What I Would Do Differently
Jason Fried is the co-founder and President of 37signals, the Chicago-based web-application company. He has co-authored all of 37signals' books, including the upcoming, "Rework," as well as the 'minimalist manifesto,' "Getting Real: The Smarter, Faster, Easier Way to Build a Successful Web Application" He also helps to maintain the company's popular blog, Signal vs. Noise, and is regularly invited to speak around the world on entrepreneurship, design, management, and software.
Question: What would you do differently if you started your company now?
Our marketing approach is, first of all to make something great because that’s the best marketing you’ll ever have. When people talk about your products and we don’t really spend, we've spent maybe $10,000, $20,000 over five, 10 years advertising, or so, our whole thing is word of mouth. And you only get that if you make something great. You don’t get that by faking it, you don’t get that by seeding viral marketing stuff. I mean, you get that by making something great. And so we’re focused on that first and foremost. And then sharing. So we try to share everything that we know and we learn and that’s a great way to get the word out. Just like chefs share. Chefs have cooking shows, which ultimately leads people to their restaurants; ultimately it leads people to buy their chips or their salsa at the stores, because they get to know the people when they teach them something on TV, or in a book. So, we’re big in to sharing. Sharing, building something great, and...
My thing also, I will say one more thing about marketing is I don’t believe in a marketing department. I don’t believe marketing is a department. I think marketing is in everything you do. It’s from the error message in your product when something goes wrong, what does it say? It’s from the sign-up form, are you asking too much from somebody? If you ask too much from someone, that’s not good marketing. It’s in, you know the customer service response times, it’s in the customer service friendliness, it’s in the designs and the copywriting, its on the button, what does the button say, it’s clarity, it’s all of those things. That’s marketing. And if you only think of marketing as this thing that these people over here do, I think you’re going to have... you’re not going to be as well off as you could be if you thought of everything you do as marketing.
Recorded on July 22, 2010
Interviewed by Peter Hopkins
I would only build the things that I need," says Fried. "I’m really a big proponent of building products that we’re going to use.
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