At 37signals, the software company I co-founded, we like to keep one particular figure in mind:$150 a month.
What's so special about $150? That's the most that any single customer can pay for Basecamp, our Web-based project-management and collaboration app. It doesn't matter if you're a company of 100,000 or a sole proprietor working at your kitchen table--$150 a month is our top pricing tier. And that's not $150 a month per person. It's $150 a month. Every Basecamp account includes unlimited users.
But doesn't the simple strategy we've chosen at 37signals leave money on the table? Why turn down someone who wants to pay you thousands of dollars a month? Good questions. We're probably leaving money on the table. But we're also leaving complexity on the table. And complexity is like a leak in your roof. It starts small. But over time, it does real damage. And once that damage has begun, it's hard to stop. Best not to let it in in the first place.
That's one way to see it, and it's certainly working out for 37Signals in their specific market. Then again, a company like SAP or Salesforce.com can make more money in a single large customer deployment than 37Signals makes in several years of operations. I wouldn't want to be running Salesforce either, but as usual, 37Signals paints as an absolute truth what is really a personal preference or a contextual choice. Always be aware of this tendency when taking your advice from 37Signals.
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