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37 Signals -- Small no more?

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The new mantra at 37 Signals is "getting real" but about this time last year, it was "run small and embrace constraints." I suppose that "getting real" could be an evolution of the idea, but just work with me here.

Late last June, 37 Signals' David Heinemeier Hansson said...

I hope more crews will think hard and consider whether they could do without. Look at the project that costs $100,000 and figure out how to make it cost $20,000 over the shoulders of three guys. Do it out of your own pocket and you’ll be forced to reckon with constraints earlier and more intensely.

...

Taking cash shouldn’t be a necessity, a goal, or a celebration.

They even inspired Six Apart’s Mena Trott to write a rebuttal of sorts: In Defense of Big.

Today, they made the leap and took outside investment from Jeff Bezos. Does this mean that small and nimble and being successful because of your constraints isn’t working out? It certainly seems that they’ve grown as far as they can on their own bootstraps. Says Jason Fried when announcing the investment...

We’re proud of what we’ve been able to do without outside help. But we think we can do even better with the right kind of help.

I can almost feel the the stress of the conflicted followers of 37 Signals—"if being small isn’t the right thing to do, maybe we shouldn’t get real either..."

Also, note the large number of spam comments on the entry where they talk about not needing money. You really should clean those up, guys. Unless you’re intentionally advertising viagra, dating services, and lost nigerian money.

Jason Fried
July 21, 2006 7:14 AM

Who said anything about not staying small?

Daniel Elmore
July 29, 2006 5:50 PM

I don't think it's very constructive to debate a point with relative words like "small". Maybe 37Signals is planning an app. that other companies would need $5 million to make, but they are going to "get real" and "stay small" by building it with $1 million. Still small, still a lot of money.

This discussion has been closed.

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