow out of that given enough time)

2. one thing that i love from your software is that no matter what you did or not, and even why, i can usually find a way to use it to my advantage, covering a need i have without tinkering much with it. i have used a backpack account to have my open-source php gallery site (up in 20 min and highly editabe on-the-fly) and now campfire to have asinchronous conversations with my clients about ongoing projects (not really a chat, but a conversation). in my case (*just my case*) timestamps are not there? well, i guess it can be used for not-to-the-minute conversations, period. and after all, i’m getting things done, thanks to your software.

thanks and kudos again.

Jeff Stewart 17 Feb 06

This is a very poor way to approach design and a dangerous approach to product development. I’m a little disturbed by this.

scott brooks 17 Feb 06

Hey guys,

Great product …wish you success.

I have to tell you that keeping it simple is a hard thing to do. We are currently working on a project and it is really easy to start junking up a design to add functionality. or at least what you perceive as functionality.

Our goal was to keep the functionality to a maximun while not adding a button for every feature that we thought of …..sure they would have been cool but in the bigger picture not needed. I think allowing the users to dictate the v1.1 is a great strategy.

Please keep up the great thought provoking topics.

cheers

Scott

Ray Irving 17 Feb 06

I think it is a cracking post - keep drumming this stuff into me, I do forget sometimes!! (old habits die hard)

The way I look at this though is that Jason is NOT saying “we will NEVER do this stuff”. To me he is saying that we need to do only the important stuff if we are gonna get this product out of the door. A big difference and the right the way to go I reckon.

If enough people tell 37 signals that displaying the number of people in a room is really useful then they will do it. They will then tell you that they listen to user opinions and make you feel good about it. Nowt wrong with that.

Cheers

Ray

Baeck 17 Feb 06

I think we also need to remember that feature creep can be less of an issue in desktop software because the incremental cost of added features is small. One user running some extra code on a desktop doesn’t cost that much in terms of application storage or performance.

However, when you’re developing a web application, more features create more code, which takes more server resources and produces more mark-up that takes more bandwidth to push down to the user. A huge bundle of features would, therefore, result in slow-loading pages and then we’d all be on here complaining about the shoddy performance of the product.

Just my $0.02.

David Heinemeier Hansson 17 Feb 06

Jeff, considering that this approach has now resulted in 5 successful products that has been able to keep 37signals in business and growing, I’d say it might not be as dangerous or poor as it sounds. Of course, we could just be succeeding despite our approach to design, but I doubt we’ll ever be inclined to make that experiment.

That’s the rational response, another one might be that we simply love running with scissors! :)

Damien 17 Feb 06

Well, I’m taking the day off then as work just doesn’t matter. Thanks, David.

Benjamin R 17 Feb 06

Wow.

Do any of you guys @ 37s play music? Musicians? For surely such a beautiful statement is contained in the mind of an artist.

theCreator 17 Feb 06

The user count in the room does matter…. to me. The others, yeah, don’t matter.

Nick 17 Feb 06

Thanks so much for getting this philosophy out there. I feel like this is what I’m saying every day at work. Pretty soon, there’ll be a body of literature that I can point to when I’m trying to convince coworkers of the fact that, at some level, most every thing we do is arbitrary.

Jeff 17 Feb 06

That last time I saw a company acting this arrogant and condescending towards its users (and the world) was Razorfish back in 2000. I think we know how that shook down.

Soyuzno 17 Feb 06

Seth Thomas Rasmussen 17 Feb 06

Two concepts:

1) You can’t please all of the people all of the time.

More important than the first, however, is its companion:

2) The fool tries to please all of the people all of the time.

I agree with you, especially point 2. Everyone has differents perspective and we can’t accomodate all of them. If we’re trapped in those mindset, we can’t acomplish every project that we made and we can’t reach our goals.

The best solutions I guess we should stick to our plan and if there any suggestions or comments. we keep them all for the next updates.

Anyway, good luck with Campfire :).

pwb 17 Feb 06

I’d take it a step forward. Some of the examples you cite would make the product *worse*.

Gayle 17 Feb 06

Awesome.

I don’t have a need for Campfire, being one of those freelance folk bouncing around out there who does strictly independent work for strictly independent clients… but I think it’s a brilliant app, and I applaud both your standards and the way you stick to them.

Baeck 17 Feb 06

Jeff, I don’t see it as arrogance. I see it as a company not wanting to compromise its philosophy for the sake of a few extra sales. They are not so easily moved by, “Well, if you make it do X, then I’ll buy.” That’s the way it should be and they have the luxury of being in the financial position (apparently) where they don’t have to go after those single sales.

They’ve said before in other situations that if they hear the same feature requests over a longer period of time and from multiple people, that’s how they know that a new feature is needed. They don’t want to pile a bunch of features into their apps as a knee-jerk reaction. That’s how you end up with a bloated app that no one wants to use, save for the select few who want all of those features.

street 17 Feb 06

— insert ad nauseam icon here —

Don 17 Feb 06

I concur with the message, though I think one of your examples -does- matter, given some of the “why we are better than IM” enumerations. The persistence of the chats is great, but one top-five reason I can think I would go back and look at an archived chat is “Did we get Jim’s input on this?”

It I can’t tell who was in the room at a given time, I can’t be sure who had the chance to weigh in.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

It I can’t tell who was in the room at a given time, I can’t be sure who had the chance to weigh in.

uhhh you can do this.

dmr 17 Feb 06

It’s so funny to see people write about how they agree with the 37 philosophies but still think X obscure feature should be considered/included; I’m amazed really.

Far too many people in the fringe consider themselves mainstream. These products are about solving your own problems with a given set of simple tools. If you can’t solve the problem that way then these tools aren’t for you. Sure, there’s 10% of you that need (or think you need) complex solutions; stop creating noise on this blog about the 10%, it doesn’t matter to the 90% (the rest of us.) Move along, but at least realize you’re in the 10%.

Ok, so we’re at about 60% useless and annoying comments now.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

“the problems it solves really are revolutionary. “

Wow, just… wow. I find their philosophies at times revolutionary and more often refreshing, but there is no way that Campfire is in any way revolutionary. For Pete’s sake, they’ve admitted that is essentially a web version of IRC. And it’s not like there is a shortage of interesting chat solutions available. Stripping out some features you don’t think are needed on a product that is already easy to get for free, and charging a price for it does not make for a revolution.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

Stripping out some features you don’t think are needed on a product that is already easy to get for free, and charging a price for it does not make for a revolution.

I think the “revolution” (and I’ll agree that’s too strong a word) is the accessibility of the thing. It’s a web page. Not a IRC thing with IRC techie stuff, it’s just a web page and it just plain old works immediately.

Veracon 17 Feb 06

Why timestamps every five minutes? Answer: Because iChat does that.

Jordan 17 Feb 06

Great post.

I do think that you missed one important trick though.

Campfire should allow limited access to ‘members’. It does matter — particularly for business — that clients want to be ‘members’ but businesses don’t want all ‘members’ to access all of their meetings.

BIG thing that, [i]does[/i] matter, in the opinion of me and everyone I’ve spoken to about Campfire.

