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success is a great thing, but this constant "we're the only ones that are doing it right" attitude is getting old.



Yes, I agree. 37s have become a slight parody of themselves. They used to point and laugh about how web business was done in an 'enterprisey' way by their example company Enormicon (I think it was called).

Now we have a set of cliches for a small funky online company should act.

It is all about subverting the dominant X paradigm where X is anything that you don't like or don't use or don't understand.

- Only use Apple computers to subvert the dominant Windows OS paradigm

- Only use Rails to subvert the dominant PHP/Java paradigm

- Only use Textmate for editing to subvert the dominant Vim/Emacs/Notepad/Eclipse paradigm

- Use swear words in your presentations to subvert the dominant politeness-to-people-who-pay-into-conferences paradigm

I could go on. I am generalising here too! But sooner or later 37s may wake up and realise that they are the new mainstream amongst the web dev crowd.

They have slayed the monster of PHP/Java.

Perhaps its is time to stop playing the hip outsider?


What's wrong with that paradigm? If you believe that your technology or philosophy is better than the status quo, why wouldn't you argue for that? Why wouldn't you want to convince others to do the same? The progress of the world demands on the spreading of good ideas.

Also, there are still many, many, many more PHP and Java developers and shops out there than there are Rails. That shift is far from done.

Once the good ideas have become mainstream, the work on those are done, but by then I'm sure even better ideas are available and the process starts anew.

This is not bad, this is healthy.


The contradictions of success!

Don't get me wrong, I have worked with Rails - I admire what 37s have done and a good rate of churn in new ideas in any profession can be healthy and welcome thing.

I just wonder if 37s have gone from being the underdogs? What do you rebel against when you are the status quo - at least among the opinion formers and alpha geeks?

It is like when a renegade leftfield music act become mainstream. Look at Rage Against the Machine (with their leftist anti-capitalist music) becoming millionaires after signing up to one of the biggest capitalist music corporations on the planet.


What he argues is that the 37signals paradigm is that of attacking a status quo for personal or aesthetic reasons, and not, at least not necessarily, because the attacker has a better idea.


They are mature and a known quantity -- no longer "new". But they are still outsiders, by the numbers and by reputation. Just like the Green Party.


I applaud 37s. I wish their voice was even louder! They are constantly drowned out by the VC rush that I've seen destroy really great companies with really great products that aren't around anymore because an investor wasn't satisfied with the growth rate.

If the companies, many who were my clients with VC, had gone a little slower and taken a little more time they would have been long time established players. Instead, another company years later -- also backed by VC -- comes in and takes the market that, years prior, wasn't big enough to support investor expectations.

During the dotcom boom, I saw multiple layoffs at multiple companies. I saw people crying. I saw founders of companies let go. I heard people say, "Just let me stay. I love working here. You don't have to pay me!" Sorry, that isn't an option in a VC backed company.

Yet, I don't know one bootstrapped startup who would say no to a loyal team mate who wants to work and build something without needing a salary.


The point isn't that they're the only ones doing it right. In fact, he lists off other entrepreneurs that did the same thing. I think their point is made well, and they're just citing other examples of people doing it or that have done it historically.

What they're saying is build a business, not just a thing to flip. Focusing on the business will, even if you end up selling it to someone else, make it a better venture in the end, and more satisfying to you as a person.




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