Fly on the wall (week of March 4) Matt 03 Mar 2006

31 comments Latest by laurence haughton

Our internal 37signals Campfire chat room is constantly buzzing with activity. Current projects are discussed, code is swapped, suggestions are made, etc. There’s also lots of miscellaneous chatter that goes down. I went flipping through the transcripts and here’s a look at some of what we discussed this week:

  • Ryan said that one thing people missed about his sketch post “is that the hard work is deciding what’s important…and that process isn’t included in the sketch to screen post…when you’ve figured out what’s important and what doesn’t matter, it makes the rest a lot easier.”
  • Ryan thinks Malcolm Gladwell looks like Sideshow Bob. I’ll throw Phil Spector into the mix too. They really do all have the same…eyes.
  • Unsurprisingly, we read this article and liked the cut of its jib: Why Features Don’t Matter Anymore: The New Laws of Digital Technology.
  • Jason spent a long time kerning all the headlines in the book and says kerning is “addictive once you get going.”
  • We were all choked up by the amazing video of the autistic kid who went all Jordan-on-the-Blazers at the end of a high school basketball game.

More after the jump.

  • Sam did this: Productivity Tip: Throw everything on your desk in a box and said it “feels great.”
  • Jason got a kick out of Getting Real: Dangerous Like A Ninja Polar Bear?
  • Jason and David were interviewed by Chicagoist. (JF’s verdict: “rambled in some spots, but overall it’s good.”)
  • General reaction to New Service: Street-Side: Cool but “so tacky to throw in a totally unnecessary and shitty looking race car.”
  • Marcel ate lunch at Panera using Campfire while also working on a blog post with Backpack and wrote, “I feel like a 37signals commercial.”
  • Sam is usually the strong/silent type but occasionally chimes in with pithy comments like this:

    the input onclick should be “$(‘comment_form’).action = ‘preview_comment#preview_comment_form’; $(‘comment_form’).submit()”
  • Despite claims to the contrary, Ryan does not chill out during design binges by twisting himself into yoga positions. In fact, he has never done yoga.
  • Jamis is quotable: “People typically sound most authoritative when they have no idea what they’re talking about.” Someone call Bartlett’s.
  • Jason likes the hover on this chart but thinks they’re getting “a little too clever on the pricing level.”
  • Nominee for best supporting HTML character: The arrow ← → ↑ ↓
  • Jamis has been getting Dark-eyed Juncos at his bird feeder. Ryan thinks that sounds like an insult: “You dark-eyed junco!” Also, Jamis’ two-year-old daughter looked out the window the other day and said, “Mommy! House finch!” That’s pretty cute.
  • Jamis discovered a Wikipedia entry on The ’37s: “The ’37s was the first episode broadcast of the second season of the TV series Star Trek: Voyager…When Voyager’s crew comes upon the planet in the 24th Century, the 37s have been left in stasis for centuries and the descendants of the original Terran abductees have developed several cities on the planet’s surface using fusion-based technology left by their captors.”
  • Jamis is working on a book of his own and “learning the hard way how prehistoric the practices of the publishing industry are…I have to format each book in Word, using a template they give me…then email it to the editor…who adds her edits in red…and sends me the file back, renamed.”
  • Marcel thinks his new business card is sexy. He also notes Lord Whimsy approves of the unangle business cards.
  • I’m particularly fond of what I call the Seacrest Principle. May include this concept to Intro to Life 101: If you don’t like someone, don’t seek out unnecessary contact with them. Jamis relates it to the old exchange: “It hurts when I do this, Doctor.”…”Then don’t do that.”
  • I told Ryan the ping noise he made for campfire is lovely and very zen.
  • Ryan bought all four first editions of Christopher Alexander’s Nature of Order series. He notes that they are full of typos yet he still finds them quite valuable. Crazy that.
  • Jason noticed others are jumping on the betas are bullshit bandwagon: Public Betas Are a Sham.
  • David was busy doing real work, like building the book’s checkout/payment system. Nifty how it’s all on one page, innit?

There were also a few pictures of cute animals and a bit of poking fun at the endless complaining that goes on here at SvN and our other forums. Be warned, make a stupid comment and we may make fun of you behind your back. Ya know, because we’re arrogant meanies. Have a great weekend everyone.

31 comments so far (Jump to latest)

samc 03 Mar 06

I was wondering why there weren’t any dunce caps lately, now I know why ;)

JF 03 Mar 06

Matt, that was SO UNPROFESSIONAL to post this! USELESS!

Steven Moussawer 03 Mar 06

Business card link doesn’t work!? :( I was looking forward to it too.

Steven Moussawer 03 Mar 06

I agree with JF, it seems 37signals has definately JUMPED THE SHARK!


Dan Boland 03 Mar 06

I’m glad to see I wasn’t the only one who got choked up watching the autistic kid rain threes at the end of that game. It wasn’t his performance that got me — it was the crowd’s reaction. I just imagine being that kid’s parents, and… uh oh… *grabs tissue*

topfunky 03 Mar 06

It’s too bad Jamis isn’t writing for the Pragmatic Programmers. I’m working on a book for them and they give total control to the author…no need for a middleman to translate your chapters.

Now that’s Getting Real(TM)!

Tony 03 Mar 06

So you aren’t doing the Word chapters back and forth thing with Pragmatic? How are you doing it?

