I received an email from a friend yesterday who was testing our Android version of powerOne. He was effusive about our templates but felt our RPN implementation was lacking, preferring the way the HP calculators did it. Our approach isn’t that different but he is used to their approach so when it came to pure calculator functions he used a different product, but always switched to ours for anything template-related. Some people love our RPN and calculator implementations; others don’t.

It reminded me once again how important opinionated products are. RPN, because of HP, was like that. Some people loved it and some people hated it but few were indifferent. Apple is really good at this, too. To some, Apple’s products are over-priced pieces of garbage that force you into someone else’s way of doing things. And to others they are minimalist products that generally just work. Apple’s products aren’t for all people, they are for some people, and Apple is very clear about this distinction.

That’s the holy grail for every product really. If it isn’t soliciting an opinion — a very strong opinion — than it probably isn’t doing much in the market. The problem for apps is when they cost $5 ($3 to the developer) there isn’t much room to market and sell. App stores are self-reinforcing anyway. The better you do the easier you are to find. So word of mouth is critical. And no one talks about products they don’t have a strong opinion about.

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