Campfire: On deck from 37signals Jason 13 Dec 2005

117 comments Latest by z

Come closer and stay a while. Campfire is next from 37signals. And hey, there’s no email sign-up form and as usual there won’t be a beta. It’ll just drop. Stay tuned to this blog for the announcement.

117 comments so far (Jump to latest)

court3nay 13 Dec 05

you went and spoiled it by mentioning it….

rend 13 Dec 05

What is it?

Jason 14 Dec 05

An icecream maker - it’s bound to be good.

Rabbit 14 Dec 05

Sounds warm and cozy!

Anonymous Coward 14 Dec 05

storytelling site

frustrated 14 Dec 05

“Hey guys! Something’s coming, but we’re not going to tell you what it is or does, or when it’s coming.”

Brandon 14 Dec 05

Jason, is Campfire the CRM app that you guys have in the pipeline?

Mike Rundle 14 Dec 05

Maybe the analogy is, “gather round the Campfire, tell your stories, grow closer as a group?”

CRM style!

Jack 14 Dec 05

Is there a joke to make about peeing on someone’s campfire here?

joshua 14 Dec 05


You start at the basecamp, load up your backpack, and go for a hike. On the trail, you light a campfire to cook your meal and keep you warm at night.

I’m guessing Campfire will be a tool for cooking up, um, consumables.

J Johnson 14 Dec 05

There’s a Blazing Saddles reference to be made in here somewhere…

Steven Hambleton 14 Dec 05

If it a CRM can you please allow us to schedule CALLS. I have never kept an appointment to make a call. I just make a call and I want to know how long for and what was discussed.

Vitorio 14 Dec 05

Well, if it’s a CMS, it’s not in the domain name. doesn’t exist, but was registered to Jason and 37s in July.

Curious 14 Dec 05

Vitorio, how can you tell when someone registers a URL? How did you look it up by person, rather than by domain name?

Vitorio 14 Dec 05

I developed a Web 2.0, AJAX and RoR domain name linguistic analysis graphing app that I can also use as a web service. I send it a RESTful query like http://…/domainfinagle/37signals/campfire (company resource followed by product name subresource) and it takes lexical analyses of all the 37s pages, product names and URLs and hashes them into likely and grammatically probable domain names, and then looks them all up and returns the results.


Actually, I just thought up and checked domain name combinations until I found it. Most domain name whois queries will tell you the registrant, date of registration and expiration date, in this case: 37signals, Jason Fried; July 8, 2005; and July 8, 2006.

Brandon 14 Dec 05

Can’t wait to see it! Hopefully it’s the CRM but I’ll use just about anything 37S puts out… and if I don’t really have a use for it I’ll at least forward it to everyone I know.

Michael Daines 14 Dec 05

What about a tool for XP? Gather ‘round the campfire and tell your user stories to the next iteration.

adam 14 Dec 05

there�s no email sign-up form and as usual there won�t be a beta

Or a description of what you are hyping.


Tracey 14 Dec 05

After reading Brandon’s comment, the first thing that popped in my head was “How to create passionate users”

I can’t image what Campfire would be, maybe a story telling site as other commentors mentioned, who knows.

Since Basecamp was probably one of the most talked about web applications of 2005, are you guys gearing up for 2006 with other great app now that Rails has reached 1.0?

Let’s see it!

Drew Pickard 14 Dec 05

As I recall, the next apps that were up for 37s were a CRM app and a simple communications tool.

and 2 other apps that weren’t far enough along to mention.

So it’s one of the two!

Brent 14 Dec 05

How about this:
Campfire, a new online wiki—a welcoming place to sit around with your colleagues and share information, where everyone can contribute. Contrary to popular belief, Writeboard is not a wiki.

Anon 14 Dec 05 is also theirs- currently password protected. Another project, JF?

lumba 14 Dec 05

if Campfire was a girl, she’d be a cock tease…but since Campfire isn’t a girl and since we’re not gonna steal your idea (only assist in hyping it up more) why don’t you spill the beans already? i think users of your program deserve the inside scoop.

lumba 14 Dec 05

if Campfire was a girl, she’d be a cock tease…but since Campfire isn’t a girl and since we’re not gonna steal your idea (only assist in hyping it up more) why don’t you spill the beans already? i think users of your services deserve the inside scoop.

peter 14 Dec 05

well said lumba. Cock tease was exactly the word that sprang to mind. I can see it already, next S-N entry “How to use your customers to build up hype..for free”.

peter 14 Dec 05

well said lumba. Cock tease was exactly the word that sprang to mind. I can see it already, next S-N entry “How to use your customers to build up hype..for free..and why it might backfire”. You have a smart audience guys, don’t treat us like 3 year olds.