I tried to convince my editor (publisher intentionally left unnamed) to work in basecamp instead of email, and he didn’t quite go for it. (He did say they’d look into it, and this was pre-Writeboard. Though, I’m not sure they’d like Writeboard either, because it doesn’t maintain engrossing.)

Rahul 03 Mar 06

Man, SVN campfire is totally European unfriendly. You guys have all the fun while I’m asleep. I demand a refund or a time-travel friendly version!

David Demaree 03 Mar 06

Glad to hear you liked the ninja bear, JF.

Joe Martinez 03 Mar 06

Matt, that was SO UNPROFESSIONAL to post this! USELESS!

He’s kidding, right?

Andy 03 Mar 06

He’s kidding, right?

No. Instead of using IM to argue with his business partner, he’s choosing to do it publicly so other people who have to recalibrate their sarcasme-o-meter can join an otherwise private affair.

noexes 03 Mar 06

Considering what Gladwell wrote in the acknowledgements of Blink, about him getting pulled over and questioned by the cops for some kind of crime (I don’t have the book with me so I don’t remember), I don’t think he agrees with you. The only reason for almost getting arrested was because a picture of the criminal had frizzy red hair, but that was the only thing he said they had in common. Really, hair like that is so weird I don’t blame the cops for pulling him over.

SH 03 Mar 06

I would have thought JF would bring up the Seacrest Principal…

topfunky 03 Mar 06

@tony: No, I’m fortunately not emailing MS Word chapters back and forth.

The full system is proprietary to the Pragmatic Programmers, so I can’t talk about it in any detail. I can say that it is awesome and I wouldn’t want to write for another publisher who is still stuck in the last century.

Don Wilson 03 Mar 06

Yet another post to show how you guys can link every 37s service together. ;)

Jeff Hartman 03 Mar 06

Regarding the single-page checkout/payment for the Getting Real book, what’s the reasoning for going 30 years out for the credit card expiration date? I’ve never seen or heard of any card that has an expiration that far out (2036).

matt 03 Mar 06

Thanks for posting - I really enjoyed this.

nate 03 Mar 06

Re: Microsoft’s stupid car game:

It seems that the developers have had a penchant for stupid car games ever since Excel 2000, maybe before.

David Heinemeier Hansson 03 Mar 06

Jeff, Europeans have extremely long expiration dates. I remember trying to pay with my Danish VISA in a cab in San Francisco that expired in 2012. The cabbie thought I had a fake card ;). This was a good couple of years ago.

And I also remember manually having to “hack” a wifi purchase form because the expiration date was limited to 2012.

brad 04 Mar 06

Dark-eyed juncos used to be called slate-colored juncos before the American Ornithologists Union changed their name, so if you want to be retro you could say, “You slate-colored junco!” But I suppose that might be considered racist. On the other hand it’s better than saying “You yellow-bellied sapsucker!”

Anonymous Coward 04 Mar 06

For the record, they say *public* betas are a sham… you just don’t seem to see the value of any beta at all.

That’s why all of your software is significantly better two weeks after it’s released: why not do your due diligence and have testers, rather than users, do the testing?

JF 04 Mar 06

For the record, that’s what 37signals says too: *public* betas are a sham.

That’s why all of your software is significantly better two weeks after it’s released. Why not do your due diligence and have testers, rather than users, do the testing?

Testers don’t use products in the real world. They use them in a controlled world. In a controlled world you get controlled feedback. We prefer real feedback.

We do our own ample testing up front. Then we release the product, gather real feedback from real people using the real product in the real world for real tasks. Then we make changes.

We don’t release products with critical issues. We don’t release products that destroy your data. We don’t release broken products. We release solid internally-tested products that may have a few rough spots around the edges. And that’s fine. These are non-critical issues that shouldn’t hold up launch.

We’re proud our products are better on week two than on day one. That’s a good thing. We hope they’re better on week four than week two and better on week six than on week four.

salas 04 Mar 06

If you posted less, this blog would be easier to read. As it is, I come here after a few days and the site is cluttered and frustrating. Remember: less is better.

Also, some type of filter or rating on the comments so there weren’t so many fawning fancruff comments between insightful thoughts would be helpful.

You’ve got the right ideals — less is better, it’s all about the user experience — and they’re applied well to your products, but I don’t see them in action on the blog.

Tony 04 Mar 06

Wow, that’s the first blog comment I’ve heard asking for less-frequent posting…

Alex Foley 04 Mar 06

Interesting to note on the 2ndSite hover is that it doesn’t work in Firefox (or at least in my version) but does in IE. How’s that work out?

Bob Aman 04 Mar 06

I live in Rochester, NY… was really amazing stuff. Not sure how I missed that in the local news. Thanks.

JD 05 Mar 06

Sorry for the nitpickiness, but hey, Mr. Kernaholic, what I immediately noticed was that you should have capitalized the “is” in the “What is Getting Real?” title for the introductory chapter. It’s a common mistake, but when using title case in headlines the first letter in all verbs is capitalized. And “is” is a verb.

Tony 05 Mar 06

Unless you are using sentence case for the headlines (as many large newspapers do), and have simply capitalized “Getting Real” as a proper noun.

faderisimo 05 Mar 06

Phil Spector by far has the best fro. Make sure or voice your voice on Frodown!

laurence haughton 06 Mar 06

I think of Gladwell much more as an Artie Ziff type(