Great app though, in principal.

Rabbit 17 Feb 06

IRC sucks. *Once* have I been able to get into the #ruby-lang channel.

As Kathy Sierra says, the product itself isn’t important; it’s what I can do with the product that helps me kick ass that is important.

So to be clear, I kickass because Campfire let’s me chat with almost no effort on my part. And that makes me feel good. (Instead of feeling like a moron for not being able to figure out IRC — that’s a yucky feeling.)

Period. End of story.

Berndawg 17 Feb 06

I love this approach but what scares me about this is that the simplier it becomes the easier it can be ripped off in a weekend by a crafy coder with a RAD tool. Once the all the thinking is spelled out they change a few colors and they have some more money and my product is done. What then. Paranoid maybe but i see it all the time.

David Demaree 17 Feb 06

Berndawg:

Absolutely, you’re right, a good developer could open up a Rails project, rock some Ajax and build something very, very similar to Campfire.

BUT:
1) It would take hours/days of my time to set up and make client-ready, whereas Campfire is ready to go.

2) Will it scale? The sort of thing that your ‘crafty coder’ working in a RAD tool could come up with would feel creaky and start to break with even 1-2 users. Campfire scales to dozens for a single account, thousands for the entire system, and that’s on DAY ONE.

3) Your crafty coder probably charges $40/hour for contract work if he or she has low self-esteem and no business sense. More likely you’re talking about way more than that. Campfire will cost less to use over the course of a whole year than it will to hire that programmer for the first phase of development on a much inferior product.

4) Okay, let’s say you’re not hiring a coder — let’s say some noble soul mimics Campfire in an open source product. What kind of server are you going to run it on? Decent hosting capable of doing even a tenth of Campfire’s capability will cost at least as much as a basic Campfire plan. (And trust me, if you’re using this for getting real work done, you won’t want to run it along with your Dreamweaver-built websites on a $5/month shared server.) You can easily spend far more money to get something less than half as good.

pwb 17 Feb 06

I’d be interested to see if someone could cook up a Campfire-like system in PHP/MySQL that could be installed on a server. It wouldn’t need to be multi-user since each user would install their own, so I don’t think the scalability would be too difficult.

One thing I’m wondering is the acceptableness of grabbing Campfire’s JavaScript. I don’t see any copyrights anywhere/

David Demaree 17 Feb 06

…and I just realized that the “crafty coder” thing was more of a general thing than specific to Campfire, but I don’t think that changes my point: that a hosted solution (if it works for you) is a better value than one developed in-house.

That’s not just because 37signals is handling the programming, but also because I associate them with quality software. A 37signals app will work with all three major browsers and will be ready for my day to day business use on its first day of release — period. Can your coder deliver that?

Sam 17 Feb 06

One thing I’m wondering is the acceptableness of grabbing Campfire’s JavaScript. I don’t see any copyrights anywhere

that’s pretty ballsy to say on the blog of the company that put a lot of hard work into it.

Erik 17 Feb 06

I think this “it just doesn’t matter”-approach only works when you’re developing products you use yourself as well. And that’s exactly what 37signals is doing. So thumbs up!

Blair Kincaide 17 Feb 06

Simplicity has it’s own challenges - a wheelbarrow is a wheelbarrow. There is little room for difference. Instead, what seperates them is the integrity of one product from another. I harbor no loyalty for one wheelbarrow over another and will most likely migrate to the one that has the most product integrity.

JF 17 Feb 06

From the terms of service: “You may not reverse engineer or reuse source code that is in public view. This includes any and all javascript. The code is copyright 37signals.”

You can not take the javascript. We’re adding a notice to the top of the code as well.

Darrel 17 Feb 06

Once in a while I agree with 37sig 100%. ;o)

TheShipster 17 Feb 06

I tried reading everything to see if this was already posted but it proved too laborious…sorry…

Not sure if you got this statement here, but “it just doen’t matter” came from the movie Stripes with Bill Murray, a classic.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

That code is not copyright 37s — it’s the http://prototype.conio.net/ library

JF 17 Feb 06

Coward, the javascript that powers the chat is 100% custom code.

Sam Stephenson 17 Feb 06

campfire.js and application.js are copyright 37signals. All other .js files have their own copyright notices.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

You know that’s not true.

JF 17 Feb 06

Seeing that Sam is the guy behind prototype and the campfire chat code, I think he knows better than you.

Tracey 17 Feb 06

The Anon Trolling Coward is an idiot.

I don’t understand _why_ you guys are explaining _why_ you choose to made design decisions sometimes. People are always going to disagree and it becomes an instant argument.

Feedback from serious paying or future customers is always important, though.

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

Actually, the coward was partially right when Jason said:

Coward, the javascript that powers the chat is 100% custom code.

It’s not 100% custom. It’s utilizing functions from Prototype in quite a few places. There’s a great deal of custom work there, but it’s not 100% and seems to rely on Prototype for it’s base functionality.

Take a look at /javascripts/campfire.js and compare to Prototype.

But it’s awesome to see someone trying to copyright JS code. That really embraces the open nature of the web and gives a nod to all the past programmer’s whose work your developers studied to help teach themselfs. Well done!

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

Counting the number of people can be important for establishing quorum.

JF 17 Feb 06

Jack, first off, Sam, who works at 37signals, is the guy behind prototype which he happily created and gives away for free. He wrote prototype AND the campfire chat code so I think he’s probably the best person on earth to answer that question (which he did above).

And David, who is a partner at 37signals, also created the Ruby on Rails framework and gave that away too.

So you can cut it with the snide remarks about the “open nature of the web.”

Some of the stuff we do and open source and other bits are commercially copywrited.

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

Also not sure how you can copyright an entire page that includes code borrowed from other libraries. The MIT-license is fairly open, but you must include the copyright notices in the page somewhere.

You’ll need to fix a few of your files to be in compliance with the terms of the license.

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

Sorry Jason. Didn’t realize Sam was behind the JS code as well. My apologies for any insuating you guys were doing something wrong.

My snide remarks about copyrighting code on the web stands. I just don’t like the idea, no matter how many other projects you give away free.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

Jack how about you give the world something other than your opinion? Where’s the free work you’ve spent your career on?

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

I do client work-for-hire Coward, so I can’t very well give away those projects. I have contributed to open-source projects in the past, and never place copyrights on any work I’ve done.

So you’re free to steal whatever you want.

Sam Stephenson 17 Feb 06

Jack, I work for hire and I can’t give away that work either.

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

I guess I’m just at a loss as to who actually copyrights javascript code. It’s just javascript.

But touche’ Sam and Jason. Next time I’ll do a bit more research before I post.

Tracey 17 Feb 06

Another expert (of_nothing) down the tubes.

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

LOL. Sorry, I don’t read SVN that often or pay attention who does what over here.

Bill P 17 Feb 06

Let’s fall back to plain old common sense.

Discounting all other details, If someone says “No, please do not take it…” Isn’t that good enough?

Whether it’s a car, a donut, dish tv, software, whatever - does it really matter? Why even argue about it?

