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Getting Real by Mind Map: Getting Real
3.7 stars - 3 reviews range from 0 to 5

Getting Real

Getting Real by 37signals, Copyright © 2006 by 37signals\

The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful web application


build less than others

Getting real is less, flowcharts, features, papers, abstractions, options, wirframes, people

non-essentiel features

forces you to deal with reality.

solve my problems

in software

=> everybody's problem

fund yourself

external funds, you have to answers to them

constraints force creativity

fix time and budget

launch on time, less is better than crappy everything, flexibility

launch on budget

Have an Enemy


on similar projects, fight what is wrong

could be, rigid rules, structure

marketing message, is a good, to compare your product

don't be obsessed, by the ennemy

stay lean

easier to change

and change, must be easy, and cheap

mass is increased by, long terms contracts, to much staff, permanent decisions, meetings, hardware, software, proprietary data formats, long term roadmaps, and reduced, jit thinking, multi tasking, embracing constraints, not trying to lift them, less software, less code, less features, small team, open data, open to admit mistakes, simplicity, better to implement cutting edge features, cheap and fast changes are small's secret weapon

tree musketteers




Be yourself

familiar language


communicate with me

embrace constaints

not enough, time, money, people

that's a good thing

constraints drive innovation, force focus

big tasks in, small bits

IM, email

work with what you have


be explicit

one-point vision for the app

what dows it stand for?

vision, ex, basecamp, project management is communication, campfire, group chat over IM sucks

ignore details early on

work from large to small

details reveal themselves as you use what you're building

It’s a Problem When It’s a Problem

Hire the Right Customers

know who your app, is intended for, to please them, they would evangelize the product

Scale Later

You don’t have a scaling problem yet

Make Opinionated Software

The best software has a vision.

have an attitude


Half, Not Half-Assed

What you really want to do is build half a product that kicks ass., not a half-ass product

start with the heart of the project, let s base future decision on real world usage, let it gain traction

eassential only

why didn’t you do this or why didn’t you do that?

Because it just doesn’t matter.

Figuring out what matters and leaving out the rest.

start with no

stuck with implemented features

like adopting a child

like "fight club", not now, if it keeps coming back, considere it

we don't want 1000 features, we want the bests

hidden costs

simple ideas, might snowball, into major headache

For every new feature you need to..., 1. Say no., 2. Force the feature to prove its value., 3. If “no” again, end here. If “yes,” continue..., 4. Sketch the screen(s)/ui., 5. Design the screen(s)/ui., 6. Code it., 7-15. Test, tweak, test, tweak, test, tweak, test, tweak..., 16. Check to see if help text needs to be modified., 17. Update the product tour (if necessary)., 18. Update the marketing copy (if necessary)., 19. Update the terms of service (if necessary)., 20. Check to see if any promises were broken., 21. Check to see if pricing structure is affected., 22. Launch., 23. Hold breath.

build what you can manage, sustain

forget feature requests

read them

throw them away

forget them

the important ones will keep bubbling up

hold the mayo

ask users what they don't want

what they'd remove

what they don't use

what bother them the most

human solutions

build for general concepts

encourage people to create their own solutions

build a framework, so people have guidelines, and build something they can customize, create their own way

Interface Design

Interface First

programming is the expensive part

interface is cheap, easy to change

the interface is your product

Epicenter Design

focus on the core, the prime content, the true essence

then build outward, second most critical element, and third, and menu, and etc, allow also to start the dialogue between designer and developper right away


Three State Solution

regular, default screen when everything is ok

blank, first time sight where there is no data

error, when something goes wrong

The Blank State

at design time, the app is full with fake data, customer decides if an application is worthy at this blank stage, but it's empty for him

first look first impressions, you never get a second chance

helpful blank state, quick tutorial, sample screenshot, populated with data, how to get started, answer key questions, what is this page, what do I do know, How will it look once it's full, tell the story

Get Defensive

things will go wrong online

your app could work great 90% of the time, but nobody will forget if you abandon them

defensive design, make, or break, the user experience

strees on error messages

crisis points

Context Over Consistency

give people just what matters, it's ok to be inconsistent

give them what they need

it's better to be right than to be consistent

Copywriting is Interface Design

keep it short and sweet

no internal lingo

good writing is good design

One Interface

admin screens, often looks like crap, becaus time is spent on public-facing interface, build them into the regular interface, the fewer screens you have, to worry about, the better they'll turn out

see also

how to create wireframes


Less software

KISS, keep it simple, stupid, less features, less code, less waste

restate any hard problem, into simple problem, easier to implement, and support, easier to understand, Untitled, and use, maybe not exactly solve the same problem, is ok, solve 80% of the original, for 20% of the effort, is a major win

deal with the problem of today

leave what's too hard, unless absolutely essential, search for alternate way to do it

