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Original Post: Being 37signals for free

After reading this post I felt I should speak my mind a bit in the comments section. They’s discussing how easy it would be to copy BaseCamp’s project Management Software product and offer a free version. I thought I should point out a few things in defence of them, and other software providers who are trying to offer value-based solutions in a market flooded with price-driven customers. Here’s my comment:


“Our solution is called – project management software and we have many thousands of users in the 1-100 user level. I can tell you from experience that copying the code and building a similar tool is only a small part of it. Think about 37s’s overheads, back end management systems, networks, marketing commitments (paid and social), security, support, sales, backups, billing, 24/7 requirements, load balancing, monitoring etc. All this comes at a cost to 37s (or in our case, to us).

You’re fooling yourself if you think you can put all that in place and then offer it for free. Serious companies like us and Basecamp & others, put great infrastructure in place to protect customers’ precious data and provide great service offerings.

I see some people in this list complaining about the cost of the service. Remember that it’s a ‘Service’, not a ‘product’. You can easily replicate the product, but to recreate the service requires infrastructure and this comes at a cost.

On the point I said about people complaining on price – wanting free tools… We charge $15 per user per month for ProWorkflow. This amounts to 0.50 cents a day! Small price for efficiency I reckon. To be completely honest, if a company can’t afford 0.50 cents a day to pay for project management software to create efficiencies (and save money/time), then the problem isn’t the cost of the solution (Basecamp, ProWorkflow etc). The real problem is that your business is either not making any money, or you simply don’t think the solution provides value.

Think about this for a sec. Would you rather spend 0.50 cents a day for a robust solution to protect your important data? or for the sake of 0.50 cents, look for a free tool, but run the risk that the solution may let you down, go under, perform badly, not be backed up etc!

How much do you value your business? Some people on this list obviously don’t think their own businesses are worth a few cents a day! Sheesh! ;-)”


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Julian Stone, CEO – Project Management Software visionary for:, &

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About The Author:
Julian Stone begin_of_the_skype_highlighting     end_of_the_skype_highlighting is the CEO of ProActive Software, developers and creators of the leading web based project management software