Swimming Naked

Only when the tide goes out do you discover who’s been swimming naked.

-Warren Buffet

From Farnam Street.

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Corporate Naming Strategy – Basecamp

I’m a big believer in Al Ries, and it is rare to see good examples of companies focusing in on one name for one product for one company for one consumer pain point.

37 Signals re-branding and restructuring to focus purely on Basecamp was a phenomenal example.

Moving forward, we will be a one product company. That product will be Basecamp. Our entire company will rally around Basecamp. With our whole team – from design to development to customer service to ops – focused on one thing, Basecamp will continue to get better in every direction and on every dimension.

When we meet people, and they ask us what we do, we say we work for 37signals. If they aren’t in the tech world, they’ll squint and say “what’s that?”. When we say “we’re the folks who make Basecamp”, their eyes light up and open wide. “Basecamp! Oh I love Basecamp! My wife uses Basecamp too! Even our church uses Basecamp!” We hear this kind of response over and over. People just love their Basecamp.

So that got us thinking… While 37signals is well known in tech circles, far more people around the world actually know us for Basecamp. And since we’re going to be completely focused on Basecamp moving forward, why don’t we just go all in on “Basecamp”.

So here’s the second big announcement: We’re changing our name. 37signals is now Basecamp. “37signals” goes into the history books. From now on, we are Basecamp. Basecamp the company, Basecamp the product. We’re one and the same.

Great Uber Strategy Analysis

A solid ride share market analysis from stratechery.com

WHY UBER FIGHTS

The implications of this analysis cannot be underestimated: there is an absolutely massive worldwide market many times the size of the taxi market that has winner-take-all characteristics. Moreover, that winner is very unlikely to be challenged by a new entrant which will have far worse liquidity and an inferior cash position: Uber (presuming they are the winner) will simply lower prices and bleed the new entrant dry until they go out of business.

To put it another way, I think that today’s environment where multiple services, especially Lyft, are competing head-on with Uber is a transitional one. Currently that competition is resulting in low prices and suppressed driver wages, but I expect Uber to have significant pricing power in the long run and to be more generous with drivers than they are now, not for altruistic reasons, but for the sake of increasing liquidity and consistent pricing.

In short, Uber is fighting all out for an absolutely massive prize, and, as Suster noted, such fights are much more akin to Realpolitik. As Wikipedia defines it:

Realpolitik is politics or diplomacy based primarily on power and on practical and material factors and considerations, rather than explicit ideological notions or moral or ethical premises