Sunspots: The wildfire edition 37signals 25 Sep 2006

7 comments Latest by outsourcing masterrr

Lessons on marketing from HorsePigCow
"1. No amount of money, pressure, cleverness, 'viralness', advertising, MySpace pandering, p.r., community building, or 'story' telling, etc. can save a crappy product...3. Quite often, that thing that you thought was the 'killer app' turns out to be nothing and that side project that you dismissed because you didn't think it had a broad appeal takes off like wildfire...5. Being vulnerable is often your best defense/offense...8. Companies with pure hearts will trump companies with money in the end."
Compare relative sizes of products to everyday items
Visualize product sizes easily. 1) Add an item's size. 2) Compare to everyday items. 3) View from different angles.
Does bad design make MySpace seem more popular than it actually is?
"If the operators of MySpace cleaned up the site and followed modern interface and web application principles tomorrow, at least 2/3rds of page views would disappear."
Marissa Mayer explains the origin of Google News
"In the fall of 2001, Google researcher Krishna Bharat wrote a little program to help him read news better in the wake of September 11. The program gathered news from his favorite 15 sources and grouped them with artificial intelligence. After using his tool to do his personal news reading for a few weeks, he decided to offer it to some work colleagues to see if others who wanted to read more news might like this tool...I could see immediately how we could make it into a polished online news experience."
Josh Petersen interviews JF on money and happiness
"I like to buy things I find beautiful and inspiring. I've found that when you surround yourself with things of great craft it rubs off on you. I just want to be inspired."
Tennessee Williams' incessant iterations
"For almost every full-length Williams, you can find a shorter version, a one-act that stands alone, a short story and sometimes even a poem. He wrote and rewrote like crazy."
Video: Scrum seminar
Presentation by Ken Schwaber, pioneer of Scrum (a lightweight agile method for software development). "This seminar presents the basic framework of Scrum and some of the implementation issues associated with it."
How Flavorpill grew up
"We had no capital, no business plan, no model. But we had a growing publication that people were digging, so we said to each other, 'Let's just push forward, see how far we can take this.'"
Book: "To Engineer Is Human: The Role of Failure in Successful Design"
"Behind every great engineering success is a trail of often ignored (but frequently spectacular) engineering failures." [via KS]

7 comments so far (Jump to latest)

meh 26 Sep 06

a usability comment:

props you to guys on making good 404 pages on (you can see what it is by visiting any bad URL, e.g., ). so many sites give a cryptic, useless 404 page (the default one that comes with their web server) and even the ones that explain in plain english that you accessed a nonexistent page/resource don’t suggest any reasonable action paths.

i hate the ones that say “search our site [you moron!]” and then their site search totally sucks. if you have a huge site, is it really so hard to spring $2000 or whatever for a google mini or something?

ML 26 Sep 06

Thanks meh. You can read more about helpful 404s and 37signals’ views on contingency design in our book Defensive Design.

Sam 26 Sep 06

The best part of this article is that now when people demand that I explain why MySpace is so popular, I have two answers. The first “because people are stupid,” is just good sense, so it’s nice to also have “it’s not as popular as you think” in there as well.

eric 26 Sep 06

Evan Williams’ wrote a followup to Davidson’s MySpace analysis and called it pointedly:
Pageviews are Obsolete.

Jamie Stephens 26 Sep 06

The comment on Tennessee Williams reminded me of an interview with Al Devlin, the person tasked with editing the collection of Williams’ correspondence. Devlin explains:

�Williams wore his heart on his sleeve…composing letters on a typewriter at around 90 words per minute� [110 by another account!]. �He couldn�t write other than poetically�words just poured out of him…�

outsourcing masterrr 26 Sep 06

Those lessons were gooood ;) The last one (number 8) was kind of uthopic, but nice :)