Introducing the Superlist for Backpocket

We’ve just released a new version of our Backpack iPhone client, Backpocket, available on the iTunes app store for $1.99.

In this new version, we’ve added a new feature called the Superlist, which lets users put all their “starred” list items from different lists and pages into a single list so that they can see and update all their important, immediate or “do today” list items in one place. Superlist – Superconvenient!

The feature wasn’t available on Backpack, so we decided to build it into our app because it’s something we really wanted to have on top of 37signals’ already awesome web app.

About Backpocket:

Backpocket is an iPhone app that helps 37signals Backpack users access their Backpack accounts on the go with a consistent and intuitive interface that focuses on the features they use the most while on the go.

Easily access your Backpack account to create and edit pages, notes and lists on the go. Backpocket lets you manage multiple Backpack accounts and supports offline editing so you can work offline and sync your changes later. We’ll also be adding support for additional features in future.

Please check it out at

New design for Common Totes

Sorry we haven’t posted updates for a long while. We’ve mostly been caught up brewing up stuff at Mobrick. The past year saw us busy with consulting work, building custom websites for clients, and working on our own websites and experiments.

One thing we did recently was revamp our Common Totes design and user interface, mostly cleaning it up, removing clutter, simplifying the user experience and bringing the online shop upfront. Here’s how it looks now.

We like how it turned out, but we’ll keep iterating for sure. Let us know what you think.

And yes, we’re offering free shipping to Singapore and Malaysia, if you’d like to pick up a tote for yourself. 🙂

Trying out’s Publicize feature

Twitterfeed has been buggy for us lately, so we’re trying out’s Publicize feature to auto-tweet your blog posts to your linked Twitter account.

Here’s the how-to:

Success and Failure in Startups

Some time ago, I was asked in an interview with SG Entrepreneurs:

What do you see as the three most important attributes for an entrepreneur?

My answer was:

First, I think an entrepreneur needs to dare to try. It takes a bit of a leap to go out and try to do something different, and you’ll never know if it’ll work out until you give it a go. So trying is the first step, and as easy as that sounds, it can sometimes be a huge psychological hurdle.

Second, and most people will say this too, is a healthy dose of self-belief and perseverance. A lot of people are going to tell you “no,” “don’t do it,” and “it’ll never work.” You’ll also go through rounds and rounds of disappointment as things don’t work out the way you hope. You’ll need to believe in yourself (and your team) a whole lot to get over them.

Finally, I think an entrepreneur needs to not be afraid of failure, because the odds are almost always stacked against you. But so what if you fail? Just pick yourself up, learn from it, and start over. I think one thing we’ve learnt is that it’s not that hard to start, and it’s not that painful to fail. It’s executing well that’s the difficult part, and that’s what you need to focus on the most.

I think not being afraid of failure is still incredibly important, and it’s what allows us to embark on a venture in the first place. But Jason Fried of 37signals presents a very interesting and relevant perspective to this idea:

What? Failure is part of the path to success? This industry’s obsession with failure has got to stop. I don’t know when it became cool or useful, but the industry has been steeping in it for so long that it’s become normal to assume failure comes before success.

Don’t be influenced by this. If you’re starting something new go into it believing it’s going to work. You don’t have to assume you’re doomed from the start. You shouldn’t believe your first idea won’t be your best one. And you definitely shouldn’t treat your first venture as a stepping stone towards something else. What you do now, what you do first, can be the thing you do well for as long as you want to.

Yes, starting a business is hard. And you certainly could fail. I’m not suggesting failure isn’t an option. I’m only suggesting that it shouldn’t be the assumed or default outcome. It doesn’t need to be. Have confidence in your ideas, in your vision, and in your business. Assume success, not failure.


Clearly, starting out thinking that you’re going to fail and that it’ll be a badge of honour to wear isn’t going to be very good for your startup. If you don’t believe in your startup, who else will? So how do we reconcile these perspectives?

Here’s my answer – I think not being afraid of failure is very different from assuming that you’re going to fail and treating it lightly. Before you start, it’s important to not be afraid of the possibility of failure, in order to get started at all. But once you start, a healthy dose of the fear of death is one of the things that will keep you doing everything necessary and possible to keep your startup from failing. Ultimately, that’s what we’re all aiming for – to not fail, that is, to succeed.

Which brings us to our other little recent insight:

Starting up is easy, knowing whether and when to quit is very hard.

New on Zinerepublic – 28 May 09

At Zinerepublic, we believe in democratizing the magazine publishing industry and making it easier for all of us to create magazines. So we’ve introduced crowdsourcing as a way to gather articles for magazines.

On Zinerepublic, you can create a magazine using your own and other writers’ articles on the site, contribute articles for other users’ magazines, or collaborate on magazines together with your friends.

We’ve just added up a bunch of new features on Zinerepublic that will make creating and distributing your crowdsourced magazine that much easier.

Submit an article to this zine

If you’ve started a zine on Zinerepublic, other users can now submit articles for your zine by clicking the “Submit an article to this zine” link on any of your issues. You’ll get an email notifying you that someone has submitted an article for your consideration. There’s no obligation and you get to choose whether you’d like to include the article in your latest issue or not. This means it’ll be easier for you to source for articles for your zine, and easier for your friends to submit articles to you.

If you haven’t started your own zine, you can submit articles to other users’ zines using the same “Submit an article to this zine” link on any issue page. If the editor likes your article, they can include it in the latest issue of their zine. Easy eh?

Email zine to friends

You’ll also find an “Email zine to friends” button on every issue page. Use this to spread the word about zines you like on Zinerepublic. You can even import email addresses from your Gmail, Yahoo and Outlook address books. Share the love!

Invite friends to subscribe to your zine

If you’ve started a zine on Zinerepublic, you’ll find an “Invite friends to subscribe to your zine” button on every issue that you created. Use this button to publicise your zine and invite your friends to subscribe. They’ll receive a link to check out your zine and a link to sign up and automatically subscribe to your zine if they like what they see.

Add hyperlinks and embedded objects to your articles

Finally, we’ve added support for URL hyperlinks and embedded objects like Youtube, Vimeo and Tudou videos, imeem music players and many others. So any URL links you include in your articles will be clickable, and you can add videos and music to your articles by copying and pasting the “embed code” into the article text.

Which means you can now use Zinerepublic to create your own crowdsourced music review magazine with embedded music tracks, or collaborate with friends to create a crowdsourced movie review magazine with embedded trailers. Just use your imagination and the possibilities are endless!

Please check out our new features at:

and we hope to see you on Zinerepublic soon!

Viva La Revolucion!

Giant Lizards On My Feet!

Trendspotting on Shoplette: Puma First Round Lizoid King

We’re in a bit of a sneaker phase. Uh-oh… But who can ignore these Godzilla shoes? Check out the full series of Japanese monster inspired shoes from Puma’s monster pack!

Click to view item
Part of Puma’s Japanese Monster Pack. Love the green lizard skin upper and spikes on the ankle cuff. Fashioned after none other than Godzilla! Guaranteed to be a classic! from Limited Edition, Heeren, Singapore
Visit Shoplette

Yummy new tote bag designs on Common Totes

The on-going tote bag design competition on Common Totes is heating up! Check out these new tote bag designs and vote for your favourites!

* Common Totes is a design community producing fresh tote bags every month, with designs submitted by the community, for the community, and where the community decides which designs go to print.