Steven Woods 14 Dec 05

It would make sense for it to be a CRM application, given the title (lets sit around a nice Campfire with our clients … ).

Got to agree with the cock tease comments though!


JonB 14 Dec 05

I’m guessing it’s some kind of blog tool with a clever CRM twist

harry 14 Dec 05

Is your “have we jumped the shark?” post still accepting comments? Because I would like to reference this post in a new comment over there. It would go something like:

Yes, you have jumped the shark bacause you do incredibly lame crap like this this.

Oh, and I am sure

It’ll just drop.

sounded cool when you wrote it, but doesn’t actually sound cool. sorry.

Marco 14 Dec 05

I have a title for your next post: Don’t over emphasize. It gets annoying quickly..

Steven M 14 Dec 05

You commentors are fucking annoying.

GWG 14 Dec 05

Wait wait wait, you folks enjoy 37s and their products because they’re different from everything else out there, but when they don’t do ‘marketing’ or ‘hype’ exactly like everyone else you take arms?

Just wait for whatever it is.

I’m going to doubt it’s a CMS since many CMS systems would need to be run on the user’s server much of the time and 37s focues on ASP model.

CRM makes sense, but I’m guessing that there is some sort of client/customer interaction that goes along with it. For example, each customer gets thier own ‘project blog’ to go along with their ‘file’. So instead of a basic list of contacts, you develop a lasting dialoge about the project and it’s evolution over time. Attract customers and retain them, as opposed to attracting and managing them.

Just a guess.

robb 14 Dec 05

I’m guessing a minimal presentation system… powerpoint goes 37sig. I’d personally be into it, I always loved wimpypoint.

Kesava Mallela 14 Dec 05

I wish your CRM application rocks the executive world and makes them understand that most of enterprise software is bloated for no reason.

Martin 14 Dec 05

CRM wasn’t built in a day, and neither was the enterprise.

That’s all I have to say about that.

joelfinkle 14 Dec 05

It’s a transportation system with ONLY TWO WHEELS!

Nick 14 Dec 05

GWG, no one is upset that they don’t “do marketing or hype like everyone else.” They’re upset because a post like this is nothign but hype. Jason just announced “Campfire is next from 37signals” but didn’t share what it does, when to expect it, etc.

When marketing lacks substance, that’s hype. I’m sure many of the people who have left negative comments will actually use or at least peruse whatever the heck the product is. What bothers them is that posts like this seem to reveal an arrogance at 37signals, at least on Jason’s part. And arrogance is not an attitude that customers appreciate.

Ryan 14 Dec 05

If you can’t guess from the hint in the title, it’s probably a commercialized version of The Deck, their in-house ad serving platform.

Built it for yourself and hope that you’re not that unique.

This is probably a good thing because I’ve heard that the interfaces on some of the leading ad serving platforms are absolute garbage.

Justin Reese 14 Dec 05

Yes, but hype on your own blog is, um, kinda what having your own blog is all about. “It’s coming soon, and it’ll be great” sucks on a billboard, but on a company homepage it fits right in.

Sheezus. I stopped watching MTV when I realized I was tuning in just to marvel at the banality of its shows. I also decided to stop watching all things that made me angry without providing any real knowledge (Fear Factor, Super Sweet 16, any VH1 “CelebReality” show, Ann Coultier, etc.). It seems like many people read SvN just because it stimulates feelings of anger or annoyance; why don’t you do yourselves a favor and stop “watching”? If Jason pisses you off that badly, find better things to do with your time than read his posts. I enjoy them.

Baeck 14 Dec 05

My problem with this announcement is that it does nothing to help me, the customer, prepare for the release of this service. If I knew what in the world Campfire DID, then I could start thinking about ways I could use it as a solution at my company. Simply saying that there’s a new product coming just means that I have to wait until AFTER IT’S RELEASED to decide whether or not I want to start making a spot for it in our tools line-up.

Brian Breslin 14 Dec 05

so any time-frame on when this is coming? i.e. 2035? next week? will this be demoed at the workshop in january?

JF 14 Dec 05

Wow… We’re just having a little fun here. Lighten up.

sj 14 Dec 05

It’s bizarre - here’s a team of immensely talented developers who also happen to be great at marketing. Godin does a similar thing with his blog - begins posting about a topic in vague terms, using analogies, etc. to preface the release of a new book and stimulate interest.