Optimize for Happiness

a happy programmer is a productive programmer, who write simple, readable code, clean, expressive, readable, elegant, approches, they have fun

don't just choose industry standards or performance metrics

would you be happy to work 8 hours a day with such environment, passion, pride, craftmanship

work with tools you love

Code speaks

listen when your code pushes back

listen to your code, good design will appear, listen to technical people, leave them time to fix things

Manage Debt

Pay off your code and design “bills”

hack some bad code, or design, and you're building up debt, ok to do this, often needed, but you need to recognize it as a debt, an pay it off at some point, by cleaning up the hairy code

Open Doors

get your data into the world, RSS, API, don't try to lock-in your customers


race to running software

up and running quickly, flush what don't work, skip details, approximations, wireframes, stories, mockups

rinse and repeat

let it, morph, and evolve, the app grow, speak to you


Get your story straight. Make sure the pieces work. Then launch and revise., Seth Godin

idea to implementation

brainstorm, our own needs, big questions

paper sketches, rough interfaces

HTML screens


avoid preferences

decide the little details, eg, 25 items/page, reverse order

evil, <-, more software

busy work, for the people


magical word

mistakes will happen, ok, change quick, correct, don't, paralyis through analysis, move, move forward

test in the wild

test, real people, real data, real feedback

formal usability testing, <-, too stiff, people don't perform well in fornt of a camera, release beta

shrink your time

weeks, monthes, are, fantasies, you just don't know, what will happen so far

break down timeframes, 1 projet de 12 semaines, =, 12 projets d'une semaine, 30h, = 6-10 hour chunks, x 3

apply to other problems too, smaller pieces




Untitled, why, fantasies, don't reflect reality, appeasement, making everyone feel involved, never expose costs, tough choices, illusion of agreement, huh? that's not how we described it, force you to make important decision, when you have the least information, lead to feature overload, no cost to add a feature, please someone, don't let you evolve, change, reassess, you're stuck with it, alternative, one page story, about what the app needs to do, us plain language, make it quick, no more than one page, one day, build the interface, quick and simple paper sketches, common ground that everyone can agree on, then html

Don't do Dead Documents

don't stop here, don't produce docs, build don't write, but mock up, prototype, documents living outside the application are worthless, everything should evolve into the real thing

Tell me a quick story

Write stories, not details, don't be technical, don't design, the flow of what happens, if so, include screens, stick to the experience, not on the details, think strategy, not tactics, tactics will fall once you begin building

use real words

insert actual text instead of lorem ipsum, changes the way copy is viewed, won't see the little variations, is a veil between you and reality, type it, do not copy it, shows how long fields should be, tables will expand, what it truly looks like, Do as your customers do and you’ll understand them better. When you understand them better, and feel what they feel, you’ll build a better interface.

personify your product

think of it as a person

what type of person do you want it to be

serious? loose? paranoid? trusting? modest?

once you decide, keep it in mind, as the product is built, when you change ask, if it fits its personnality

your product has a voice, and is talking to your customer 24 hours a day

Pricing and Signup

Free Samples

give something for free

apple, itunes, sell iPod, music

Easy On, Easy Off

big button

announce 1 mn signup

let's try it for free

cancel my account, don't trap, your users, open data, people can get their data

Silly Rabbit, Tricks are for Kids

avoid long-term contract

1 month contract

no setup fees

no contract, cancel anytime

A Softer Bullet

bad news?, price increase

make it painless, advance notice

grandfather perdio for customer

The Organization


don't split into silos, integrate, work together

multiple talents, different hats

Alone Time

get in the alone zone, takes time, interruption is the enemy

where the development magic happens

4-5 h, working together

setup a rule, shut up and get to work, 4 hour without a word, no, im, phone, twitter

Meetings Are Toxic

don't have meetings, us quick email, im, why, break the day in small incoherent pieces, abstract not code, small amount of info, always a moron waste your time, drift-off subject, nobody prepare it, lousy or no agenda

if you must, 30 mn, as few people as possible, clear agenda

Seek and celebrate small victories

realease something today, long release kill the celebrations, find a 4 hour vixtory, a day a week, could be, new simple feature, small enhancement, quick wins, let you celebrate, and is a great motivator

motivation, is the most important thing, otherwise, its going to, suck


Hollywood Launch

teaser, preview, launch, marketing, full, spead the gospel, blogs links, post about progress, how many people have signed up?, beta, golden tickest, describe the product, screenshots, main features, tell people about the ideas, manifesto, drop hints, let people know what you're working on, post a logo, blog, about dev, stay vague, plant the seed, get a site up, collect emails, from folks, who are interested, try to get boing boing, slashdot, digg

