Out with 2009, in with 2010. I’ve barely had time to stop and enjoy the fact that January, 2010, marks 13 years for Infinity Softworks. So to celebrate, we released a brand new web site and a brand new product, powerOne for iPhone and iPod Touch. And we also “released” a brand new focus: When you aren’t a programmer and you need a specialized calculator, what do you do? You now have an app for that: powerOne!
I’ll be honest. The past few years have been a struggle. And this last year — falling prices, crazy device sales and increased competition — has been particularly taxing. But it’s forced me to really think and one question has been circulating through my head: why do people buy our products? I think we’ve been asking this question for years without fully understanding the answer.
When we started out there were so many things different about powerOne than any other: the template format made seeing and entering data on a smartphone so much easier, many of the included calculations are designed in terminology for the market (i.e., mortgages) versus terminology for the technical (i.e., TVM), you can add-on calculations, you can create calculator templates, and you can share the results.
It took me 12+ years but it’s clear to me now why people buy powerOne: it’s programmable. You can create your own — as simple as entering a formula in a spreadsheet cell — or copy one that’s already made at our community site.
That’s its differentiator: creation. The rest are just facilitators — amplifiers, if you will — to that differentiator.
There are lots of products that can calculate — there must be 2,000 calculators in the App Store alone — and there are lots of products that send results and use your industry’s vernacular. But there are few that use customizability to combine all these elements together.
It’s funny how this happens. Differentiation is one of those funny things. I always thought I knew. But until we got into the hyper-competitive world of iPhone applications and had our brains beat in for a year, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. Well, now I do. And when it comes to product and brand building, I’ll never lose site of that differentiator again.
“As we know, there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. This is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”– Donald Rumsfeld
former Dept of Defense chairman
George W. Bush Administration