I’m a big fan of Jack Johnson, but he decided to take a couple years off after finally reaching the mainstream. Maybe he didn’t like the spotlight, listening to handlers, or mass producing his talent.
37Signals, a small web company creating simple applications, follows a similar internet product marketing strategy. They create products that are simple, work well, and solve problems beyond email, word processing, and spreadsheets.
The problem is that they’re just so slow in their development of new products, it seems like a waste of talent. They’ve shunned money guys (except for Jeff Bezos), hired 1 employee at a time, and grew a popular blog. It’s the Jack Johnson story all over again.
Well, looks like Signals has gone back to work, starting to tease a new product called Highrise. (see the previews of Highrise, Highrise, and Highrise) If they really did web-based CRM with collaboration, instead of an online address book, then they will once again be successful, at their own pace.
Keep an eye on how it’s integrated with email, as that seems to be the difference between cowbell and more cowbell with other small business CRM products. From my experience in internet product development, I’d guess 37Signals will have a webmail function embedded that works with your domain, or at a minimum an email address you blind copy that feeds into your Highrise account.
It’s your turn Jack.