37signals and You

If you’re new to using technology as business tools, you’ve probably never heard of 37signals, a company known for great, easy-to-use web applications that make so many business ventures easier to handle. 37signals is responsible for 4 major products: Basecamp, Highrise, Backpack, and Campfire. Here they are with an explanation. I’ve also thrown two surprises at the end.


Basecamp Screenshot
Basecamp is a project-management application that allows you and your team to collaborate on various projects within your business. It allows you to manage deadlines, delegate tasks to people within your office, share files among yourselves, keep track of project notes, and centralize feedback…all in one place. You can also track time with Basecamp and, using that time when combined with other software like FreshBooks, invoice your clients, all electronically. Tasks are managed in familiar to-do lists, communication is done through easy-to-use message boards, and nearly everything can be searched for easy access and organization. There are plenty of extras and add-ons, from mobile apps to reports to widgets.


Highrise Contact Manager Screenshot
Highrise is 37signals’ contact management system, and allows you to keep track of who you’ve spoken to, what you spoke to them about, and how to follow up with that person. One of the great things is that you can integrate it directly with your email, phone, and preexisting contact system, so that everything is easy to use, easily available, and always online. It allows you to keep one contact book for the entire company…online! Note-taking, deal-tracking, and integration with 37signals’ other apps, along with third party extras and add-ons. Cool stuff.


Backpack Screenshot
Backpack is meant for company internal use, to share general information with your office, to track internal documents, discussions, and schedules, and to keep them all in one centralized location for easy access. Think of it like OneNote for the entire office, and web-based. Awesome stuff. This tool is very simple, and very powerful, all in one fell swoop. To-Do lists and calendars are also integrated, so your entire team is on the same page with projects, trips, meetings, and what’s going on within the company. As with the other 37signals’ tools, there are plenty of extras to go along with your Backpack.


Campfire Screenshot
Campfire, unlike the other apps, isn’t meant for information as much as it is communication. It is, in a nutshell, instant messenger for business groups. Campfire allows you to share files, ideas, code, text, etc…all in real time with one another. Then, after you’re done with your collaboration, you have an instant transcript to keep track of what went down, what was said, and what needs to happen next. And….extras.


Check out TadaList (a to-do list manager) and Writeboard (dry-erase on the web), both of which are extremely awesome tools.

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