We had a blast last week answering Q&A for about an hour during the first 37signals Live session. We hope you enjoyed it as much as we did. Thanks to all 1000+ people who stopped by to watch or participate.

Next Show: Wednesday, August 13 at 11:00am central time

We’re ready for the second show. Down the road we’re going to do more focused Q&As around specific topics, but we want to do another round of general Q&A this time. So please join us at http://www.37signals.com/live at 11am central on Wednesday, August 13th. We’re going for the morning so more of Europe can join us. We’re excited to see you there!

37signals Live: New and improved

We got a lot of feedback during and after the last show. We’ve taken some of this feedback and made some improvements.

There were a few issues with the first show:

  1. Spammers cluttered the chat window.
  2. The chat flew by so fast that we missed a lot of questions.
  3. The chat itself was distracting.

We thought a lot about how to resolve these issues. We liked the spontaneity of real-time question asking via chat, but the spamming and general noise hurt that experience.

A lot of people suggested an option to pre-submit questions. We could even have digg-style voting to move questions up or down on the list. This sounded like a good solution on the surface, but if we just had a list of questions ahead of time it would kill the “live” part of 37signals Live. Questions in advance kill spontaneity. It kills the magic. We might as well just record the answers on video ahead of time and play the video later.

What you’ll see: Video & question submission

Here’s what the new on-air screen looks like:

Live video on the left. No more chat, but question submission on the right. Enter your name, location, and your question. A few of the questions we recently answered will be listed below.

What we’ll see: Review, approve (or reject), and answer

Behind the scenes we’ll see:

On the left we have the approved queue. On the right we have the incoming queue. As questions come in, someone else from 37signals (generally Matt) can approve, reject, or edit (fix misspellings, edit so it’s easier to read, etc.) the question. We can also ban the questioner if they’re just spamming. We’ll approve just about anything as long as it’s above the waist.

Once a question is approved it shoots over to the left side in big type so we can see it on a second screen positioned at the other side of the desk. After we answer a question on the left we just click it and it turns dark grey and moves to the bottom of the screen so it’s out of the way.

Excited to give it a go

We’re pumped to give the new system a go. We hope you’ll join us at 11am central on Wednesday, August 13th at http://www.37signals.com/live.