From the 37Signals Master Class

Source: OnStartups, Nov 2010

Building Great Products

1) Always start off with what’s the problem? 

2) Never go with your first instincts. 

3) Limiting yourself on tools will enable you NOT to add more things than necessary. 

4) On your webpage, reduce time spent on non-core features. 

5) The most important thing for designing is copywriting. 

6) Realize, the level of fidelity is wrong for the stage. Don’t go big when all you need is basics. 

7) The product is the one with the ego. The product has to be right. Take nothing personally. 

8) Lack anything final. Design is just one battle. 

9) When you take months to do something you add months, focus on time limitations and only the core wins. 

10) Trade with people if they feel strongly about certain decisions. 

11) Real simple examples work better than marketing speak. 

12) Never do lorem ipsum blah blah. 

13) Try it and look at the data for decisions. Don’t be attached to your decision. 

14) Treat all customers the same. No favoring. You never know how much they’ll be worth. 

15) Set tight time frames, solve the simplest problems. 

16) Leaving software unfinished is the natural state of software. 

17) Bring out the scope hammer. Taking too long, means we are doing too much. 

18) We wrote out everything we wanted to do next year, then over lunch we killed that. Things change.

Design Theory

19) Try to understand the difference between features and problems! 

20) Make sure you understand the problem. Ideally, its a problem you are facing yourself. 

21) What do you want me to do on this page? Focus on that. 

22) The power of 3. Keep teams small and effective. 

23) Let me make the best use of my time, don’t stop me with meetings. 

24) Ask a person to draw the screen from memory and only the most important things will be remembered. 

25) Use a thick marker during design since you can only focus on the key things. 

26) We judge a lot about how good a design is by how long it takes to implement. 

27) Users always come with feedback in the form of solutions, not problems. Try to understand root issues. 

28) Everyone we hire gets screened for being a good writer, including engineers. 

29) Epicenter design. What is the most important thing on the page? 

30) Rebuild pages from the most important thing out. See where you get to the point where it gets complicated. 

31) Mobile development is great for design. Since you are limited and only put on the essentials.

32) Copywriting is significantly undervalued! 

Random Nuggets

33) Charge from day one. If its not good enough then there is not enough value. 

34) Our whole business is beating email by an inch. 

35) Email is the most popular software application in the world. 

36) Don’t use RSS readers. Go to the sites when you want. Helps focus. 

37) Short bursts of working together are more effective than full-time together in the office. 

38) The 37signals logo is a guy saying hi. 

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