Posts Tagged ‘37 signals’
Sometimes it is really hard to keep track of all the things you need to do at work, at home or for organizations that you belong to. I have actually reverted to using a paper calendar, while some people use their BlackBerry, Android or iPhone.
It got me thinking, what tools are available online that can help me organize my life if I am not using MS Outlook or some enterprise level tool? Here are a few I found:
- Google Calendar – kind of a no brainer, but super easy to use, especially if you have an existing Google account. I guess Google Wave will be the next contender .
- Backpack – from 37 signals. It helps you corral all of the information you need including schedules, docs, discussions.
- GoToMyPC – is brilliant for accessing multiple computers – like work from home and home from work. Access it from any connected web browser.
- Remember The Milk – this tool has got the smart phones covered with an iPhone, Android, gmail, BlackBerry and Window Mobile app. They even have a sync up with Twitter.
I guess it doesn’t matter which tools you use to help manage your life. The real challenge is using one until you find something that fits the needs of your daily life and will help you to save yourself the embarrassment of having to do Monday Links on Tuesday.
In my continuing discussion of Good To Great Technologies, I started looking at the Hedgehog Concept. As part of the hedgehog concept, a company is challenged to understand what it is the best at doing. Not what it will be or can be, but what it does the best.
A company that leaps to mind in this regard is 37 Signals. It has focused it efforts on creating a suite of productivity tools such as Basecamp and backpack.
As it has expanded its product offering, it has kept itself in the same realm of product offerings that surround the concept of communication and project productivity. It works on refining its programs and listens to its customers.
This company definitely figured out what it was best at doing. So much so that it has a 94% approval rating from customers.
When considering this, it makes the constant expansion of Google, Apple and Microsoft seem counterintuitive. It also helps account for some less than profitable ventures by those companies.
Another company to look at is Distributive Networks. The company made Deloitte’s 2007 Rising Stars list and is focused on Mobile. They work on Mobile technology, content and mobile donations.
They list Barrack Obama as a client. Their singular focus on a specific industry and the three elements that will make it powerful and accepted has helped them rise through a very crowded market space.
I think there is merit in also looking at companies who didn’t have a hedgehog concept has suffered. The first example I think about is AOL. While they were trying to diversify their company, they lost focus of their core business – internet access. The company got left behind in the internet access world as DSL and cable invaded their space – maybe to never recover.
As a matter of fact, McKinsey Quarterly just wrote an article about Where software vendors should focus and said their findings suggests that “they do better when they focus on specific capabilities that are crucial for their particular products and customers, rather than trying to be great at everything. A self-assessment can help identify strengths and shortcomings.”