Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Backpack to the Basecamp

37Signals (maker of Basecamp and Ta-Da Lists) has two new projects in development: Writeboard and Backpack. There has been quite a lot of speculation recently about what Backpack is exactly. The tagline currently says, "Backpack helps you bring life's loose ends together".

My current guess is that Backpack will be a place for quick and easy file storage, somewhat similar to a .Mac account. The space would have to be quite small and built to be shared simply with friends and family. Larger storage would be available for a fee.

The cool part is how this idea relates to Basecamp. A significant missing piece in Basecamp is the ability to easily share files with people working on a project, whether PDF, Word, or images. Since we use Basecamp for print and web design projects, we are frequently wanting to share copy, designs, and comps in one centralized location. If you have an FTP server of your own, you can upload the file through Basecamp, to your FTP site, and then link to it within the project, all of which means it is rarely done.

If Backpack offered simple file storage, home users would heavily use the free or low cost service and evangelize the product to others. But Basecamp customers would happily pay an additional fee to incorporate document storage into their projects.

We should have the answer by the end of this month.