Besides, 37S has been plenty generous in the past with their knowledge, products, and tools (hello Rails). Most of us (including me) have been free Basecampers/Backpackers for almost 2 years now.

Food for thought.

Clarence Wooten 17 Feb 06

Now this is one heck-of-a post! Very useful… especially for those of us launching new products… and answering questions from those who are genuinely curious but don’t quite understand why everything but the kitchen sink can’t be added — especially if the user-experience is going to be intuitive

HairyPotter 17 Feb 06

reading that just didn’t matter

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

Bill P - it just goes against how the web was kinda built. Each programmer borrowing from one another, learning from each other.

While it’s a minor thing, it seems silly to me to obfuscate, copyright, or otherwise limit people learning from your code. While I doubt anyone would rip it whole heartidly, people are going to copy a function here or there and dissemble how it was built. While I wouldn’t support completely ripping a file, copyrighting a file and implying ownership of all it’s contents is a sign of anti-competetive behaviour that bothers me personally.

It’s worse when you consider that true pirates will rip the code anyway, ignoring your copyright. Earnestly interested programmers who are honest will avoid using bits from the file for fear of legal reprocussions.

Saying, “But I give away X for free” isn’t a defense to me personally.

It’s impressive, well-engineered work. Surely everyone could benefit from poking at it.

trust 17 Feb 06

Jack Shedd is a frequent user at http://www.yayhooray.com, he said he was going to build a message board because he was hatin’ on YH!s servers being slow for a while,

but him and his lover, RobRob didn’t get the job done, guess that’s because he’d prefer to call out companies that are rocking on the internet.

BackPack Rules. Thanks for the cool application.

pwb 17 Feb 06

I guess I’m just at a loss as to who actually copyrights javascript code.

If it’s at all substantive, I’d say it’s pretty common to copyright it. Which is why I was a bit surprised not to see a notice in the files or on the web pages. But, as Jason points out, the TOUs are clear on the matter.

As someone pointed out, 37s put in a lot of energy and know-how into the JavaScript. As has also been pointed out, 37s and affiliates make freely available a lot of tremendous stuff.

Tracey 17 Feb 06

@trust = nice one.

Doug 17 Feb 06

> You may not reverse engineer or reuse source code that is in public view.

JF, don’t read more into that than what it actually means. It means you can’t reverse engineer an exact copy of the program. It does not protect against classes/types of software. For example, Microsoft can’t go after Apple because they created their version (keynote) of Powerpoint. Nor could Microsoft go after Apple if they decided to make a spreadsheet program.

If you want to protect it, keep it secret or make it original enough that you can patent it. This doesn’t fall into either category.

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

According to Campfire’s terms of service, neat little projects like Harper’s Campfire bot are actually illegal.

Since he had to reverse engineer campfire code to make his bot possible. Interesting.

Chris D 17 Feb 06

Jack, just view source, learn what you want to learn. Fear not, the FBI will not tear down your door for doing so.

Oh, and coming back to smear some shit on someone else after taking heat for a comment is just sooo against the open nature of the web.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

I didn’t realize I was smearing anyone?

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

It’s the new bug/feature argument!

“Why does this feature only work half the time?”

“Because it just doesn’t matter if it works half the time or not!”

Anon 17 Feb 06

Wow. Dictating to your customers what is and isn’t important to them? That’s so wrong on so many levels. If there are technical reasons you elected to omit certain functions, that’s fine. But don’t dump it on your customers with the arrogant and WRONGHEADED rationalizations. Telling people to hit the caps lock as a substitute for style variants and colors is a joke, and a very bad one at that.

Bob the Troll 17 Feb 06

Anyone who says a JavaScript file powering an Ajax-style web application can’t/shouldn’t be/isn’t copyrighted is obviously someone who has never built one for money before. A client didn’t pay me to spend four hours today making sure their website wouldn’t break like a phone number in Internet Explorer just so you could use the code.

Tony 17 Feb 06

Let me explain something about copyright to some of the people here:

The minute you create it, you own it, and anyone who wants to make a copy of it has to get your permission. You aren’t required to register with the copyright office, or even to include a copyright notice on the work.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

Also, copyright has NOTHING to do with reverse engineering. It only protects the exact expression of an idea, song, story, drawing or piece of code. It’s your right to find another way to do the same thing.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

copying code is plagiarism just like copying someone’s writing is plagiarism. unless someone says you can copy it, you can’t.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

Hey anon, every company tells their customers what is important. That’s why products are different. What’s important to one person is not important to another person. If you don’t agree with what one company thinks is important then you find another product that’s more in line with your vision of importance.

Jack Shedd 17 Feb 06

Anyone who says a JavaScript file powering an Ajax-style web application can’t/shouldn’t be/isn’t copyrighted is obviously someone who has never built one for money before.

Or has built dozens and realizes how important it is to be able to stand on someone else’s shoulders.

Anonymous Coward 17 Feb 06

Jack do you support people plagiarizing writing too? When you take code without permission that is plagiarizing.

street 17 Feb 06

Hello, if you’ve read comments all the way down to this one. Then you my friend, seriously need to take “It Just Doesn’t Matter” to heart.

Elsie 17 Feb 06

I’m not sure how I feel about the time stamps (haven’t been in enough group chats), but I would argue that at least allowing someone to italicize would be useful as it helps to convey tone and meaning in the language. It’s true that you could just *star* for emphasis, but seeing the italic visual is less interpreting for one to have to do — someone sees the word emphasized rather than having to interpet stars as emphasis. Just as a UI thing, if you were able to do italics through a keyboard shortcut of Ctrl+I or Apple+I (like the OS shortcut) rather than having to use asterisks, then that would be even easier to use. Blurring the line between desktop apps and web apps is hot.

I’m anal about language, grammar, spelling, but it is good to keep it simple and not let the featuritis bug get you. Rock on for practicing and preaching that philosophy! I haven’t had the chance to check out Campfire yet — was tempted to enter your room when it was up, but I had projects to work on and was good. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to try it since I’m curious.

Anonymous Coward 18 Feb 06

The problem I see with the rationale of “we build these products for ourselves” is that you don’t allow for room to learn from your customer base.

And regarding those who mentioned the complexity of IRC, I haven’t seen anyone counter with the complexity of getting all of the same functionality (in a much nicer presentation IMO) from Skype. Trying to charge for chat with so many solutions available seems to me akin to trying to charge for email or IM. Who pays to communicate over the web these days?

eh 18 Feb 06

anyone too stupid to figure out how to use IRC has no business discussing anything relating to a business, i.e., participating in a group “business chat”. yes, if you can’t figure out how to use irc you’re a dumb muppet.

Mathew Patterson 18 Feb 06

Trying to charge for chat with so many solutions available seems to me akin to trying to charge for email or IM. Who pays to communicate over the web these days?

You must have missed the comments above from 37s…

we’ve had more paying signups in the first day than any product we’ve ever released.

RyanA 18 Feb 06

Very enlightening post JF. Thanks for giving us some further insight into your rationale.

