We love Basecamp (formerly 37Signals) for their philosophy of working, not to mention their products which are just amazing. We think that they, and not SalesForce, are the true pioneers of web applications. What is even more surprising is that after all these years, they remain as fresh and thought provoking as usual. Our product and design owes a lot to them.
Few people have single handedly created a revolution like Khan Academy has done for education. Sal Khan has also defied conventions in very interesting ways. He did not employ an army of people to make his videos. He created close to 3000 videos, using his own personal skills and technology. Being a non-profit, he was able to make a great team and also get support from some of the world best foundations. And he is an amazing role model for South Asians.
GitHub has re-invented the way Open Source software is written and shared on the Internet. It has a very well crafted user interface with numerous hidden gems that help you productively manage the software development process and communicate with the community. Over and above this, GitHub gives a very secure, clean and powerful user experience. And ofcourse, all our code is hosted at GitHub.
I know we are sounding cliched, but it's just not Steve Jobs. We think that Apple is Apple because what is beautiful on the outside is beautiful inside too. One cannot just take the external appeal of Apple and replicate that. They have set the benchmark of engineering (yes they beat the Germans and the Swedes) and we hope we can understand and use some of their focus and attention to detail.
We have been very fortunate to work with Studio March a world class design studio based in Pune, India and lot of our design and finish is thanks to their input. Working with Studio March and its founder Sukh Dugal gave us the experience of what it takes to build a truly outstanding user experience and product. Its no wonder we like to call Sukh as Sukh Jobs :)