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Article in today’s Chicago Tribune on 37signals’ CEO Office Hours.
Steve Johnson, the journalist – did a great job of writing that piece.
It was short, to the point, but also entertaining and provided great detail.
Great article and even better idea. Looks like your good ideas aren’t just limited to software design. I get inspired almost every time I read an article on this site.
It’s refreshing to see some positive business news for a change.
Keep up the good work!
Just another way that 37signals is leading the way. I’m tempted to call just to say hi.
you can call most companies with fewer than 20 or 30 employees and talk with the CEO. this is just window dressing.
When you first posted about this (in Announcing CEO Office Hours), you mentioned that you got the idea from Wesabe. However, they weren’t mentioned at all in this article. Is that the fault of the interviewer/editor?
Jake: I mentioned Wesabe to the reporter, but he chose to go with the professor angle instead. Limited column space and he probably figured more people would be able to relate to the professor angle. Makes sense.
JF: Great, glad to hear it. It’s too bad Wesabe couldn’t get their due in the article, but I understand why.
I know limited column space forces writers to reduce stories’ details and narrative arc to their bare bones, but it’s a shame that the Wesabe angle got dropped from it. I doubt that would have taken up more space than the “professors’ office hours” bit.
Webase could have had mention by eliminating the non sequitur nonsense about extravagant bonuses and the ‘populist’ approach.
Congrats! Thats some cool stuff!
Hey, thanks for sticking up for Wesabe, folks (I’m the CEO). I really don’t care if we get credit as long as the idea spreads. I’m really happy Jason is doing this and hope other CEOs will pick up the idea from him.
“I’ve always like that idea”
This really slapped my eyeballs.
In the trenches.. like it.
Congrats on the article – now let’s hope more companies pick this up!
Very well-written article on a great idea.
For anyone who sees this as mere “window dressing,” I would submit that a CEO who actually makes a weekly appointment to “meet” with his customers, fans, whomever…is providing more of a service than other CEOs who may or may not actually be “available” when you actually call. The assurance that Jason is there during certain hours provides a nice structure, by which you could prepare a discussion with him (so as not to waste your time or his). And so what if every other CEO can be reached…that doesn’t by default make his gesture and the planning behind it less valuable to those who take advantage of the opportunity he is creating.
Last-coming from an academic background-I very much like that the idea comes, in part at least, from the example of the college professor’s office hours. That image bespeaks a kind of personal attention which is all too lacking in our society. Furthermore, as our nation sways more and more away from a general reverence towards anything at all “academic” it is good to be reminded of a positive benefit that comes from the academic world (though of course I know it is not limited to just that world).
Thanks for sharing.
Now that your phone number has been printed in the Tribune, how many unnecessary phone calls have gone unanswered today?
My hat is off to you though; it is commendable that you are going to such lengths to stay in touch with your relatively large customer base.
I have a much smaller customer base and I have been available 24X7 by phone for my customers – they (almost) all have my mobile number and its rarely been an issue. During business hours, I have humans answering the phone to make sure everyone is greeted and supported by the best person available.
If someone calls and asks you for input on their business idea, then a year later decides to sue you for stealing the idea….. this article just made me think of that risk.
I enjoyed my short chat with Jason last week. We practice something similar at my company in that any individual member of our credit union may meet with the president.
Now: The creator of Vooza, "the Spinal Tap of startups." Previously: Employee #1 at 37signals and co-author of the books Rework and Getting Real.
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