Thursday, April 15, 2010

Fortune 5,000,000

37Signals is an awesome company. Lauren and I use their Basecamp service to manage our web design projects and I'm getting their new book Rework. This video is of 37Signal's and Ruby on Rail's David Heinemeier speaking on the secret to making money online. The title is a bit tongue in cheek in that he advises developers to simply charge a price for their services, and to establish and run well their business instead of courting Google or venture capitalists.

In his speech he introduces the idea of the Fortune 5,000,000; the idea that there's much more business with small businesses than with large ones. He says to "forget viral" and simply offer great customer service. After all, business online is still business.

It reminded me of a great customer service story by my good friend's dad. At the time he owned a vacation property rental company in Santa Fe and a tenant complained of a broken dishwasher. Their stay was only through the weekend and he knew he couldn't get the machine serviced before Monday. So, while they were out, he went in and did all their dishes. He had tons of properties and clients and tenants, but made time to hand wash and dry these folks' entire sink full of dishes to ensure they had a good vacation. I love this kind of outstanding customer service that can never be outsourced or made irrelevant by technology.

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