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2010 37signals Suite - the new rival for Google Apps
37Signals decided to market a combined package of its key SaaS services for business - 37signals Suite, similar to how Google sells its services as Google Apps. 37signals Suite includes Basecamp (project management system), Highrise (CRM system), Campfire (group chat, which can be used as communication tool in this bundle) and Backpack (group organizer+wiki, which can be considered as an intranet portal in this bundle). The integration between applications in the package doesn't rock for now, but at least the user base will be unified. 37signals Suite is prices so that in most cases it's cheaper to buy the whole suite than two separate services. Price starts at $99 per month - for 35Gb of memory, 35 projects in Basecamp, 20000 contacts in Highrise, 5000 pages in Backpack, 50 simultaneous chats in Campfire. Though it seems much more expensive than the cost of Google Apps (50$/year), but you shouldn't forget that Google charges this fee for each user, and in 37Signals Suite the number of users is unlimited.
2010 Jason Fried: Why modern workplaces don’t work
Jason Fried, 37Signals co-founder, exactly knows how to create beautiful systems. Basecamp users and Ruby on Rails developers know this. Recently he published the video with his vision of how to create a beautiful workspace (on the example of 37Signals) and how online tools can help. Jason started with the fact that in most companies collaboration is organized absolutely wrong. It's based on the constant interruptions. Employee just turns on the computer, and the interruptions begin: instant messages, email notifications, phone calls and of course, co-workers that come and ask something. No one can work productively in such environment. And, often collaboration software (especially messengers and microblogs) doesn't help to mute this noise, but increase it.
Of course, we can't say that messengers and microblogs - are evil. All depends on how to use them. For example, in the 37Signals office all communications and collaboration take place in Campfire online chat. Even if employees are sitting close to each other at the same table. And it's normal if the chat window is closed, or the chat notifier is turned off. So, if you sent a message to your colleague and he doesn't respond, it meens that he is busy and will answer later, so if your question is not very urgent - wait. Jason believes that in 90% cases it can wait for several hours. Despite this delay, the overall team productivity increases.
Even executives at 37Signals prefers not to call employees without the urgent need. Manager does not go to the office and does not ask "so how it's going?". If they want to meet and talk, the meeting is planned beforehand and employees are invited via the chat.
This is not Campfire advertising, and Jason does not say that Campfire and Basecamp - is a medicine for all. The idea is that the collaboration tools should filter out the interruptions, put them in a separate place where the worker can see them later, but not to load employee with "real-time" signals. In addition, the tools themselves will not work if the manager does not create a proper collaborative culture in the team.
2006 Campfire Goes Live
Campfire is the new web-based chat service from 37Signals, the makers of Basecamp. As you’d expect, it’s simple, intuitive and good looking. It’s really a service for small businesses who want to keep all their chats in one place (all chats are permalinked) - you can also insert images in the chat window itself, which is a nice touch. For one-to-one chat, it’s only marginally more useful than your IM client - where it really shines is for multi-person chats. And yes, it does take a lot of the pain out of organizing group chats and having no centralized place to store them. Every chat in Campfire has a permanent URL. Chats don’t require special chat software or networks. You can instantly share and discuss files with your colleagues/clients, search or browse through transcripts of past chats, chat securely over SSL (Plus and Premium plans).