Programmers as a rule don’t have significant resouces to use for marketing. 37s has managed to generate significant word-of-mouth about their products, generate media exposure, etc. But it all started by using their company blog as a tool to promote their products. Whatever one thinks about the ‘style’ in which they promote new products, it’s extremely hard to argue with the results it generates in awareness, word-of-mouth and ultimate usage.

Which I imagine are much more important to Jason and team than our respective feelings about the relative vagueness or specificity of such posts.

If it is a CRM, I wonder how they plan on out-salesforcing SalesForce. It’s not the prettiest app to look at, but it’s damn good at what it does.

Sharaf 14 Dec 05

I know what Campfire is - it is an Intranet web application.

Essentially you will be able to connect with all your employees through one location to share a calendar, blog, documents, projects & tasks, contact information and etc….

It better be good….

to Baeck 14 Dec 05

This is the advantage of creative companies; the product will sell itself without the pre-emptive hype. It’s really a matter of strength in the product line.

37s’ product will exceed your expectations and will work well because this is the type of product they produce. On the other hand, Microsoft products need to work up hype through pre-promotion in order to convince a sale. Only when you don’t trust the company do you need advance warning.

Paul 14 Dec 05

Hmmm….maybe its thier new affiliate system with a sexy front/backend.

Or better yet, a productized version of Basecamp that sits on your server.

Wait…its a portal wrapper for ALL the SvN products.

Or maybe its….how many guesses do we get? Oh wait, this is a blog, sorry I forgot.

David Heinemeier Hansson 14 Dec 05

I take the anger as a compliment really meaning “we’re excited about what you guys are doing next and would really, really like to know!” and with that rewrite, I’d just like to say, thanks, you’re all too kind ;)

Oh, btw, this is not a/the CRM.

sj 14 Dec 05

It should have an API and user-submitted extenstions. Call them s’mores.

PeterDrife 14 Dec 05

I’m guessing some kind of group management software. Groups of people gather around campfires… Just a guess.

Dan Boland 14 Dec 05

The people bitching are being dumb.

Although I must ask… when will we get the post with the postage stamp-sized preview shot for us to obliterate? =)

Robert G 14 Dec 05

Does this new app come with smores?

I wonder if most people prefer Apple’s way of announcing products. As soon as Steve Jobs makes the annoucement, you can buy it in the lobby or on their website…

Archimedes 14 Dec 05

I know what it is…

They ran out of ideas, so they are just coming here to find out what most people think it is - ie the most popular idea. Then, to follow true 37S form, they will intentionally *not* do that thing stating “We have no plans to do anything like that, because popular demand and what paying customers want means nothing - it’s what *we* the developers and people who take your money want to do that matters most - when we’re not too busy complaining about fonts, design and what “Web 2.0” means, essentially, everything that earns us money.” Then they will scurry away and do something else that was mentioned in this thread.

And it will most likely be done really well, so we’ll all be good little bitches and take it.

And ask for more.

Mark 14 Dec 05

My only reaction to this: I saw “On deck” in the headine in my RSS feed and thought it was something about The Deck, rather than a new product teaser.

Larry Burningham 14 Dec 05

The best part of this forum is everyone desperately trying to figure out what it is. It is very funny.
TBS gave me permission to laugh.

Jason and crew are PR wizards. Maybe they will start suing whistleblowers.

Michael Conger 14 Dec 05

Reminds me of a greeting card I once received….

“Here’s a colorful, exciting Birthday card I got for you!”

“This is the INSIDE!!!”

I admit… I’m now curious about Campfire… but the “Listen UP!… I have nothing to say!” routine really is getting old. Seems to me that the best way to build some hype would be to just, outta nowhere, drop it on us. Take a page from google’s playbook. The “holy crap, google just dropped another one” effect works much better.

ps. not sure what’s up with me and all the quoted statements… I’m feeling a bit conversational today I guess.

bob 14 Dec 05

campfire… storytelling… presentations? sounds like ‘a simple communications tool’ to me.

Britt 14 Dec 05

37Signals announces Campfire and a weenie roast ensues. Film at 11.

Drew Pickard 14 Dec 05

Negative commentators:

Meep meep meep!

Drew Pickard 14 Dec 05

Meant to include this
Meep meep meep!

Matt 14 Dec 05

I have to compliment DHH on his level-headedness—I think he’s absolutely correct about the source of the negativity.

I also think, that as much as people seem to get more angry than is reasonable, that we do all at least enjoy a clue or two to chew on. Thanks to DHH for providing that. ;)

Andrew 14 Dec 05

Everyone, seriously, shut up.

