Happy Links - Ask 37signals edition

October 26, 2007

It's been a while since we've given the attention-deprived signals some love, but their recent series of Q&As has been interesting. Here are a few I thought were pertinent to entrepreneurs.

  • How do you handle the pressure to grow?
    The answer is always the same: We are growing, but not physically. You can grow without “growing.” In fact, I think it’s a healthier path.
  • Do I need a designer to make pretty?
    Thinking of designers as someone who paints the application pretty in Photoshop is a common but unfortunate misconception.
  • Is it really the number of features that matter?
    I don’t think the number of features is what makes software better or worse. One more or one less isn’t really the issue. What matters is the editing. Software needs an editor like a writer needs an editor or a museum needs a curator.
  • How to go from clients to products?
    You can’t just goof around with science projects, open-ended explorations, and play time with new whiz-bang technology. Instead, you have to deliver real value, real soon. Otherwise the project is simply going to languish as it loses out to the “real work” of paying clients.
  • What about research?
    We do a different kind of research... We build something, then we collect feedback on what we built.... Of course, you might wonder how to start. We build products we need ourselves, so our initial research is made of our own wishes, itches, and frustrations. When it comes to client work, my best advise is to become friends. Spend time together and discuss what they do until you can see through their eyes a bit.
  • Can I build a product business if I'm just a designer?
    Yes, there is plenty of hope for a designer who wants to build a product business. Having business sense will help. Being able to spot and attract other talented people will help. Having a knack for spotting the right opportunities will help. But being curious enough to just figure things out on your own will help the most.

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