I can’t wait for the next book. I’ll shelve it right next to ‘The Pragmatic Programmer’ :)

Phil S 18 Feb 06

You mean that being able to reverse a linked list isn’t the most important skill that a programmer can have?

Wonderful post. Thanks for writing it.

Fred 18 Feb 06

Good designers build what end users need, not what they want.

When all is said and done no one wants a camel when they need a horse.

JF 18 Feb 06

The problem I see with the rationale of “we build these products for ourselves” is that you don’t allow for room to learn from your customer base.

Someone isn’t paying attention and it’s not us. I’ll say for the 100th time — we’re always listening and 90%+ of all new features and enhancement we add to our products originate as customer requests.

Steven Moussawer 18 Feb 06

Guys, it’s a simple concept here. If you do not like 37Signals mentality, price, or products… don’t come in here bitchin’ about it. Leave, no one wants you here and 37S does not want to put up with your shit. They have plenty of people signing-up and paying for their products.

Mark Gallagher 18 Feb 06

A different way of saying “we build these products for ourselves” is to say we make design decisions based on what makes sense to us (the small team of designers) based on our experience. That experience includes a good sense of what the customers can use, what is good design and how to make something simple.

I would love to see 37signals continue to challenge the “user testing” community that thinks there is something sacred about the “process” of user testing. The fact is, this process can contribute to bad and overly complicated design - particularly in the design of new products.

In the launch of a new product, a very small team of good designers (sometimes one person) can make a great web product without a process of user testing. Of course, having a channel to capture user feedback in later stages of the project is good, but this can be a very simple process that does not require any “testing” or input from full-time user-experience experts.

Keep up the good work, 37s.

John Kopanas 18 Feb 06

I am just dying for the book already :-). I know, I know… it is coming!

dmr 18 Feb 06

I’m starting to think comments should be turned off again. Maybe only paying customers should be allowed to comment…

Count me in on that one. It’s getting way out of hand now. 6 months ago this post wouldn’t have generated more than 40-60 comments in the same time span.

Gary Boodhoo 18 Feb 06

Its important to remember that design/development is like an algebra of constraints. While users are clearly a significant part of that equation, they’re not the only part. Interactive media designers regularly fall into the trap of considering only the edge cases, when 90% of the problem lies elsewhere. Personally, I commend 37s on their “omissions” mentioned above. They’re not arbitrary, and in the big picture they don’t make a difference.

When I did videogame UI work, a recurring issue was the length of usernames in a fixed-width text field using variable width fonts. Much time was wasted considering the tragic case of a string of 16 uppercase W’s, and how this caused the username to overlap its boundary.

The reasonable solution (implemented the next year) was truncating a string if it got longer than a set pixel width, however at the time production didn’t want this. Bizarre solutions were considered, such as prepopulating the namespace and disallowing the 16W name or making the font smaller. In the end, it was determined that it didn’t matter (we’d also run out of time). We were the only users who ever entered that particular username. If in the real world the name string overlapped then so what? It didn’t affect gameplay. If the user was “upset” that his 16W name overlapped a text field on a single screen, he was free to choose another that didn’t.

Anonymous Coward 18 Feb 06

“Guys, it’s a simple concept here. If you do not like 37Signals mentality, price, or products… don’t come in here bitchin’ about it. Leave, no one wants you here and 37S does not want to put up with your shit. They have plenty of people signing-up and paying for their products.”

&

“Count me in on that one. It’s getting way out of hand now. 6 months ago this post wouldn’t have generated more than 40-60 comments in the same time span.”

I’m the AC who posted the bug/feature comment above. I like 37Signals, but I think this post is lame because Jason is saying he just basically dictates what customers want. On a small scale like Campfire that may work, but on a large scale it’s just ugly. What if Google said one day, “We’re taking all of the sites from Nigera out of our rankings, becuase it just doesn’t matter if you have them or not.” Of course it matter, to someone. Same thing with “italic” and *starred* text, etc.

That said, would you really rather I didn’t bring ideas like that in here? Would you really rather that these comment sections be a 37S masturbation party, where we all say “Oh yes, Jason, you’re so right, please give us more of your vast programming knowledge in small cynical yet witty segments!”

Because I would hope that isn’t what 37S wants for these sections. I’d hope they actually want discussion that makes them look at the world differently, just as they hope these posts make us do so.

Anonymous Coward 18 Feb 06

Ah, I made spelling errors, but you know what I meant :)

swati 18 Feb 06

[quote]
You know that is your best Get Real statement yet

Have agreed and disagreed with the others but this one nails it for me.
[/quote]

I couldn’t agree more.

dmr 18 Feb 06

AC, let’s relax. All this over italics? Maybe you could just rewrite your sentence.

The onus falls on us. 37 is saying, here’s your simple tool (a pencil, a hammer, a rope, a one-button mouse) now go solve your own problems. Make it work for you. Figure something out.

There’s a threshold and a reality to making a product. I trust that 37 does the best they can; as a paying customer they’ve proven it to me so far.

Aneesha 19 Feb 06

Its not so much what was left out of Campfire but was was put in….

Add files to a chat, live image previews, locked rooms and searchable transcripts. Features I’d prefer any day over making text bold and providing a count of users.

Great job guys.

JC 19 Feb 06

AC - the problem with things like formatted text is that while they may matter to some, they completely don’t matter to others. Suppose those others are the majority of the userbase, or the target audience. If adding them makes the app harder to use for those people, or takes away development time from a feature that is more generally useful to those people, then 37S has done the wrong thing for its most of its users, even if a few users are disappointed. That is the point being made. You can’t please everybody, so you have to pick who to please. Adding features that people are going to use does add complexity for those users, even if they aren’t using those features.

sean coon 19 Feb 06

jason, thanks for translating the requirements of *elegant design* (reduction, simplicity, etc.) into the world of feature sets and usage scenarios. if more software was developed like this, the world would be much easier to use (and much more useful).

Kyle 19 Feb 06

This is probably one of the top 10 posts on SVN. Great stuff, Jason. I never really appreciated the whole ‘get real’ mentality until recently when I left a small company to move to a larger one. Fantastic post.

Scott 19 Feb 06

Ridiculous post. Just ridiculous. I’m a paying user of backpackit, and it concerns me that this is your attitude towards software development.

Shocking stuff.

Mike Rundle 19 Feb 06

I’ll go out on a limb and say that if you are bashing (bashing, not constructively criticizing, there’s a difference) 37s products here that JF and the guys probably wouldn’t want your money anyway :)

Andrew 19 Feb 06

People want to chat with business associates, and be able to click once and upload and share files. Timestamping and bold/italics really really don’t matter - thats why this product turned out so well.

Yes, other programs have timestamping and formatting, but they don’t let you share files and chat securely with business partners, with a minimum of fuss and fiddling, and thats the whole point of the exercise.

If the point was to provide a chat with as every feature somebody might want to use, then it would probably cost a whole lot more money, be harder to use, and would have taken much longer to write. I note that other companies have tried, and failed, in that market space.

