‘CAUSE THEY SENT US SWAG

fogcreek-swag

Not really, but kinda…

Perhaps you weren’t aware of this, but good software developers, such as all of us who work at Diverse Solutions, mostly just work for employer-supplied snacks and drinks, the occasional day where they can mooch lunch off their boss, and free t-shirts. Everything else is just gravy. In exchange for the less-than-minimum-wage salary and the sweat shop, chained-to-your-desk working conditions though, good software developers also need great tools to help them create that software that you all know and love.

fog-creek-rocks

Enter Fog Creek Software, a company that headlines itself with the tagline “We help the world’s best developers make better software.”

We can certainly attest to that; they really do make awesome software. We use their products on a daily basis to help create our own products. Specifically, we use their code management tool, Kiln, and their project management tool, FogBugz. We couldn’t live without either of those two products nowadays.

This isn’t a post about how fantastic their software is though; nearly any software developer could melt your ears talking about that — even the crappy ones. Rather, it’s a testament to how incredible their customer service is. I estimate that roughly 99.5294% of their customers never even thought about their customer service simply because their software just works. You can even hold it any way you want — no jacket required — without it killing your session. My coworkers and I have used their software for easily 10+ years now (combined usage among us all) and we’ve never encountered a bug until now!

Muahahahaha, they really ARE human! As I know all of our customers attest to on a daily basis, we are 100% perfect and without a single blemish on our record. We really thought that we and Fog Creek were the only two remaining bug-free software development companies in the world. We didn’t like sharing the pedestal with them though and so we’re always on the hunt to their dirty little secret, their one elusive bug.

I finally tracked one down just the other day and I couldn’t wait to see what their system was for dealing with such an “undocumented feature.” It feels like I’ve finally graduated from the software engineering school of hard knocks to know that I’ve been developing software for long enough to find a bug in one of Fog Creek Software’s products. Anyway, I emailed them with a certain smug satisfaction hidden in my heart knowing that I was about to wake the proverbial Maytag repair man.

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Their response? “You found a bug!” The email went on to describe how they now had to go through the pain of resetting their massive “1043 days without a bug” sign outside the front door and that they were going to hold a moment of silence in their office this morning. They’ll be pulling off their party hats they’ve had on for the past few years, turning on one of their computers, and putting their CEO & programmer to work on the product. They apologized profusely, told me that the original programmer was going to “get a big spankin’”, and assured me it’d never ever happen again. They also sent us those sweet t-shirts as a part of the sacred ritual known only to programmers to recognize the accomplishment of the event. Most people prefer gobs cash or stock as rewards, but we programmers prefer loose-fitting, branded apparel instead.

For real though, what a cool company! While we can’t imagine a better place to work than Diverse Solutions, we also recognize respect when we see it. Check out their about page and the well-known co-founder’s essay on how they treat developers. From their about page:

To recruit the best programmers, we’ve invested in the nicest work environment we can get. In 2003, we moved into a new office that was custom-designed by a top architect to be the ideal programming workspace, with private offices, windows everywhere, a lounge with a big plasma TV, and every feature a programmer could ever want. We even have twenty power outlets at each desk, at desk height, four with UPS power. That’s how fanatical we are about catering to programmers. Oh, and really comfortable chairs. We never hesitate to buy the tools we need to get our work done (standard issue: two large LCD monitors, one 30”, the other 21”).

Pretty cool, eh? We don’t love them though because of how they treat their employees; we love them because of what their employees create. Their FogBugz and Kiln products rock our world. If you’re a software developer, you probably already pay for their software or use their free 2-person startup edition; if you’re don’t, you need to. Even if you don’t develop software for a living and you think you could use some project management software, you really should check out FogBugz’ features, testimonials, and super reasonable pricing.

Just remember, out of all the software developers who work at Diverse Solutions and recently received a free gift from them, 100% of them recommend that you go plunk down some of your hard-earned (or not) money with Fog Creek Software.