Jason Fried just wrote a nice article on his philosophy of building products that compete on making things easier, rather than faster, prettier or cheaper.
I hope it’s an email app. It fits in perfectly with their line of products.
Project management is communication.
Email is the single biggest piece holding all of their products together. Given how much everyone’s been complaining about email recently, it also points to a hungry market.
Trust is a big issue for people when it comes to email. I can’t think of a better company than 37signals who has earned the trust of lots of people over the years.
Another thing that stops people from switching email providers is the inertia that comes with the natural lock-in effect of your address book. Your email address becomes your identity.
37signals can overcome this difficulty partly because their customers are already using their products for communication. It won’t be such a big mental switch for them. Plus, if they support own domain name addresses, then there’s no social cost to switching. It’ll be just like porting mobile numbers.
Finally, they certainly have the guts to charge good money for what seems to be taken for granted as a free product.
I’ve grown to really hate Gmail over the years. It’s slow and ugly and bloated. Even though some people seem to be loving their new compose feature, to me it looks like insane feature creep, which could eventually kill it.
I really hope 37signals build a great email service. I’ll jump on to it immediately.