A Powerful Promo Site

overview, explain, the app, the benefits

screen captures and video, show, what it looks like

manifesto, philosophy, ideas

case studies, real life example, what's possible

tour, guide to various featurs

buzz, testimonial, quotes, reviews, press, etc.

forum, help one another

pricing and sign-up, get people into your app, as quickly as possible

weblog, news, tips

Ride the Blog Wave

can be more effective than advertising, cheaper too

tips, tricks, link


Backpack, 10'000, signed up, in 24hours

Promote Through Education

share your knowledge, with the world

promotional technique

education, teaching

get your name, and your product's name, in front of people

people you educate, your evangelist

forms, tricks, tips, speak, conferences, stay afterwards to meet and gret, workshops, give interviews, write articles, write books, the Yellow Fade Technique, the subtle spotlight on recently changed, post, huge traffiic, worked as an educational, promotional, level, open source, rails

is about karma, helping others

Feature Food

features, new, interesting, cheap and effective way to build your buzz, DON'T add the latest obscure tech, to gain some notice

rails, -> programmers

ajax, Business 2.0 magazine, naming 37signals a "key player in Ajax", as Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft

RSS, -> Bloggers

iCal integration, minor feature, -> mac press

Track Your Logs

study your logs to track buzz, who's talking about you, who's linking to you, who's bitching about you

leave comments at, make your presence felt, Technorati, Blogdex, Delicious, Daypop, thank people, invite them, negative, pay attention, show you are listening, respond toughtfully, we apreciate your feedback but we did it this way because..., ok, you raise a good point ..

Inline Upsell

promote upgarde opportunities inside the app

free, -> paid

customers, -> upgrade

when someone tries to upload, we explain why, encourage them to the paid version

Name Hook

easy name




don't bother for the exact domainname, get,

Post-Launch, One Month Tuneup, major update, 30 days after launch, knowing that, you can concentrate, on crucial component for the launch, not squeeze in few more things, Keep the Posts Coming, go on blogging, shows your product is alive, once a week, more if you can, include, faqs, how-tos, tips and tricks, new features, updates & fixes, buzz/press, talk humanly, friendly, personal, Better, Not Beta, private betas are fine, public betas are bullshit, tells that you are not ready, take responsability for what you are releasing, All Bugs Are Not Created Equal, prioritize your bugs, ignore some of them, fix data stuffs first, bugs happen, don't seek someone to blame constantly, don't fear them, be honest with customers, Ride Out the Storm, new features, ->, reactions, often negative, negative reactions, are almost always louder, more passionate, than positive ones, don't panic, don't change, wait 24-48 hours, things settle down, don't move, response after, is more reasoned, Keep Up With the Joneses, subscribe, rss, to your product, to your competitors, technorati, feedster, pubsub, Beware the Bloat Monster, resist to scaling up, more mature != more complicated, don't inflate, desktop soft, needs to sell new versions every year, -> new features, web-based software, = subscription model, Untitled, monthly fee, provide an ongoing valuable service, Go With The Flow, be open to new paths, changes in direction, part of the beauty, is fluidity, you can tweak, be open to the fact tha your original idea, may not be the best one


Feel the Pain

traditionally, designers + developpers, in the kitchen, support, handle customers, you never hear what customers say

avoid building walls, don't outsource support to a third party, you need to be annoyed too, hear what they say, better support

The way to compete with the big guys is by

starting small and paying attention to every one of your customers.

Zero Training

inline help, faqs, a problem?, upload a logo which doesn't replacethe previous one?, link to a faq, I don't see my logo?

build a tool that requires zero training, yahoo, google, amazon

Answer Quick

respond within 1/2 hour, 90mn

say something even if it's not perfect

Tough Love

be willing to say no, #1 request, is keep it simple, no IE5, 7% market, 93% other is better, you won't love your product, if it's full of bunch you don't agree with

consumer is not always right, sometime you just have to piss off some people, c'est la vie

In Fine Forum

forum, chat

let people help each others

eliminate the middle man - me -

customers post tricks, tips, features requests, stores and more

peoplo want to help one another

Publicize Your Screwups

get bad news out, and out of the way

tell people, be open, be honnest, before they know

fast for bad

slowly for good, prolong the vibes



everyone can, have an idea, find a coder, write a blog

difference between you and everyone, is how well you execute, succes is all about great execution, doing lots of things right, key is balance


most important ingredient


pride in their work

sweat the details

more than just software

special ops forces

white stripes


eliminate bureaucracy

try applying them to different aspects of your life

keep in touch

did it work?

blog, Untitled,