Crap. The day you all put out any apps nearly as good as 37s, then you can be critical. Until then, you’re acting like some fat, ugly woman bitching because there isn’t enough cheese on her Olive Garden entree.

(okay, that was weird, even for me).

But seriously. Either sit and wait and be excited, or sit and wait and shut the fuck up.

Jay Reding 14 Dec 05

Someone needs to revoke 37signal’s Web 2.0 license. I mean, c’mon - no signup form (with required promise not to sell your email to anyone)? A product not in perpetual beta? Next we’ll find that it doesn’t use a gray sans-serif font with a negative letter spacing! :)

In all seriousness, I agree with the idea that Apple’s way is best - don’t say anything unless you’re ready to ship. That way there’s no vaporware, no dealing with a boatload of hype, and no bunch of bozos complaining about a product they can’t see yet… :)

eh 14 Dec 05

ruby is an ugly language and implementing a silly class naming scheme with long uncommented regexes is dumb. what a crime that the alternatives are so much worse.

Stefan Seiz 14 Dec 05

IM via Ruby and AJAX

Don Wilson 14 Dec 05

Excellent name for a group decision app.

Tim B 14 Dec 05

Ok, that was ugly. My point was to refer back to JAson’s post from the 9th, “Simple means launch something”.

Red Team 14 Dec 05

I think Jason’s point was stop lagging and just launch it. I don’t think there is a rule about not hyping it.

I am as curious as much as everyone else. I agree that I would love an insider’s peek into the new “product”. But I can’t argue against the hype.

Reinier Meenhorst / 14 Dec 05

All excited over here, but wondering how some people can get so worked up about defining the rules that Jason _has_ to play by for him and 37signals to be acceptable or ‘real’ even. Start your own company!

Gayle 14 Dec 05

I gotta agree with Reinier… I’m excited, and very confused at all the anger and huffing.

Justin Reese 14 Dec 05

Excellent name for a group decision app.

Ooh, I’d forgotten the interview. Good call.

The Lorax is Dead 14 Dec 05


BCM 14 Dec 05

I hope it is a CRM, that would be really great. It seems like a natural progression.

JF 14 Dec 05

We are working on a CRMish tool as well, but Campfire isn’t it.

Anonymous Coward 14 Dec 05

I just hope it makes smores

Mike G 14 Dec 05

I’m going to guess that it is some sort of live collaboration, maybe a chat client of some sort.

37s make products out of personal need and I could see a need for something beyond an IM client that is more tailored to collaboration in a working environment.

Mike G

Sherwin Techico 14 Dec 05

Wow! This seems to be causing a good deal of hotness. Any chance we can take a look at the logo? I’m sure it’ll be sexy…

I’m thinking that it’ll have a patch of green, and that dome. Possibly some firewood and a… yup, a fire?! I guess this can be my prediction-of-2006 contribution =)

Either way, can’t wait to see it.

pp 14 Dec 05

I’m not talking… that’s all I’ve got to say

David Demaree 14 Dec 05

I wouldn’t go so far as to mark this as proof/um…anti-proof(?) that 37s has jumped the shark or not, but I do agree: dudes, you could have at least given us the logo.

And isn’t CRM less about the collaboration and more about management? A campfire isn’t what I think of when I think CRM.

Dave Rosen 14 Dec 05

Is it a big app (ala Basecamp) or a little app (ala Writeboard)?

Sheldon Kotyk 14 Dec 05

I’ll only use it if it roasts marshmallows.

JF 15 Dec 05

The logo isnt done yet.

robert Sharl 15 Dec 05

But when it /is/ done Jason, can I get it embroidered on a pair of boxers, or a bathrobe? My girlfriend doesn’t think I’m geeky enough.

Robert Sharl 15 Dec 05

Oh and yes, Campfire is a patented system for sucking more money out of my back account and into 37signals’. Cheers! ;-)

Chad 15 Dec 05

Why doesn’t someone close to the signals start a site much like thinksecret so we know what the hell is going on!

Chad 15 Dec 05

I agree that it is a commercialized version of “The Deck.” Jason has made it clear in the past that they create software they need. They recently needed “The Deck.” They had to test it and figure out how users could get their ads running on the right sites.

Not to mention that social networking sites like myspace and facebook are valued through the roof right now because of the number of eyes they provide to customers.

Signals realized they had a following and that Google Ads made a lot of money for everyone involved and decided to make pretty ads with a nice UI.

