If there is any doubt that 37signals, purveyors of fine application services such as Basecamp and Backpack, has jumped the shark, Information Week has sealed the deal with a recent fluff piece headline: “Is 37signals the new Google?”
Don’t get me wrong — I am a long-standing supporter of the 37signals crew since we first approached them to design a site back in 1999, and a true believer when it comes to their unwavering dedication to clarity in design, and “less is more” approach to business management. I also can’t help but be impressed with their evolution over the years, growing from a usability and user experience-oriented design shop to a blog-powered, seminar-driven marketing machine (in the best sense of the word). And, while I don’t “live” in their software as some of their biggest fans do, I would agree that they are among a handful of companies designing very good software today. I eagerly await their entry into the hosted CRM market. SalesForce could use a serious wake-up call.
But the next Google? Back to the headline.
Jason Fried, master of ceremonies at 37signals, shared news of the article with his Signal v Noise blog readers, generating a typically active discussion (41 comments as of this post).
Over at Del.icio.us, 76 people (and counting) also find it link-worthy. Tags include: 37signals, google, web2.0, and ideas.
Which got me thinking: what other companies have been suggested as the next big thing in the age of Google?
A Google search for the phrase “the next Google” produces 90,300 results (though Google cuts you off at 440 claiming the rest are similar). Among the top hits, you will find:
- Wikipedia (by far the most cited)
- Tableau Software
and . . .
It will be interesting to see where these companies, Google included, rank a year from now, 5 years from now and beyond. I wish Jason and the 37signals team the best.