Cha-Ching gets real Jason 27 Sep 2006

14 comments Latest by Steve

We love hearing from people who read the book and are Getting Real with their own projects. Here’s an email we just got (published with permission) from a guy who wrote a Mac OS X app called Cha-Ching using the Getting Real principles:


Hey Guys!

I figured you would want to know this. I just released an app called Cha-Ching.

We used your Getting Real philosophy to accomplish the impossible. Create a beautifully stunning, simple and power application that can manage your cash in a fun way!

I continued to pour the knowledge I got from reading Getting Real to my team. At first it was hard. The others kept telling mem “Prove to me that a Mac app was successful because of Getting Real”. I told them, “We could prove it now!”. To stop looking at others and let’s be the first Mac app to apply the Getting Real philosophy.

They started to see the benefits when it came closer to release time. We built this app in less than three weeks. It has Apple’s iCal and Address Book integration, iSight capture integration to take photos of your purchases. You can create Smart Drawers to gather all your transactions based on title, amount, date, notes and keywords.

The biggest lesson I learned from Getting Real was to give the creativity to the user. I noticed the other competitors in the market and saw what was wrong. They gave too much to the user to figure out. A thousand categories, is this transaction taxable, is this is your checking or your savings account. I didnt want to figure out a thousand ways how the user wanted to sort their transactions. I let them decide. I gave them the ability to tag their transactions with whatever category or keywords they wanted. So if they want an item to say that it is taxable then they add the tag and later even create a smart drawer to grab all the transactions with the taxable tag when tax season comes around!

The possiblities are endless and it is because of your Getting Real pdf. Thank you so much.

-Juan Alvarez, Cha-Ching Team Developer


Thank you for trusting the ideas enough to give them a shot. We’re thrilled they worked for you.

14 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Hasan Akyol 28 Sep 06

Great marketing campaign.

Will we see Vista on SVN?

since (i quote from getting real.pdf) even microsoft is getting real.

Hasan Akyol 28 Sep 06

Great marketing campaign.

Will we see Vista on SVN?

Since (i quote from getting real.pdf) even microsoft is getting real!

Perhaps worth featuring!

Digger 28 Sep 06

We too read Getting Real and have applied those principals in building LogoSauce.com.

We talk about the experience in our blog (more to come - we only just released the beta yesterday)

LogoSauce is 3 guys (the ideal team size according to GR), 2 of us working side by side and one externally across town.

We knew what we wanted and basically just built it with very basic specs. We used Basecamp for project management and writeboard to write the spec. Basecamp to-do list to manage tasks was great.

We’re still finishing some things off - but hey we got it out there - 26days later than we targeted initially - but I don’t think that’s too bad in the scheme of things.

Now all we need to do is figure out how to get people there AND pray that we good enough to get people to sign-up (free) and keep coming back (the hard part).

Getting Real confirmed some basic beliefs we already had about the waste of a typical IT projects and corporate requirements for intensive BA and specification documents.

I’ve personally been on then end of a horendous development as a client - ending up with a product quite different from what I as the client wanted. Basic problem - no screen shots early on. Don’t get me started on Rational Unified Process!

As far as I’m concerned GR is right on the money!

Jeroen Mulder 28 Sep 06

A student and I used some ideas of Getting Real during a project for an university assignment a couple of moments ago. The goal was to build a simple prototype of an online booking system for a non-existing resort in The Netherlands.

The project went really well and it allowed us to look into some of the more worthwhile aspects of building such an application and getting the user experience right to really finish the prototype with a feeling of having learned a lot.

Unfortunately, during the assessment, one teacher was not convinced by Getting Real. He was not familiar with it, but understood it as something we almost made up, slapped a name onto it, just to avoid needing to do the things we have been taught to do — writing annoyingly long function specifications and other documents that took away the flexibility with which we worked (also had the ‘pleasure’ of working with RUP, as mentioned by Digger).

To me this teacher only seemed to look at it like that, because Getting Real, at first sight, lacks control on the project. It seems to rely heavily on the expertise of the project members.

Have you guys ever talked to teachers at colleges and universities about Getting Real and how they can teach some of the ideas to their students? Have you received similar responses to my experience?

Brian 28 Sep 06

Just came across this from the History Channel:

http://www.history.com/shows.do?action=detail&episodeId=192813

“The Archi-Tects: Five geniuses, and a challenge: innovate fire rescue and evacuation equipment and vehicles for use in skyscraper disasters—and do it in 48 hours! A high-tech think tank of engineers, designers, writers and visionaries, strive to tackle the limitations of today’s technology—and by using just-over-the-horizon thinking, develop radical new designs for the future. With the unprecedented cooperation New York’s regional fire departments, it’s a high-tech fire department makeover as the design team reworks skyscraper firefighting. For two high-pressure days on location in the greater New York area, they will immerse themselves in every aspect of firefighting, to assist both occupants and firefighters with innovations not yet imagined, culminating with a dramatic presentation for Former FDNY Fire Commissioner Thomas Von Essen.”

Sound like it will be interesting…

Steve 28 Sep 06

Well, I guess I’ll actually comment on the original post rather than plug my site under the guise of “getting real” ;)

I like it. Obviously beta, and obviously from the Delicious-school of app design. I used Quicken for many years, but gave it up altogether about a year ago, with the realization that tracking all these minute details of transactions was a waste of my time, and online banking directly with my bank was a lot simpler.

An app like this might make me reconsider simple transaction tracking.

Marcus Vorwaller 28 Sep 06

Wow. Yeah, Cha-Ching is incredibly nice looking. Fun to use too. I can’t wait to see what you add to it. Right now it’s a little too basic for me to switch from Liquid Ledger, but if you guys created this in the time that Getting Real came out until now, I imagine that it will improve quickly! Great work!

Mark 28 Sep 06

Just a little friendly UI advice to the Cha-Ching developers: lose as much chrome as possible. Look at all the iterations of Mail.app and iTunes and you’ll notice that with every release less and less pixels are dedicated to the interface itself, and more to content.

The Healthy Skeptic 28 Sep 06

So if I build a product and claim to use “Getting Real,” will you give it free advertising on Signal vs. Noise? This is a brilliant move on the part of Cha-Ching.

JClark 28 Sep 06

Well, give the Cha-Ching guys credit for a brilliant notion, telling 37Signals about using their book to create the app and getting some free promotion out of it. I’m serious, I’m not being sarcastic or back handed at all, it was a great move.

They did it just right too, they didn’t just pop in and say “we used your book, promote us!” Rather, they spelled out the ways in which it helped them, and in doing so promoted the book and the principles it teaches, making this post a win/win. They didn’t even ask for the promotion, just wrote the message in such a way as to create a compelling reason to post it.

I’m glad they did too. I got sick of Quicken some time ago and just gave up, but I’m no good at managing a budget on my own, so this is right up my ally. Judging by my own reaction, and some of the comments here, I’d say they’ve earned themselves a number of customers here.

Ecne 28 Sep 06

Come on, guys, get real and stop using paypal. They’re fascists.

I, for example, cannot pay your well deserved $14.95 because my country is not listed there.

schlarb 28 Sep 06

Is everyone that jaded? We read this blog to work these ideas out. And when someone does it’s nice to see what the fruit of that is.

This is a nice app. Simple, pretty, fun. Good tenets if you ask me. Now if Cha-Ching could sync with my bank account I’m in.


Oh. And SVN talks about Audi’s product designs too! Must have been a great marketing ploy!

Or a great product and design philosophy.

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