37 Signals and Simplification

37 Signals, one of tech’s darling companies shocked the tech world last week with two big announcements.

The summary?
1. They’ll only have one product, Basecamp (online project collaboration software) moving forward.
2. They are changing the company name to Basecamp. (Because that’s generally how people recognize them).

As I read the announcement, I found myself smiling and nodding my head in agreement, even though my team is a user of one of the products they are shutting down.

I admire Basecamp’s courage to focus on their core business despite other successful products with thousands of paying customers. The desire to not spread the staff too thin, to not dilute the product experience, to focus on the main thing is breathtaking.

I admire the keen observation that their [old] company name wasn’t helping them and instead changing to what people were actually calling them anyway. I get the concept of brand equity, but I also understand that it’s possible there is more equity to be had in switching to what your tribe thinks of you anyway.

And, as a colleague pointed out, they transparently communicated their process in such a way that paying customers, being dealt bad news, were somehow made to feel like co-creators in the announcement.

What can you do today to help your cause operate more simply, thus expanding your reach?

P.S. Even the font they choose to make the post with was deliberately simple!

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