Companies I admire: 37 Signals


37signals creates and maintains web-based applications for collaboration, project management, and information sharing. In their own words, they build ‘frustration-free web-based apps for collaboration, sharing information, and making decisions.’

But beyond developing applications to help us get things done, they maintain a popular company blog and job board, write insightful books, and their developers contribute regularly to various open source projects.

37 Signals has a reputation for building simple and easy to use apps and providing a great customer service. And they must be getting it right because they proudly work backed by their customers and buyers and count with no external funding.

Some Etymology

Scientists constantly analyze radio waves from outer space in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Since this analysis started, almost all of the signal sources have been identified. 37 signals, however, remain unexplained.

Productivity on Rails

In 2004 37 Signals launched Basecamp, a web based project management app. Since then they have focused on building productivity applications, like Highrise, a CRM app; or Campfire, a business oriented online chat service. These apps are used by millions of freelancers and smaller and bigger businesses around the world (including myself!). Their apps are the white T-Shirt of web apps: uncomplicated, neat and clean and always a fit.


In 2004 they made public Ruby on Rails, an open sourced framework that was created by David Heinemeier Hansson for the Basecamp project and that they had been using internally for a while. Sharing is caring – without this Random Act of Kindness we wouldn’t be here today. The maintenance of Rails is now in the hands of the Rails Core Team with the assistance of the rest of the Rails Community.

Sharing is caring

37 Signals sponsor Ruby on Rails and other projects, like our Rails Girls Summer of Code, and play their part in fixing this job crisis helping programmers and other smart people to find a job.

In their free time (I’ve never been good at maths but something doesn’t seem right) Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson also wrote two books: REWORK, a must read if you’re thinking of getting into business or already working in a project; and Getting Real, a great (and free) Handbook for building web apps that shows the full picture and is written in plain English. Their next book, Remote, is due this fall and will open our eyes about delocalized work.

If you plan to spend a while in the world of technology, these are some good guys to learn from and look up to. Join us in sending them a lot of mental thumbs up!

This post was originally written for Rails Girls Summer of Code

One response to “Companies I admire: 37 Signals”

  1. […] the top of my list of trustworthy business advice, together with classics like the 37signals blog (I also wrote about them in my blog) or the KissMetrics […]

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