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The Chicago-based company, 37signals, started off as a web design firm and successfully transitioned into building web-based productivity software.

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I usually prefer covering small companies, not only because it’s more likely that they’ll be new to you, but also because it’s easier to tell their story in this format. 37signals is an exception in that they’re a small company with a huge presence and a detailed story. 37signals started as a Chicago based web design firm in 1999. As they grew that business, they started to build internal tools to manage their projects. By 2004 they realized that the software that they were building for themselves had a much broader market, so they transitioned from web design to building web-based productivity software. It all started with Basecamp (project management), and then it was followed by Backpack (information sharing), Highrise (Contact management and CRM), and Campfire (real-time collaboration). It all comes down to helping people find “a better way to work.” And that’s where 37signals has gone beyond the software that they offer. Jason Fried, one of the co-founders, has become a thought leader in the areas of entrepreneurship, management, design, software-development, and pretty much anything related to how we work.

Send the Right Signal

Jason Fried has been blogging for years on Signal vs. Noise, the 37signals blog. Additionally he’s been writing books and magazine articles along with doing a lot of speaking events. There’s no secret as to what it’s like to work at 37signals, since it’s one of the most revered workplaces in the startup world (if you can call it that since pretty much everyone in the company is location independent). You could truly spend days reading about culture at 37signals and the ideas that have come out of their unique work environment. My suggestion to you would be to read Jason’s latest book, Rework. If you want to get a job at 37signals, you’re going to have to be familiar with their culture‚ÄĒespecially because you’ll be shocked at how much they get done with so few people. So take a look at their About page for a quick intro, and then start digging in. You may also want to check Jason Fried’s latest article on hiring from Inc. magazine. It’s called Never Read Another Resume. Once you have a feel for 37signals, then it’s time to check out their Job Board (yes, they run a job board too). It’s where they post their own positions, and right now they’re looking for someone to work in Customer Service/Support. It’s not necessarily an entry level position, but I can’t see why a new grad wouldn’t be awesome at the job. I certainly haven’t been able to capture the entire 37signals ethos, but there’s so much content from them out there that you shouldn’t have too much trouble getting a feel for it.

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