Andrew 15 Dec 05

I pray that Campfire is a bug tracker. We’re researching our options right now, but there is no good, hosted solution that is as simple and powerful as Basecamp.

Brandon 16 Dec 05

Is this group wanting a CRM that badly? It’s been mentioned quite a bit. JF and DHH have already said this isn’t it, but it’s coming they say in early 2006.

And I can’t believe how frustrated some people are getting. You took the time to come to the site, read through the conversations and then CHOSE to be bugged. That’s on you . JF was just starting a conversation point on his/their blog! That’s what blogs are for.

Jeff Hartman 16 Dec 05

Registered the domain only until 2006? That means one thing. Either:

- registered a handful of domain names all for a year and couldn’t nail down which one to use
- we’re hoping to get acquired by Yahoo (or other big company) by summer of 2006 anyway
- not too confident of the app so why spend the extra $15 for 2 years.

I highly doubt the last one.

I think this isn’t going to be an app at all. I think they’re starting their own hosting. All of the 37 apps can be used “around the campfire.” There may be an app tied in with managing your hosting plan. What do I get if I guessed right? :)

JF 16 Dec 05

we�re hoping to get acquired by Yahoo (or other big company) by summer of 2006 anyway

That’s a bit of a reach by looking at a domain name registration ;)

RyanA 17 Dec 05

Looking forward to it! I guess it’s some type of social site that’s (i.e. used primarily for business purposes). Pretty broad but oh well ;D

Mike Harris 17 Dec 05

My own personal guess is that it’s some sort of reworking of Consumating, which they recently mentioned they acquired.

Campfire does imply sociability, relationships, and so on.

Of course, I could be talking out of my arse, but you never know.

Nate 18 Dec 05

Mike Harris,

You are indeed talking out of your arse. The small software company 37 Signals DID NOT announce their acquisition of anything, it was CNET that bought SvN hosts guest bloggers, and it was their guest blogger from CNET that announced the acquisition.

In terms of Campfire, I would guess collaboration, though they sort of have that with Writeboard…

Chris Brogan... 18 Dec 05

Campfire: a place to share flames.

: )

Andrew 19 Dec 05

You also sing songs around a campfire….

Andrew 21 Dec 05

In other words…maybe it’s a media app?

Don Schenck 21 Dec 05

Jay, I’m not a designer … what is Negative Letter Spacing?


Decision-Making by 37s? 21 Dec 05

In a podcast recently, Jason said 37s working on a simple decision making tool. That could be what campfire is….. gather around and make a decision together.

Noah 22 Dec 05

You guys wanna NOT put us all out of business, thanks?

Pleeb 22 Dec 05


I want my campfire NOW so I can drink till 4am and howl at the moon at the top of my f#$%&*& lungs without the neighbors calling the cops…again.

Jay 23 Dec 05

I’ll bet its an application that ties all their other applications together in one place.

Haddock 26 Dec 05

Will stay tuned .. just because I love the other ones.

Ron 27 Dec 05

I also think it great name for a group decision app.

Johnny 28 Dec 05

Hmm… it could be anything, but for some reason I’m thinking its a presentation tool. I could be WAAAAAYYYY of base.

Ara Pehlivanian 03 Jan 06

It’s obvious. Campfire is a Web based chat using Ajax that doesn’t need you to sign up. You just go to the page and type. Probably segmented by thread/conversation/room, but otherwise, it’s a free-for-all.

Am I close? ;)

Timothy Gray 04 Jan 06

I realize that 37s is in the business of making money, but here’s my vote for an add-on to basecamp versus another separate subscription to maintain. IMHO it seems that it would be wiser to focus on adding functionality to Basecamp rather than creating an entirely new application just for the sake of added subscription income. If it fits logically into the project management/collaboration space, add it to Basecamp. If you need the money ;) make me upgrade to a upper-level account to get it, but please integrate it into the existing products!

As for the plethora of negative comments that I had to read just to make sure I wasn’t restating a previous comment, grow up people! I’m over-opinionated myself, but if it’s not original, please don’t waste everyone’s time by posting something that has already been stated in every conceivable way. Maybe someone needs to create a MT plugin to filter comments so that we can comb through them more quickly.

Alf K�re 06 Jan 06


Is the fire out? 25 Jan 06

I think the “Campfire” needs rekindling.

The buzz is dying here... 26 Jan 06

An update, perhaps? Please? I can only keep up my internal excitement level for so long about Campfire before I start to get cranky :)

z 02 Feb 06

any idea as to release (or “drop”) date? thank you.