On one of my other Web sites, they’re trying out a new project and communications management system for small teams called Basecamp. Built by the 37 Signals team, Basecamp claims to be “simple, elegant, powerful, fast, and usable” and it is.
Some of the things Basecamp does already exists in a similar form in my Weblogs, Inc. intranet: a staff-only Weblog, contact management and a to do list. Okay, so pretty much all of Basecamp’s major features are in Weblogs, Inc., but you can’t subscribe to Weblogs, Inc. and the finishing touches and details are where Basecamp really shines.
I met Jason Fried from 37 Signals the other day and when he was asked how the data is kept anonymous his response was that they use several different domain names (like clientsection.com) and you can brand the system with your own logo so your clients never have to know that you’re using a 37 Signals service for your extranet. But that wasn’t what the question was getting at.
If 37 Signals’ largest paying client is FedEx and I sign up with Basecamp to manage my huge UPS.com redesign, how does 37 Signals resist the urge to peek over the fence?
Jason assured us that they won’t peek. They also address the possibility of installing a local version of Basecamp on other companies’ servers in their Q&A:
Custom licensed copies of Basecamp will be available shortly for remote installation. Pricing is based on your specific needs, support requirements, and the number of people who will be using Basecamp. If you start using the hosted version, and then want to move to an installed version, we can move your data over no problem.
From what I’ve seen so far, the service is great for small teams collaborating on any kind of project. 37 Signals makes really simple, easy-to-use sites for other companies, so it makes sense that their own Web-based service would be instantly usable without needing a tutorial.