Everyone working at 37signals represents 37signals. When a customer gets a response from Merissa on support, Merissa is 37signals. When a customer reads a tweet by Eron that our systems are down, Eron is 37signals. In those situations, all the other stuff we do to cultivate our best image is secondary. What’s right in front of someone in a time of need is what they’ll remember.
That’s what we mean when we say marketing is everyone’s responsibility, and that it pays to spend the time to recognize that. This means avoiding the bullshit of outage language and bending our policies, not just lending your ears. It means taking the time to get the writing right and consider how you’d feel if you were on the other side of the interaction.
The vast majority of our customers come from word of mouth and much of that word comes from people in our audience. This is an audience we’ve been educating and entertaining for 20 years and counting, and your voice is part of us now, whether you like it or not! Tell us and our audience what you have to say!
This goes for tools and techniques as much as it goes for prose. 37signals not only tries to out-teach the competition, but also out-share and out-collaborate. We’re prolific open source contributors through Ruby on Rails, Trix, Turbolinks, Stimulus, and many other projects. Extracting the common infrastructure that others could use as well is satisfying, important work, and we should continue to do that.
It’s also worth mentioning that joining 37signals can be all-consuming. We’ve seen it happen. You dig 37signals, so you feel pressure to contribute, maybe overwhelmingly so. The people who work here are some of the best and brightest in our industry, so the self-imposed burden to be exceptional is real. But here’s the thing: stop it. Settle in. We’re glad you love this job because we all do too, but at the end of the day it’s a job. Do your best work, collaborate with your team, write, read, learn, and then turn off your computer and play with your dog. We’ll all be better for it.