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Getting Real by Mind Map: Getting Real
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Getting Real

The Starting Line

Build Less

Underdo your competition  

What's Your Problem?

Build software for yourself  

Fund Yourself

Outside money is plan B

Fix Time and Budget, Flex Scope

Launch on time and on budget

Have an Enemy

Pick a fight

It Shouldn't be a Chore

Your passion — or lack of — will shine through

Stay Lean

Less Mass

The leaner you are, the easier it is to change

Lower Your Cost of Change

Stay flexible by reducing obstacles to change

The Three Musketeers

Use a team of three for version 1.0

Embrace Constraints

Let limitations guide you to creative solutions  

Be Yourself

Differentiate yourself from bigger companies by being personal and friendly


What's the big idea?

Explicitly define the one-point vision for your app

Ignore Details Early On

Work from large to small

It's a Problem When It's a Problem

Don't waste time on problems you don't have yet

Hire the Right Customers

Find the core market for your application and focus solely on them

Scale Later

You don't have a scaling problem yet

Make Opinionated Software

Your app should take sides

Feature Selection

Half, Not Half-Assed

Build half a product, not a half-ass product

It Just Doesn't Matter

Essentials only

Start With No

Make features work hard to be implemented

Hidden Costs

Expose the price of new features

Can You Handle It?

Build something you can manage

Human Solutions

Build software for general concepts and encourage people to create their own solutions

Forget Feature Requests

Let your customers remind you what's important

Hold the Mayo

Ask people what they don't want


Race to Running Software

Get something real up and running quickly

Rinse and Repeat

Work in iterations

From Idea and Implementation

Go from brainstorm to sketches to HTML to coding

Avoid Preferences

Decide the little details so your customers don't have to


Decisions are temporary so make the call and move on

Test in the Wild

Test your app via real world usage

Shrink Your Time

Break it down

The Organisation


Don't split into silos

Alone Time

People need uninterrupted time to get things done

Meetings Are Toxic

Don't have meetings

Seek and Celebrate Small Victories

Release something today


Hire Less and Hire Later

Add slow to go fast

Kick the Tires

Work with prospective employees on a test-basis first

Actions, Not Words

Judge potential tech hires on open source contributions

Get Well Rounded Individuals

Go for quick learning generalists over ingrained specialists

You Can't Fake Enthusiasm

Go for happy and average over frustrated and great


Hire good writers

Interface Design

Interface First

Design the interface before you start programming

Epicentre Design

Start from the core of the page and build outward

Three State Solutions

Design for regular, blank, and error states

The Blank Slate

Set expectations with a thoughtful first-run experience

Get Defensive

Design for when things go wrong

Context Over Consistency

What makes sense here may not make sense there

Copywriting is Interface Design

Every letter matters

One Interface

Incorporate admin functions into the public interface


Less Software

Keep your code as simple as possible

Optimise for Happiness

Choose tools that keep your team excited and motivated

Code Speaks

Listen when your code pushes back

Manage Debt

Pay off your code and design "bills"

Open Doors

Get data out into the world via RSS, APIs, etc.


There's Nothing Functional about a Functional Spec

Don't write a functional specifications document

Don't Do Dead Documents

Eliminate unnecessary paperwork

Tell Me a Quick Story

Write stories, not details

Use Real Words

Insert actual text instead of lorem ipsum

Personify Your Product

What is your product's personality type?

Pricing and Signup

Free Samples

Give something away for free

Easy On, Easy Off

Make signup and cancellation a painless process

Silly Rabbit, Tricks are for Kids

Avoid long-term contracts, sign-up fees, etc.

A Softer Bullet

Soften the blow of bad news with advance notice and grandfather clauses


Hollywood Launch

Go from teaser to preview to launch

A Powerful Promo Site

Build an ace promotional site that introduces people to your product

Ride the Blog Wave

Blogging can be more effective than advertising (and it's a hell of a lot cheaper)

Solicit Early

Get advance buzz and signups going ASAP

Promote Through Education

Share your knowledge with the world

Feature Food

They're hungry for it so serve it up

Track Your Logs

Study your logs to track buzz

Inline Upsell

Promote upgrade opportunities inside the app

Name Hook

Give your app a name that's easy to remember


Feel The Pain

Tear down the walls between support and development

Zero Training

Use inline help and FAQs so your product doesn't require a manual or training

Answer Quick

Quick turnaround time on support queries should be a top priority

Tough Love

Be willing to say no to your customers

In Fine Forum

Use forums or chat to let customers help each other

Publicise Your Screwups

Get bad news out there and out of the way


One Month Tuneup

Issue a major update 30 days after launch

Keep the Posts Coming

Show your product is alive by keeping an ongoing product development blog post-launch

Better, Not Beta

Don't use "beta" as a scapegoat

All Bugs Are Not Created Equal

Prioritize your bugs (and even ignore some of them)

Ride Out the Storm

Wait until knee-jerk reactions to changes die down before taking action

Keep Up With the Joneses

Subscribe to news feeds about your competitors

Beware the Bloat Monster

More mature doesn't have to mean more complicated

Go With the Flow

Be open to new paths and changes in direction


Start Your Engines

37signals Resources


What is Getting Real?

A smaller, faster, better way to build software

About 37signals

A small team that creates simple, focused software

Caveats, disclaimers, and other preemptive strikes

Responses to some complaints we hear