BaseJumpr: BaseCamp -> ActiveCollab

BaseJumpr has a fascinating service offering: they export your data from your Basecamp account, producing a set of files ready to import in to ActiveCollab, the open source Basecamp-sorta-clone-like-program. They then, if you wish to buy their hosting service, create an instance of ActiveCollab for you and import your data there. (They host your file storage on Amazon S3, so they can easily offer ample storage.)

I find this very appealing, yet also a bit impolite; 37Signals has built a good business on Basecamp, the ActiveCollab team has created (well, is creating) an open source clone, while BaseJumpr did neither of these things yet stands to gain (at 37s’s expense). However, I doubt BaseJumpr is a significant threat or bother to 37Signals because most users interested in the open source ActiveCollab would likely not be using the Basecamp service in the first place.

Speaking of Basecamp, I am fascinated by 37Signals’ business success with such a simple (but well executed) application. I tried out Basecamp myself, and found it far too feature-anemic for my taste; but I could readily see its appeal and simplicity, and it has me thinking about the merit of building a business in a focussed niche, intentionally and happily excluding the potential customers outside it.

Update in 2009: BaseJumpr doesn’t appear to exist any more. I am curious how it worked out.