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Good series, Joel

I really enjoyed the Road to FugBugz series. Informative, amusing, interesting and insightful.

Good work, once again, Joel.
Mr Jack
Monday, April 04, 2005
 
 
I agree.  Very useful and interesting.

I was one of the many waiting most of the day Thursday for it to show up.

The thing is, it's really an advertisement (albeit an informative one) for FogCreek and FogBugz.

Once again, Joel continues the "Joel on Software" unusual way of doing business.  "I'll advertise my product on my website in such a way that people are begging me to tell them more."

Very nice indeed!
Kyle Send private email
Monday, April 04, 2005
 
 
Kind of makes you wonder, with all of Joel's proselytizing about how to run a small business/tech startup, how much of his success is due to JoS itself.  Without the top-notch word of mouth generated by this site, would it really be feasible to hire the best and the brightest, give them unparalleled benefits, and still be in the black (which I assume Fog Creek is)?

In other words, could a company like Fog Creek succeed if you replaced Joel with someone just as savvy, but without his gifts for written communication?

I hope so, but it's not certain by any means.
Tail of the "g"
Monday, April 04, 2005
 
 
Not just gifts for written communication; look at the 'In Person' box on the site.

Basically, he turned himself into an advertisement for Fogcreek. We all know that word of mouth is the only way to convince a non-ignoramus to purchase a product; and the whole JOS concept is, as far as I can tell, aimed at generating as much positive word of mouth as possible. It's undoubtedly far more effective than any amount of ads.

So, no, I don't think that Fogcreek would've become profitable without the blog and messageboards.

Monday, April 04, 2005
 
 
Good communication skills are imperative for success in any job.

I recommend starting some sort of original-content blog or website for everyone capable of doing so.  Writing something on a regular basis can improve your style and clarity dramatically, and publishing it publicly, even to a small audience, will hold you to high standards.
Marco Arment Send private email
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
 
 
Marco: but what we're discussing is the direct impact of JoS's success on Fog Creek's bottom line.  I, too, would like to see more people practice their writing.  But if *everyone* tried to garner publicity by having a blog, it would dilute the market too much and it wouldn't be profitable for anybody.
Tail of the "g"
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
 
 
If Joel only discussed Fog Creek's products, and nothing else, it would appeal to a very small audience: current and potential customers of Fog Creek's products.

Joel On Software is so successful because it has excellent-quality original content that appeals to a wide audience, not just users or potential users of the products he makes and advertises.

I work for a search engine company.  I also have a personal website where I publish general-audience articles and reviews.  On my website, I occasionally mention my employer, and the majority of my website readers become users of my company's search engine.

This is what Joel does, and it works well.
Marco Arment Send private email
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
 
 
Again, I don't deny that that strategy works... at the moment.  But the true test of it as (part of) a business model is whether it would continue to be effective if everyone did it, and I just don't think that's true.

If every CEO, CIO, CTO, IT Director, whatever tried to keep their business in the black using a blog (even if it covered general IT topics), the market would become so crowded that the strategy would only work for the best of the best of the best.  For everyone else it would be almost utterly wasted effort.  At least, that's my guess.

So my point from the original post is, would Joel's "keep employees happy at almost any cost --> getting the best employees + being super productive" business strategy be a viable one without the extra bonus of JoS?  If I couldn't write my way out of a paper bag, would I still be able to open a spacious IT office in NYC with large salaries and six weeks vacation and be successful?
Tail of the "g"
Tuesday, April 05, 2005
 
 

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