Ken Rossi 19 Feb 06

I really think that anyone who is in here trying to say negative things about 37s has a few of issues

1 - You really can’t stand that you didn’t think of it
2 - You dont understand why they get it and you still don’t?
3 - Your ego is writing checks your body can’t cash (yes,topgun)
4 - Why are you broke?

JF can you email me about design your ride

Ben Carey 19 Feb 06

Great post! I completely agree that determining what doesn’t matter is usually the key to successfully delivering a product or solution. It’s amazing how the IT industry over-engineers damn near everything. It’s hard to move away from the non-essential or cool features, but the impact of focusing on simplicity and necessity is the most valuable asset a team can have.

Anonymous Coward 19 Feb 06

I’m a paying user of backpackit, and it concerns me that this is your attitude towards software development.

love it. you pay for the product because you like it and find it useful but you don’t like the ideas behind how it’s built. obviously you like those ideas because they churn out a product you like!

Rick James 19 Feb 06

It seems like the real problem is that many, including myself, feel like 37signals has this “f*ck you” attitude towards their customers and people who try to give constructive feedback.

Eric 19 Feb 06

I read probably the first 100 comments so dont be mad if I repeat what someone else has already said.

I very much agree with Jason and 37signals terms of service in disallowing anyone to copy their javascript or other code. But I do question the part about reverse engineering. According to wikipedia, reverse engineering is legal unless their is a patent involved. When first using campfire one of the first things I did was reverse engineer to a small degree. I just wanted to know how it worked because I thought it was neat. Now, I have no plans at all to build a similar product, but if I were, according to wikipedia, I would be within the bounds of the law. Ok thats all I really have to say about that whole argument, which really had nothing to do with the post.

On to the post. It was awesome. And extremely true. But some might take it the wrong way. I love apple, and apple products. One of the reasons that I do is their extreme attention to detail. When I discuss this with my friends, I usually point to a feature on my powerbook g4 that I love. When closed and sleeping, there is a small light on the opening mechanism that slowly pulses a soft white glow. Its meant to similate a slow breadth, like ones usually taken during sleep.

One of the reason I love 37signals products is their attention to detail. One feature that prominently displays this is in campfire. When scrolling the chat windows, there is a fade on the bottom of the chat most likely using a transparent png of some sort.

Ok where am I going with this. Oh yea, the “It just doesn’t matter” is dangerous in the wrong hands. While a toshiba employee would think a pulsating sleep light “just doesn’t matter” an apple employee would. And while a different software developer would think that a fading chat window “just doesnt matter” 37signals designers would.

So it comes to choice in attention. The things that “just dont matter” to toshiba are different then apple, and there in lies the difference. But why are they different? Because toshiba develops products for users. Users dont need or probably even WANT a pulsating light. Apple, on the other hand, has steve jobs, and we all know his fanatical approach to apple products. Apple engineers make products THEY want to use, because they most likely came from a passion of past apple products and are just continuing their love affair.

So, in conclusion, 37signals can get away with the “it just doesnt matter” mentality because the areas which DO matter to them are selected correctly for most users needs and wants, including their own.

I really dont know if any of this made sense, but to me it does, and thats all that really matters, but “it just doesnt matter” if anyone else gets it ;)

Eric 19 Feb 06

A couple of additions to the last post.

1. I have had 4 pabst blue ribbons in the last 2 hours so my grammer is probably lacking in some areas.

2. Im not a 37signals “fanboy” but I am a paying user of backpack and think its a pretty sweet product.

JF 19 Feb 06

It seems like the real problem is that many, including myself, feel like 37signals has this “f*ck you” attitude towards their customers and people who try to give constructive feedback.

I’ve said it twice in this thread and I guess I’ll have to say it a third time for those not listening (and they say WE don’t listen!).

90% of all feature requests we add to our products originate as customer requests. We’re always listening and learning from our customers, but we also have our own opinions as well. We mix ours with theirs and then made decisions.

Rick J. 19 Feb 06

90% of all feature requests we add to our products originate as customer requests. We’re always listening and learning from our customers, but we also have our own opinions as well. We mix ours with theirs and then made decisions.

[ JF ] I understand your argument. But what it doesn’t mention is all of those people who in good will give feedback whose ideas are not implemented.

It’s completely understandable that 37signals does implement everything, since it’s impossible to keep everyone happy. What people get upset about is HOW 37signals responds to those individuals.

Typically and unfortunately, 37signals comes across as sounding like “well, that’s a stupid idea - if you don’t like our product, don’t use it”. It would be HUGELY beneficial if 37signals simply answered with “THANK YOU for you ideas. We’ll take a look into your request but at this time, we don’t currently plan to implement it. Thanks again!”

I am not trying to argue with you. I am simply trying to help you understand why many people are starting to have negative feelings towards 37signals.

Good luck in all of your business endeavors.

Rabbit 19 Feb 06

I understand your argument. But what it doesn’t mention is all of those people who in good will give feedback whose ideas are not implemented.

LOL HAHAHA! Sounds like life to me, buddy. You don’t always get what you want. Simple as that. =P

JF 19 Feb 06

I understand your argument. But what it doesn’t mention is all of those people who in good will give feedback whose ideas are not implemented.

Certainly there are good ideas that won’t be implemented. No doubt about it. We have good ideas we won’t implement either. But when you hear hundreds of ideas you have to pick and choose just the best of the best and the ones you think jive best with your vision.

I’d feel a lot worse about a company that shoehorned every last feature request into their product without a thought of the impact or how the added complexity might turn off more people that it attracts. I think we’ve all used those kitchen sink products. We don’t want to build one of those.

“THANK YOU for you ideas. We’ll take a look into your request but at this time, we don’t currently plan to implement it. Thanks again!”

In fact that is *exactly* how we respond when people send feature requests to us via email. Here’s our standard feature request response:

“Thanks for the feedback, it’s been noted. While we can’t guarantee that it will make it into a future version, we can promise you that we’ll review and consider it. -Jason”

I am simply trying to help you understand why many people are starting to have negative feelings towards 37signals.

To put it bluntly: If those people you speak of are unhappy with us because we don’t listen to them, they’re incorrect in their assumptions — we listen 24/7 via email, forums, chat, and this blog. And if those people are unhappy with us because we don’t add their feature requests immediately, well, frankly, those aren’t the types of customers we want to have. Reasonable people understand that requests are requests, not demands. And if these people aren’t reasonable then we’ll never make them happy anyway. There are plenty of other options out there for them.

We’re here to make our happy customers happy. We’re here to serve the people who like what we’re doing and agree with our vision and products. And two years and five products into it we think we’re doing alright.

For those that don’t like what we stand for and what we build, there are a zillion other options out there for them. We encourage them to find the right fit.

Rick J. 19 Feb 06

LOL HAHAHA! Sounds like life to me, buddy. You don’t always get what you want. Simple as that. =P

[ Rabbit ]: Did you read what I wrote directly after what you quoted.

Let me finish what you let out to quote from my original post.

“It’s completely understandable that 37signals does implement everything, since it’s impossible to keep everyone happy. What people get upset about is HOW 37signals responds to those individuals.”

Rabbit 20 Feb 06

Rick J. said: What people get upset about is HOW 37signals responds to those individuals.

