A few years ago, I was looking to solve a problem that, in hindsight, didn’t need solving. Specifically, I wanted to have a system in place for legal clients to have easy access to their digital documents. After some research and trials (why are nearly all legal-focused software/services terrible?), I ended up choosing Basecamp.
I have read several books by Basecamp’s founders, and I believed (and continue to believe) in the company. So I spent time and money making the transition of many legal files into a Basecamp install and spent client attention getting them into the system. This was no small investment for me. Basecamp costs $1,000 per year. Moreover, it is a web service and not particularly automation friendly. I figured out work-arounds, but my traditional bag of tricks did not work, and everything I did in relation to my legal files took … just … a … little … longer.
OmniFocus recently reminded me that I am a few months away from my annual Basecamp renewal, so I spent some time looking into my usage. In doing so, I realized that only 3% of my clients were using it as I envisioned. I spoke with a few clients about this, and one explained to me, “Dave, I’m paying you for a service. Don’t make me learn software to do so.”
There is, however, a plot twist. The purpose of the Basecamp experiment was to solve a perceived problem with the law practice, but since I had the account, I also started using it for administration of the MacSparky bits. My virtual assistant liked Basecamp and, from the beginning, it was a very convenient place for us to work together. I spent some time looking at other collaboration tools and none of them are particularly appealing. So while I am going shut down my paid account, I will remain in Basecamp with a free personal account, limited to three projects. That is plenty for us to keep things rolling at MacSparky.
Plan on future posts here about automation and file management since now I am neck-deep in it.