It says most of what you need to know.
It’s not what I’d have thought they’d do. Perhaps my model of S37 is wrong, but would you expect a bunch of hip young(ish) things to want to give up their experimentation and consolidate their energies on a maturing cash-cow?
Is this actually a sign that 37 Signals are in trouble? Or that investors are squeezing them? (Do S37 even have outside investors?)
One possible thinking is that they’re going to spin off other products as separate companies, which S37 retain ownership of but, presumably, hand-over management of to other, hungrier, more focussed people. That’s a potential way to scale up. But it’s not entirely clear that this the big strategic focus. Especially as they claim they’d also willingly support these other products in maintenance mode forever.
They say it’s odd. But that that’s cool because they like to be unorthodox. I guess what seems weird to me is that this just doesn’t seem “fun”. Does that mean that S37 are becoming the poster-children for “anti-fun”?
Bruce Eckel on Grass Farming
Update : (Hat-tip Folknology) Michael Pollan talk at TED
Update 2 : I wonder, actually, if “grass farming” could be the new “pattern languages”?
What I mean is, patterns gave us a new way of thinking about the architecture of large software systems, and in particular thinking about their dynamics.
It seems that if we take the idea of grass-farming seriously, we’re really talking about understanding the symbiotic relationships between species (and lets translate that to software-systems / agents) and finding ways to tune the interactions between them for improved performance (or resilience if that’s what we prefer).
It’s a bold but simple metaphor which I think inspires a lot of productive thinking. Perhaps not as rich as Alexander’s work, but still a powerful idea to muse on. And I can imagine people starting to document the various symbiotic interdependencies using patterns.
George Monbiot has a good piece on pursuing the work you want.
So my final piece of advice is this: when faced with the choice between engaging with reality or engaging with what Erich Fromm calls the “necrophiliac” world of wealth and power, choose life, whatever the apparent costs may be.