I can understand that. But at the same time, I know how freaking whiny and annoying people can be, regardless of their intentions. This is MY perspective:

I build a product that is free forever, but you can pay $10/mo if you want some additional features. Some people are happy, they love it. Others want more features. Some make requests in respectable manner and cease to ask when I politely tell them no, this is the product I want to build and doing otherwise would make me unhappy.

Others continue to bitch and moan like effing children (adults are the worse), despite my CONTINUALLY telling them of my stance on feature requests. (JF’s repeated himself what, three times on this post alone?)

There’s a limit to how well a person’s patience and tact scales in those circumstances. In my case, I’d, as politely as possible, tell you to shutup and leave me alone.

I’m not saying that’s what 37S is doing - I’m saying that’s how I might possibly react. It’s a defense mechanism so I don’t go crazy.

There’s a point where I just don’t care anymore. If that offends you, look at Bush and his administration and I promise you whatever ill feelings you have toward me or my company will shy in comparison.

(We need some kind of social effort to standardize the way people are quoted. This shit gets confusing.)

Kevin 20 Feb 06

I think a lot of you missed the point on this one completely. To read JF’s post literally someone who doesn’t know or want to know any better might simply take it to mean, if you want something that’s not there, go screw yourself and find someone else to complain to. In reality it means just the opposite. How many of us are developers, raise your hands. Me included. If a client asks you to develop an app for a specific task, let’s say group chat, and then continues to call and email with things like, “You know what would be nice, if we could add…” it would never get finished, or at least get sidetracked to the point where the project lost its focus and never returned. That’s all he’s saying. The rest of you seem to just like to waste people’s time. I mean, let’s get real here. 99% of us have in some way or another used a 37S idea in an app, UI, etc. They have made it better for everyone in this industy by bringing web-based apps to the forefront of the business world, let alone the marketing and media exposure they command. I have been following them since I was in college, and have recommended them to my co-worker for a UI rework and have come back again for another 37S UI for our new product. There is a reason for that. Very simply, they do good work, there’s no denying it. They come to the table with new ideas that work. I think everyone out there that has ‘personal problems’ with a company needs to sit back and think about the big picture. Where would you be without these ideas?

MoQ 20 Feb 06

I believe this is what happens when the very ideologies and notions that govern your practices backfire in unexpected ways. Understanding and acwknowleging your customers is extremely important as I’m sure JF and gang do, however when topics like these spin out of controlling there has to be an underlying problem. Business are dynamic by nature they evolve and change over time, JF and gang have to be willing to set there policies (and egos) aside to cope with this ever changing venture. The same ideas that worked 14months ago might not work today, and those of today might not be relevant tomorrow. I personally dont think its about 37signals attitude towards others or the way they treat their customers that is the issue. I believe that its 37signals them self. They’ve built and grown around an image of simplicity and uncluttered software, adding more features and requests would hypocrisize their stand and their very marketing concept. There are no business on earth that has remained static and survived. Im sure JF is concerned.

Just my take on the issue…

Matt 20 Feb 06

=========================================

Maybe now that 37signals is experiencing the frustration in keeping customers happy, and being very vocal about it, they can now appreciate what a excellent job Microsoft does at developing software!

=========================================

Eric 20 Feb 06

MoQ, you think that customers are going to stop wanting simplicity and ease of use in the future? JF is just saying that to keep with their Get Real philosophy they must say “it just doesnt matter” to many feature requests. That will never change with 37signals, and it wont hurt them.

JF 20 Feb 06

Matt, we’re not experience any frustrations keeping people happy. We keep our happy customers happy. Those are the customers we’re here for. The ones that don’t like our products or what we stand for are free to use one of the other many products out there.

We hold no hard feelings for anyone that doesn’t think our products are a good fit for them. What’s most important is that people find tools they like to use. If they are ours, fantastic, if they aren’t, that’s fine too.

David 20 Feb 06

Wow, I think half the people complaining missed the title of the blog at some point along the way… This blog isn’t “how to run a successful business”, it’s “signal vs. noise”. It’s not about how to create the most awesome application and get the most profit, it’s about how to design things in the real world that do the most things without getting in the user’s way. SVN principles really don’t allow for the upper and lower 5% of the bell curve, they just fill the needs of the middle bulge of users.

I think it’s silly to attack Jason for showing the way one approaches signal vs. noise. In the end, the “features” he lists are indeed noise. Micromanagers who enjoy looking at useless statistics may want to know the exact time someone posts, or the number of users in the room. If you need to show someone a particular comment, then that isn’t accomplished by saying “look at the comment posted on Feb. 12 2006 05:16:01:003”, it’s by passing them a link anchored to that comment, which might even do something like highlight it for them.

Plus, it’s stupid to say they are against their users. Software is not built for ALL users, it’s built for the users you have. This is an application that fills a need. People that have that need will use this. People that need superaccurate timestamps from atomic clocks, the ability to add blinking bunny rabbits to posts, and perhaps do something like play a quick chess game can use traditional IM. People that need to get and share information as easily and quickly as possible can use this application.

Good software design isn’t all about keeping the number of buttons and links minimal. It’s also about keeping the functionality at a minimum. It provides for maintainable software, no spaghetti code, no dirty hacks, and keeps a new “feature” from completely destroying a part of your application that worked great since release. In the end, are the pretty features and multi-functional environment more important, or is providing a solid, maintainable application that fulfills a specific need the most important. Two schools of thought, and if you don’t like the latter than SvN is probably not the blog you should be reading.

robb 20 Feb 06

Hmm. I wish my bike was faster and had a police light. If I wrote the company that made it they would laugh at me. Would you think this was their fault? I bought the bike they made… it is my fault. Anyone with any experience in software use and purchases ought to know better than to buy something in hopes that it will do something that it doesn’t do now later on.

Or am I missing something?

I mean, I love campfire. I have no use for it, though. So it is a little depressing to not be able to use it, but what can you do? Blaming 37s for what people are blaming them for is akin in my mind to blaming AOL for not having any friends to IM with.

Rabbit 20 Feb 06

Robb, the first part of your post made almost no sense. But I dig this part:

Blaming 37s for what people are blaming them for is akin in my mind to blaming AOL for not having any friends to IM with.

It’s cynical and funny at the same time! =D

Mark D 20 Feb 06

Am I alone or would anyone else who visits this tiny corner of nano-nonsense rather use a good pen with a clean, crisp sheet of paper and your own handwriting – over a screen-based ta-da, writeboard or backpack?

Would you not rather use the embodyment of simplicity that is email followed by a telephone conversation with a fellow human being – over basecamp?

Would you not rather interact face-to-face over a glass of wine and some good food to discuss your clients upcoming project needs – over campfire?

My answer is a resounding yes, anyday of the week. It’s called civilised humanity.


Maybe I am alone, but i’m tiring of these so called “tools” that claim to make things simpler – according to the marketing hype. When in reality they make things more complex, more bloated and less justified – according to real world experience.

They (and i don’t just mean 37s products) profess to be the saviour of software, business and technology. When to me, they reduce the need for human interaction as it has been for thousands of years.

