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About Sarah

But I can’t help wondering what we might have said if we hadn’t been stopped. Maybe we were just around the corner from something thrilling. Isn’t that the nature of a live conversation? It halts, it stutters, it doubles back, it soars. We might have found a small nugget, something off topic or unexpected.

Steven Martin on interruption.

37signals Holiday Toy Drive

Sarah wrote this on 15 comments

This holiday season 37signals is partnering with our new neighbors in the West Loop of Chicago to gift the children of William Brown Elementary School with new clothes and toys.

William Brown Elementary currently reports 96% of its students receiving public aid, and we’ve committed along with Converse, Hurley, Soul City Church, the Kyle Korver Foundation and many other local companies to create a Christmas store. Families can purchase new, donated items for Christmas gifts at crazy low prices, and all proceeds will go directly back into Brown Elementary.

For our part, 37signals will be collecting new toys (not in wrapping paper) at our Chicago Office until December 17.

You can drop off your toys and good cheer to our office between 10am and 5pm, Monday-Friday. [MAP]

We’re excited to join with our neighbors for this great cause, and hope all local friends of 37signals will join in too!

The Christmas Store event takes place the December 18, 9-12pm at Soul City Church. All profits from the store are being donated back into Brown Elementary.

Experiment: Customer training

Sarah wrote this on 48 comments

UPDATE: Thanks everyone! We’ve got all the responses we need for now.

Now that we’ve moved into our new office space, we’d like to experiment with some ideas for training customers in person.

Are you a paying 37signals customer who’d like to have a personalized one-hour training session for you and/or your co-workers? Our learning theater at the new 37signals office in Chicago is now operational and soon we’d like to start bringing in customers to show them the ins and outs of our products.

If you’re interested, please email sarah [at] 37signals [dot] com for more information.

Support at 37signals: Why it's awesome

Sarah wrote this on 30 comments

We’re looking for a new person to join our support team (internally known as Team Omega), and we thought we’d let you in on what it’s like doing support for 37signals. It’s not like working behind the customer service counter at Wal-Mart. It’s not like answering calls in a phone bank, or automating responses like an email robot. It’s undoubtedly the best job I’ve ever had, and I hope it’s the last job I have.

I’ve been doing support for 37signals for almost 4 years. I didn’t want to at first; in fact when I was interviewed and eventually hired I was explicit: I will not do customer service. This left me doing back office sort of admin things and keeping myself busy, until one day I had to help Jason out on emails. Then daily I kept taking on more and more until one day I said to Jason, “Stop taking all the customer emails from me!”

They let me take over support full time, and I can’t tell you how surprising it is that I love this job. I love it so much that I’m passionate about it, I fight for it, I push back against very heavy opinions to protect it and improve how we help our customers. So what in the world made me go from never wanting to answer customer support emails to answering sometimes 200 a day by myself? Well, pretty simply, our customers are awesome!

Our customers love our products. They are loyal and fierce about them. They write us for help making sure everything works because they can’t imagine working without Basecamp or Highrise or Backpack. They want new features because they want to do more with our products. They’re funny, they are so kind and patient, they’re opinionated and friendly. 200+ emails a day of that sort? Bring it on.

We take support seriously as a way to educate and help. We use bad experiences our customers have to improve our products and processes, and turn that experience into a positive one. Our support team is a vital connection to our customers other teams don’t have, and we use that link to determine how to make our products better. We let people vent, and we understand their frustration. We stop and think to ourselves, “How can I make this person’s experience better?” Then whatever that is, we do it.

Support at 37signals was not good 5 years ago. It wasn’t and we know it. It took years of us recovering from stumbles in the beginning to be the support team we are today: Enthusiastic, fast, agile, happy to be here and eager to help. Not all of us come from customer service backgrounds, and we don’t think it’s required to do this job well.

What’s required is a will to make people’s day better, to teach them how do to things, to surprise them with speed and accuracy and become leaders in the support industry. And if you think that sounds awesome, why not come join us?

We think you’ll like it here. Plus, there’s often cookies.


“Norwegian designer Daniel Rybakken has installed LED panels replicating daylight on a dark staircase in Stockholm. Called Daylight Entrance, the walls of the staircase are lined with solid surface material. Recesses were milled out from behind the material to accommodate panels of LED lights.” See more photos here.

If there’s an ecosystem where things are free (such as, say, the internet) your currency becomes enthusiasm. Quality is important because it gives people a legitimate reason to become excited. Sincerity is what creates the line between real enthusiasm and empty hype.

This sounds like a lame-brain observation, but things are better if creative people produce work that incites excitement in both the creative and the audience. Don’t be shocked if something fails because it lacks fervor and passion. Build those in, if you can. If you can’t, consider starting over.

Sarah on Apr 28 2010 Discuss

Apparently, it is completely 100% normal for a year-old MacBook Air to get so hot that it can scorch your skin. It is also totally and completely normal for the fans to run all day, even after it was put to sleep, going at 6800 RPMs, all fucking day.

Yes, according to the Apple – who would not replace or fix this machine that burned me – there’s nothing wrong with this happening. Special thanks to the Genii at Woodfield who would neither apologize for this issue or offer to investigate.

“I have no desire to scale up or get bigger. My desire is to produce the best food in the world. And if in doing so, more people come to our corner and want stuff, then heaven help me figure out how to meet the need without compromising the integrity.

As soon as you grasp for that growth, you’re gonna view your customer differently, you’re gonna view your product differently, you’re gonna view your business differently. Everything that is the most important – you’re going to view that differently.”

Joel Salatin, Polyface Farms owner.