Lots of blogs have been doing top ten lists or posts pondering their past year or resolving to do more in 2008. That is not my style.* But Wired’s top ten list of startups to watch in 2008 caught my eye because of a Chicago connection – click here for the entire list. Second on the list (alphabetically) is Chicago company 37Signals, a company that makes a suite of personal and business management software. I am trying out their web-based calendar and organization tool Backpack and, so far, I have been impressed.  Here is what Wired says about 37Signals:

There’s a reason nobody ever uses the phrase, "It’s as simple as computer programming." But Chicago’s 37Signals has made life simpler for programmers and small businesses alike with products such as Basecamp (project management software) and an increasingly popular open source web framework called Ruby on Rails. The company ditches the philosophy of "more features, more better" in favor of simplicity and accessibility: Focus only on the most important features and make things easier to use. The company itself embodies its keep-it-simple philosophy: Fewer than 10 staffers, working from humble offices, create programs quickly and nimbly adapt them based on user feedback. 37Signals released version 2.0 of Ruby on Rails in December, which should give many programmers a happy new year.

Founders: Jason Fried, Ernest Kim, Carlos Segura

Funding: Undisclosed sum from Bezos Expeditions

Employees: 8

For some other good IP-related top ten or end of the year lists, check out:

  • Patent Docs (Top fifteen Patent Docs stories of the year, 11-15, 6-10 and 1-5)
  • Patently-O (Hal Wegner’s top ten 2008 patent cases)
  • TinyTech IP (Top ten nanotechnology patents)

* I will say that the Blog’s top two stories of the year were without question the Patent Reform Act and Trading Technologies v. eSpeed.