Am I missing something?

What is it with the need for technology to take over? It has to search faster, more accurately and in more places. It has to let us cross reference our contacts and show how many people are in a chat room. It has to allow us to sync all our other life-saving little apps together. It has to have bells, whistles and make me feel like it’s the future, now. And it has to happen fast.

So how did we ever cope before? I know these things claim to make our lives easier, but do they? I’m not convinced.


Take a step back – as Mr Fried said himself – it REALLY just doesn’t matter. No, really. Life is better when you leave the computer turned off, write or sketch a few pages of ideas, copy or whatever onto a piece of paper, make a few calls and maybe even meet a few people. There is life beyond the computer and the assault of pointless web applications. And it’s a better place.

It’s the way human beings have gone about life and business for hundreds, in some places thousands of years. And it works. Human intelligence and interaction is the most amazing thing. My fear is that this current trend of “technology as saviour” products, companies and evangelists reduce the value of – and in some cases eradicate – our age old ways. And that can’t be a good thing.

We’re not cyborgs yet, but seriously, the way things are heading, most people who subscribe to this current school of thought are heading that way.

Anonymous Coward 20 Feb 06

Mark D, who needs microwaves, normal ovens are just fine. Who even needs paper? Wasn’t parchment just fine? And who needs a pen? Wasn’t a piece of coal just fine? And who even needs telephones man! And who needs a cell phone! And…

Anonymous Coward 20 Feb 06

JF—for one who doesn’t think bold and italic matters, you used bold to try to get your point across. You should have used asterisks. I guess you’re in the 10% who needs bold.

JF 20 Feb 06

No I don’t think bold and italic matters for chat. If you want to stretch that to mean I don’t think bold or italic are appropriate in any scenario be my guest, but that’s your stretch, not mine. And it’s wrong.

Scott 20 Feb 06

“We hold no hard feelings for anyone that doesn’t think our products are a good fit for them. What’s most important is that people find tools they like to use. If they are ours, fantastic, if they aren’t, that’s fine too.” - JF

I just don’t understand this approach. I really, really don’t. I’m downgrading my backpack account after this month is over and I hope another service rolls around. I had no issue with your product until this post… why do you take such a brazen attitude towards product development? You’re driving away paying customers just because you want to be right about something that, to quote you, “just doesn’t matter”. Instead of saying that you don’t implement features because they don’t matter, why don’t you just not bring it up. And when people ask for it, why don’t you try to figure out a way to implement it? And if you can’t, then state your regret and back away from the issue. Your product is not sufficiently unique or superior to justify such a dismissive attitude towards your customers.

JF 20 Feb 06

And when people ask for it, why don’t you try to figure out a way to implement it?… Your product is not sufficiently unique or superior to justify such a dismissive attitude towards your customers.

I’ll say it yet again, 90% of all features we add to our products start as customer requests. But we don’t add everything they ask for and we don’t add everything we ask for either. If we did we’d have less customers than we have now and a bloated product to show for it. People come to our products to escape the bloated software they’re used to. They come to us for simple tools that get the simple job done. That’s our niche. That’s what we do.

Anonymous Coward 20 Feb 06

I think the meaning of this post has been taken wildly out of context.

“It just doesn’t matter” sounds like design philosophy. It sounds more like a mantra. It’s doesn’t sound like a shrug off a customers opinions or requests.

Something to keep in the back of your head while you make those hundreds of design decisions while you’re working out what you should and shouldn’t do.

Take a chill pill, dudes!

Mathew Patterson 20 Feb 06

I had no issue with your product until this post…

Scott - I don’t get it! The product which you were happy with before, which hasn’t changed, was produced using the methods this post is about

Clearly it was working, since you liked the outcomes. Are you saying you don’t like the methods they used to get there?

Jake Nickell 20 Feb 06

JF- The problem with this post is the phrase “It just doesn’t matter.” I completely agree with this idea but the phrase really does come off like people’s opinions don’t matter. Which is totally untrue as you’ve stated about a million times here in the comments. It’s unfortunate that people aren’t understanding that! o_O

Scott 20 Feb 06

To Matthew Patterson:

The problem is that we view web services and physical products very differently. When I buy a car, I buy it for its present characteristics and expect them to degrade over time. I don’t expect the car to suddenly have 100bhp the next day. However, web services are very different. In analyzing the merits of a web service, you don’t simply look at the present but also anticipate the future. Web services are not static - they are evolving products. In my mind, you pay a monthly fee to be part of the evolution.

Therefore, what I was originally satisfied with was a novel web service that I anticipated would continue to grow in a very specific way. I assumed a certain standard philosophy - one that was customer oriented. I think that in many ways Jake Nickell is right - I think that, to a certain extent, JF’s comments have been taken out of context. I believe that 37signals are, at their very core, a customer-oriented design company. Nevertheless, I was disappointed by his choice of words, and frustrated by his boorish stubbornness in defending those words.

All in all, backpack and other products designed by 37signals are still good products, and they will continue to be good products in the future. That’s part of the reason why I upgraded to a paying plan – I want to see companies like these succeed in the future. I want these services to be around for a long time. Sadly, this post has awakened me to darker subtleties of the design philosophy at 37signals, and I wholeheartedly disagree with them. Because of that, my ex post valuation of the product has changed. This is why I will no longer support their work.

I should clarify that I didn’t intend to be part of the debate that is going on here right now. I simply felt that this was an appropriate place to voice my concerns. I’m not the only person that was disappointed by the original post. In my mind, JF and 37signals have gained nothing by debating these issues. In my case, they have lost a customer. Even if they disagree with my reasons, maybe they’ll think twice about doing something like this in the future.

David Heinemeier Hansson 20 Feb 06

Scott, we’ll chalk up the loss of you as a customer as the price of running an honest shop which shares its approach to design, programming, and even customer service with the world every day.

Yes, perhaps we could have kept you as a customer if we had simply kept quiet with nodding and smiles. But I don’t believe in being part of a company that does that. It’s not in our fabric to be Yes Men.

Taking a stand is not free, but its the price of admission for being who we are.

Anonymous Coward 20 Feb 06

“Innovation comes from saying no to 1,000 things to make sure we don’t get on the wrong track or try to do too much. We’re always thinking about new markets we could enter, but it’s only by saying no that you can concentrate on the things that are really important.”

-Steve Jobs, CEO, Apple (from The Seed of Apple’s Innovation)

Steve 21 Feb 06

So you can cut it with the snide remarks about the “open nature of the web.”

Eaxctly, because his opinion means nothing. No, wait… he can have his opinion, can’t he? Guess not on this site…oh well

Opinions we like matter, opinions we don’t like get trolled or given comments like this in return.

Steve 21 Feb 06

DHH: But I don’t believe in being part of a company that does that. It’s not in our fabric to be Yes Men.

I made a comment on something similar to this in an earlier post. My basic premise was this: You will become ‘Yes Men’ when the customers start to demand it. When you start to lose enough customers over your comments and outspokenness, you will bend to suit. Don’t, and you will fail. It’s simple business logic. No customers = no profits = no more company. The customer, ultimately, will dictate your future. Not the other way around.

