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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Basecamp: Switching Focus from Web Design to App Development Paid Off

Basecamp is a Chicago-based software company that generates business-oriented web apps. It is a SaaS (Software as a Service) company. Jason Fried, Ernest Kim, and Carlos Segura set up the company in 1999. Basecamp started its journey as a web design firm. However, it switched its concentration to website app development in 2004. 

Since 2005, Basecamp has been actively developing several paid and complimentary software items. However, the flagship product of the firm, Basecamp, is still quite admired. Basecamp is essentially an app for project management that assists both small and big commercial enterprises to handle their activities effectively.

Currently, over 16 million subscribers throughout the world use Basecamp. The firm stated revenue of $25 million in 2019.

About Basecamp

Founded in 1999, Basecamp is a privately-operated firm that deals in web application development. The company is known for its flagship product Basecamp. After that, it launched a series of products like Highrise, Campfire, and Backpack. 

At first, Ruby on Rails, the open-source web app software framework was generated for core implementation at 37signals. However, the public launch took place in 2004. 

In 2014 February, Basecamp assumed a new plan, concentrating wholly on Basecamp, the flagship item of the firm and a software package. Subsequently, the name of the firm was also changed to Basecamp from 37signals. David Heinemeier Hansson and Jason Fried brought out many publications under the brand name 37signals.

Products and services of Basecamp

The products and services of Basecamp are mentioned below:

    • Basecamp – Web-oriented project management tool, introduced in 2004. The subsequent versions are Basecamp Next (launched in 2012) and Basecamp 3 (launched in 2014). 
    • Ruby on Rails – Open-source web app framework devised by David Heinemeier Hansson, presently functioning as a collaborator with Basecamp.
    • Campfire – A business-based online chatting facility, introduced in 2006. Afterward, it was combined with Basecamp 3.
  • Hey – Superiorquality email facility launched in 2020 June.
  • Trix – Used as a productive text editor
  • Turbolinks – Used as a convenient navigation tool for web apps
  • Stimulus – A Javascript software framework 

Basecamp: How it all started

The name of the firm 37signals was initially adopted from the 37 astronomical telescope signals distinguished by Paul Horowitz, a famous stargazer, as prospective communications from extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI). Operations on the oldest and also the flagship product of the firm, Basecamp, started in 2003. It was basically an app devised for project management handling. 

By 2005, Basecamp had shifted from advisory activities to concentrate particularly on its indigenous web apps. The web app framework Ruby on Rails was drawn out from the activities dedicated to Basecamp and launched in the form of an open-source app. There was a proclamation from the company that Jeff Bezos, the CEO and founder of Amazon, the technology behemoth performed the acquisition of a minority stakeholding through Bezos Expeditions, his private investment firm. During the same year, the name of the CEO of 37signals, Jason Fried, was enlisted in the TR35 survey conducted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) rewarding researchers and engineers below 35 years of age for their trailblazing innovations and explorations.

The name was modified to Basecamp from 37signals in 2014, and the company preferred to concentrate specifically on their indigenous products. Till August 2018, the product named Highrise also ceased acknowledging new registrations. 

According to the narrative of Jason Fried, the origination of Basecamp, which came into existence on 5th February 2004, was almost improbable. It all began in 2003. At that time, they worked as a web design company. Firms solicited their services for restyling and streamlining their websites. 

At that moment, they were doing outstanding business and were quite engaged with that. However, Jason admits that they were unsystematic at that time. They took on several projects simultaneously but things were not falling in place for them. They were taking excessive time to complete their projects. They were committing a faux pas with crucial products and there were also some misperceptions and blunders. At that time, they were dependent on emails for all the activities. Emails proved to be outstanding tools for various purposes but they do not work that well for extensive ventures. Things went astray and people became overlooked in discussions and there were no options that they could resort to for sorting out their concerns. As a result, they began searching for an efficient project management tool. They required a tool that would aid them to convey concepts, manage the assignments given, and offer deliverables to the stakeholders. It was as easy as that.

They attempted with one or two tools. However, they were quite complex and difficult to implement. Therefore, they reverted to their conventional method of communication   – email. That was the sole backup for them. However, their issues remained. 

They became upset and resolved to create an indigenous project management app. After one or two months, they could prepare something. They began using their tool with the prevailing clientele. 

Instantly, they witnessed improvement in their projects. They got back the peace of mind they were longing for. Clients observed their endeavor for improvement and they heartily valued the better interaction and management. 

Afterward, their clients began questioning them what software they were utilizing to operate those ventures. Comes out that they wished to utilize it for their internal assignments. 

Maybe, they developed a product there. Therefore, they gave the finishing touch to it, rated it appropriately, and showcased it on the marketplace. As a consequence, Basecamp came into existence on 5th February 2004. 

They made the declaration on their official blog. Just within thirty days, Basecamp had attained one hundred customers who were ready to pay money. After that, hundreds more were added. Within just 12 months, the company was producing higher revenue for itself in comparison to the web design venture. They became a blockbuster! Therefore, Basecamp ceased to design websites and channeled all its energy to software development. 

Shortly, Basecamp found its place in government offices, schools, advisory agencies, churches, publication houses, and many other industries across the world. The chronicles just kept coming and the business of Basecamp was expanding.

At present, after an extensive term of 22 years, more than 20,000,000 individuals have been involved in Basecamp projects. In addition, thousands of firms register for utilizing Basecamp weekly.     

Jason and all other team members of Basecamp are thankful to both their employees and customers due to their extraordinary growth. They say only word-of-mouth was sufficient to achieve success at this level.  The customers of the company turned into its evangelists just due to the reason that they admired Basecamp from the very beginning. They entirely owe their success to their customer base. 

Basecamp features an exceptional team that is dedicated to providing the best possible service to their customers. They always communicate with their customers frequently. Their goal is to aid people to do their jobs in an improved way. 

Basecamp has proved that one does not need to set up a huge company to make a significant impact. From generating one of the oldest SaaS web applications, devising Ruby on Rails to operating an isolated firm 10 years ahead of other businesses catching up, Basecamp made waves and innovated outstanding software products that transformed the world of the web.



 

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Kiara Dawson
Kiara Dawson comes from an Engineering background, with a specialization in Information Technology. She has a keen interest and expertise in Web Development, Data Analytics, and Research. She trusts in the process of growth through knowledge and hard work.

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