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What software does Fog Creek use for...

What software does Fog Creek use for tracking their customers? I.E., Support contract info, billing, etc...

I always wondered if software companies build internal stuff or buy off-the-self software for these kinds of things.

michael sica (
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

We built our own, using ASP (old stuff), C#/ASP.NET (new stuff), some Excel, and SQL Server for the data. Some things (like invoices) are done in Quickbooks. FogBUGZ handles and tracks most incoming customer requests -- mainly the ones that come in via web form or email. It's all very gerry-rigged.

Joel Spolsky
Fog Creek Software
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Do I see another product line in the making?  ;)

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

I did extensive research on CRM software.  There wasn't much (in 2002 or so) that would:

a.  Organize email nicely.
b.  Was easy to use.
c. Easy searching/filtering.

I had other criteria, but the above were tops.

Unfortunately, an ASP app is probably not going to work for the small biz market (at least).

SUGGESTION:  Microsoft is targetting the high end market (as are all of the high end CRM folks).

If someone came out with the CRM equivalent of Quickbooks, there's a HUGE market out there, IMHO.

I've always wondered why Intuit never came out with something like that (although, they may have recently).

I guess the reason is that businesses HAVE To do accounting. They can NOT do CRM, but pay an invisible price in lost revenue and productivity.  They just never realize they need it. Part of the challenge is teaching them the benefits.

Mr. Analogy
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Oh, and we settled on Goldmine. Has lots of problems, but it does the job better than most. At the time, ACT didn't have email support and the ACT database BLOB format frightened me :-)

Mr. Analogy
Wednesday, April 7, 2004

MS released a CRM add-in for Outlook along with Office 2003. Probably exactly what you're referring to.

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

> I've always wondered why Intuit never came out with something like that (although, they may have recently)

Intuit has, I got the announcement for it in the mail.,1759,1267143,00.asp

Wednesday, April 7, 2004

Thanks Protabella. I thought they'd launched already. Looks like they did.

Looks good, but seems to lack that critical feature: email integration.

However, for a 1.0 product it seems pretty good. And they say they're adding email features in the next versions.

So, maybe the time is NOT ripe for a small CRM. Hmmm... might be time to invest in Intuit, though:-)

Mr. Analogy
Thursday, April 8, 2004

Follow up question: would you roll your own if you had to do it again?

Thursday, April 8, 2004

I'm using the Intuit CRM and it has a few problems. First, it is slooow. I think it is a .net application, however I've limited experience with all things dot net, so I do not know if it is a problem of the platform or simply a poorly architected product.

If you are using it in a multi-user setting, you have to manual sync against what they call a depot. This is a file somehow accessible from the filesystem.

The UI is well designed, but the interactivity is squishy. There is a minute delay in each interaction that just doesn't feel right.

Beware importing from Quickbooks as that seemingly simple task has caused us to start fresh twice.

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Note: Wher is said "minute delay" please read that a "short delay", that meaning of the word just does not carry over well to writing.

Thursday, April 8, 2004

Ugly but works very well (PC & Mac !)

Friday, April 9, 2004

I went and had a look... tried to download and was met with this:

'Do you wish to Download the software or Change your choice?'

OK    Cancel


Special Ed
Friday, April 9, 2004

I too was left with the choice of Goldmine vs Act 2 years ago.  I chose Act and I've been very happy with it ever since. The reason being that it has a very powerful SDK that includes a standard class for database transactions but, more importantly, the application class gives you the ability to define complex events that can be triggered by user input AND by the conent that they input.  You write the event in VBScript, not some off the wall scripting language that they invented, so you have the ability to call COM objects and really do some powerful things. 

The Act! impementation that I built is very different then the standard-off the shelf install.  Basically, it gives me everything that I wanted in a CRM solution but it gave me a helluva base of common features to start from, and I had to build my own quirks into it.  Much better then creating my own application from scratch.

Also, in regards to the Act DB model, it's pretty standard, actually.  At it's heart is a Fox Pro engine that includes some custom "Extensions" using the Codebase product from Sequitter.  The BLOB table you're talking about is only used to store certain things like notes and attachments.  You can open up most Act tables (using ODBC) in Access.

At the end of the day, this is a solid product with a well above-average SDK that will allow you to build your custom solution. 

DO NOT TOUCH "ACT FOR WEB." It's a HORRIBLE product that is overpriced and SLOW SLOW SLOW.  You've been warned.


Sunday, April 11, 2004

You could do worse than evaluate compiere ( which has financials and CRM (also has some ERP capability) 

Mike Gilbert
Tuesday, April 13, 2004

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