DHH: Scott, we’ll chalk up the loss of you as a customer as the price of running an honest shop which shares its approach to design, programming, and even customer service with the world every day.

I’d love to see the day when you say this to 1000 paying customers.

Ryan Ripley 21 Feb 06

Steve: I think the point is that they do not have 1000 customers that feel as you do which is why they can take the high road with their philosophies…

I’d much rather see an honest attempt at a quality as opposed to another M$ bloated app that I only use 10% of.

If you don’t like it, I think they have invited you to move on… No?

—Ryan

Anonymous Coward 21 Feb 06

BMW doesn’t create cars for everyone. Armani doesn’t create clothes for everyone. Bang and Olufsen doesn’t create electronics for everyone.

Why does 37signals need to create software for everyone? Why can’t they find their niche and make those people really happy like BMW, Armani, and B&O does?

David Heinemeier Hansson 21 Feb 06

Steve, our outspokenness, honesty, and stand was not introduced with this post. 37signals was founded in 1999 and has been delivering products for more than two years now. During all that time, we’ve had the same approach to sharing our thoughts.

Naturally, we believe that this is a big part of why we are here today. Yes, that approach some times means saying goodbye to customers like yourself, but far more often means saying hello to someone new.

So no, we’re not going to bend to suit you. In case you didn’t notice, your outrage over our position is not shared by all. We added hundreds of new customers to our products yesterday. I think we’re going to be alright. But thanks for the concerns!

Darrel 21 Feb 06

Some people believe in hoarding their IP. Some people believe in giving it all away. Some people believe in sitting somwehere in the middle.

As for the ‘it doesn’t matter’ comment, I don’t see that as being dismissive at all. It’s just a rewording of the request.

We all request things that, when pushed back at us even slightly, we realize truly don’t matter.

I do this all the time with home improvement projects. I’ll ponder how to approach a project WAY longer than I should, before it finally hits me that ‘it doesn’t matter’. Just pick a or b and do it. Whether I choose a or b really doesn’t matter.

On the web, to get a bit more specific, I find that a lot of features may matter greatly to the person requesting it. But, again, when pushed, often they’ll realize that it truly only matters to them, and then it becomes easier to understand why we may not prioritize that one request as much as others that truly do matter to a larger number of users.

Jack Shedd 21 Feb 06

I’m going to agree with Jake. Most of these comments originate from a commentary on the voice, not what it’s saying.

Anonymous Coward 21 Feb 06

I used to work on a web app with lots of features that didn’t matter. It was an app the I personally had no use for. It sucked the life out of me and I gave up on writing software.

Roben Kleene 21 Feb 06

As several people have pointed out, “it doesn’t really matter” can be expanded to “it doesn’t really matter to enough users” or in 37 Signals case, “it doesn’t really matter to the *right* users,” since,

JF: Our #1 rule: We are the audience. We build tools for ourselves. Then we put them out there for other people who think like us and appreciate what we appreciate.

But beyond that I didn’t see any posts talking about the fact that adding a feature to an interface actually decreases the value of the interface to all the users that don’t use that feature by adding complexity to the interface. I talk about this concept in more detail in my blog post called The Inherent Value of Simplicity

Sigh, the comments started out well, but then they again disintegrated into nitpicking over 37s’s choice of words (so much for the Cluetrain and transparency). In the spirit of the troll cap, I’ll suggest that a moderator be able to designate a post as “having more to do with the tone that the message was delivered in rather than the message itself,” if I was then giving the option to filter these comments out from the conversation, I would appreciate it.

tamimat 21 Feb 06

concerning the “it doesn’ t really matter thing”. last year i was in syria and stayed there at my relatives for 6 weeks. when i came back to germany i realised something: in syria they do not have any supermarktes. and i really didn’t miss one of the thousand products which are offered here you won’t find there. we really produce to much crap here. i think it is absolutly right to focus on the things that matter.

Steve 21 Feb 06

DHH: Yes, that approach some times means saying goodbye to customers like yourself

To be fair, I have never said that you lost me as a customer. I’m not so serious as to stop using a product that works because of a company attitude or any of their employees - unless they go too far.

My gripe is with the attitude rather then the way of thinking and, in my mind, one has nothing to do with the other. A person or company can air its views without doing so in a manner that appears the way it does from 37Signals.

You won’t change the way you voice your opinions, good for you. I won’t stop airing my views on things and opinions I don’t like. I will also continue to air my views on things I like and times when I do agree with you. If you lose me as a customer, it will be because the tools you offer no longer fit my needs.

Outrage seems a little strong. I’m not like others on SVN that hate or disagree with everything that is said here. However, when I have something to say, I would hope that you have the decency to let me say it without slapping a hat on it or immediately vilifying me for such actions.

Ryan Ripley: …which is why they can take the high road with their philosophies…If you don’t like it, I think they have invited you to move on… No?

Same comments apply above. Moving on is not an option. Why? The tools work. That does not mean that I have to like everything about 37signals or they way they do business.

I myself am not a ‘Yes Man’ and do not eat up everything that is spoon fed to me. I agree. I disagree, but I make my point. It seems a little odd to me, though, that people like it when 37Signals air their views and not when users/readers/customers of their products do so.

Mathew Patterson 21 Feb 06

It seems a little odd to me, though, that people like it when 37Signals air their views and not when users/readers/customers of their products do so

Sometimes that is true, and other times people just disagree with your views and want to debate them.

Chuck Dauer 21 Feb 06

I think I get it…

IT just doesn’t matter.

In this case it is not the customer it is the bloated nature of development without bounds, or constraints.

Steve 22 Feb 06

Mathew Patterson: Sometimes that is true, and other times people just disagree with your views and want to debate them.

Disagreeing is fine, but I think there is a big difference between debate and berate.

John 22 Feb 06

So, when are you gonna Get Real and release the book ? :)

The site says sometime this year - but it said that last year too. :p

Sammy 23 Feb 06

Tsk. All this bandying around of “it just doesn’t matter,” and nobody points out that this has already been said elsewhere. Whatever happened to not repeating yourself? ;)

(As to where it’s been said elsewhere: yagni, dude.)

э 05 Mar 06

-Why you’re didn’t your work?
-It just doesnt matter :))

Trejkaz 11 Mar 06

Sammy, for all we know this entire spiel came out of a helper function in their rails app, and thus would be perfectly DRY. Nobody ever said that a web site couldn’t say the same thing in two places. ;-)

roger 18 Mar 06

I’ve only had time to read 1/2 the posts so forgive me if this has been mentioned already.

About the # of people in room/lobby: from what I understand, the hard number itself isn’t that relevant. What’s relevant is how close to full the lobby is. Why not show it graphically:

Lobby is this full: [******* ]

r3n 20 Jun 06

Well said my good man.

Post a comment

(Basic HTML is allowed)

NOTE: We'd rather not moderate, but off-topic, blatantly inflammatory, or otherwise inappropriate or vapid comments may be removed. Repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. Let's add value. Thank you.