I am not angry, this is just the end of a love story, and i want to say goodbye.
From then on, you have been sort of an idol to me, a real hero. You were so admirable. You got a lot of things right that others didn’t. I was in love. I praised you. I mentioned you in countless presentations, hundreds of screenshots and many talks. You have been a source of inspiration for me, and i want to thank you.
I was proud to know you. But not anymore.
Things move on. Neither you are beautiful anymore, nor you are the coolest girl at the party. Yes, i am a bit disappointed. In case you’re interested in, here is why i leave.
These are slides from the first day we’ve met.
I was very impressed when you said: “Say no by default”. As you can see, i even kept your slides to remember. I know very well the problem of too much features leading to crappy software. Your beauty came from inside, from your virginity. Saying “no” seemed pretty obvious the right thing. Like a boss.
But as it turns out, in the long run, after 6 years, i must say that the result is disappointing. You proved yourself wrong, i think.
You improved in these years, but you didn’t take the next step. Your innovations i am aware of: “due dates for milestones” and recently, the new calendar. For me, you seem to have said “no” too often.
You didn’t integrate the Writeboard into Basecamp.
You still don’t have a real newsfeed.
You don’t allow me to switch off unnecessary tabs to prevent confusion of my poor co-workers.
You didn’t develop task and ticket management workflows like Jira has. There is no tracking of work times.
I could go on.
Others are more beautiful now. For me, Podio is the new Basecamp. I love the idea of building self-defined information items, although it’s true that her (inter)face is still ugly and cannot match with yours. But i don’t care, because she will improve. Even now at this early stage, she is more useful for me than you. Of course this happens all the time, different people love different software, and maybe i have changed.
But what really disappoints me, is that you don’t understand.
Life is change. Everything is on the move. It flows. You cannot step in the same river twice. If you want to keep a relationship alive, you have to change. You have to take risks, the risk of breaking up. And if you take risks, you might fail. But remember – the courage you showed in the first place was one of the reasons i fell in love with you.
But there was a chance to renew our love. It began so promising.
A lot of your other lovers have been waiting long for you to launch a good app. Finally, you came up with Basecamp Mobile. You might have had good reasons not to build a native app and try something different. A lot of people i know, mostly developers, cheered. While i am a big fan of the open web too, i am really grateful for that you tried to prove what is possible.
The result was – well – i call it painful. You have built so many great things in the web browser, how come you don’t see it? Even on the best phones and networks, your overall appearance is annoying – compared to a well done native app. You are way too slow and far not responsive enough. In fact you are so bad, that if someone asks me about what i think about HTML5 apps, i am answering now: check out Basecamp Mobile. How can we expect to do better if they can’t do it?
It was a nice try, you could have easily learned from it.
But instead, you are starting to talk weird. 10 Apps is all people need? Only because someone does not use more than 10 apps, a diversity of thousands of apps is irrelevant? I might use only 10 apps too, but certainly they are not the same 10 than somebody other’s. You are way wrong, and it is well justified to say you are in an insider bubble.
You could have aimed to be baked into the OSes with your applications, just like twitter is now baked into iOS. I was desperately hoping you would succeed. Your UIs would be as snappy and funny as Angry Birds’s, and people would say, why should i use the desktop when i can also do this in the phone?
(I am not saying that everyone should build a native app because i know it is awfully expensive to do. But then you could have said: sorry, i cannot afford to support apps. But do not try to make me believe this is the better strategy.)
With this, you finally lost me. Certainly, you don’t care. But i feel sorry to say: it’s over.
One More Thing
In May 2007, i upgraded my free Basecamp account to the “Personal Plan”, which was $12/month. I payed for 42 months. That’s $504 in total. I managed some, not all, my projects with it. I always was a bit pissed with the storage limits, but i admit that cleaning up a bit solved that issue.
A week ago, i considered reactivating my account for a certain project. And guess what, i was shocked. Now i should pay at least
$49 $24? That is more than close to what i pay for my Adobe CS, which is approximately $35 when you write it off over 3 years. I consider Basecamp as ridiculously overpriced. No chance that i will sign up again under these conditions.
[update: i didn’t recognize the tiny line at the bottom, offering the $24 “basic” plan, thanks for that correction.]
[update: There is a discussion thread in the Hacker News related to this post, I responded to comments from Jason Fried an Joel Spolski here]