Sometimes, Different Is Good
by Brian Trepka
A while back we updated our “About” page to include our company values. When you do a significant part of your business online, having your values spelled out lets people get to know you better without having to meet you in person.
More recently, when I was playing around with my cell phone, I realized we’d forgotten to include the value that is probably one of the greatest driving forces behind how we live and work.
So here it is:
Sometimes, "different" is good. Conventional wisdom is fine, but if that's all you're in to, you could miss out on something great.
I think that sums things up pretty well, but you may be wondering how this applies to our little soap company, and what it has to do with my phone. Well, to start off with, you have to be a little different to want to make your own soap. It’s not something everyone does nowadays. You also have to be a little different to want to sell your soap to others. If we didn’t believe that being different could be good, we probably would never have started this little enterprise. And while it’s sometimes not easy, we like to think we’ve created something really great, which is very rewarding.
You’ve got to be a little different to be a customer of an artisan soap maker as well. For most people, bath and body products are things that are manufactured by machines in a factory rather than made by a former science teacher in a dining room-turned-soap-workshop in a suburban home in Ohio. Most buy bath and body products from a grocery or discount store, or high-rent mall store rather than buying online or from a small shop. And while buying manufactured soap from the drug store is fine (if your skin can tolerate it), if that’s all you do, you might miss out on something unique – something that pampers your skin like no mass-produced, detergent-infused product you’ve ever tried can.
Traditional wet shaving is something else that doesn’t occur to most people as a viable grooming methodology. You buy a 5-bladed cartridge razor, can of foam, and get on with life. You may spend a small fortune on cartridges and suffer from razor burn and ingrown hairs, but that’s how it’s done, and if modern shaving technology can’t give you a good shave, then you figure there’s no way shaving technology that’s been around since the early 20th century or earlier can do better. For many, modern shaving can work just fine, or maybe even great. But for a fairly small investment in a brush, mug, good shaving soap, and dad or grandpa’s old double-edge safety razor, you may find something better. Something that for an increasing number of men (and heck, women can do it too) is a daily self-pampering session rather than a chore. Sometimes newer is better, but sometimes, newer simply means a better profit margin for the manufacturer. The main point though, is that if you don’t try something different, you’ll never know what you could be missing.
Finally, what does all this have to do with my phone? Well folks, some of you may recognize from the picture that my phone is an HP Veer. Its operating system isn’t Android, iOS or Windows, but the nearly extinct webOS. By most accounts, it’s a great OS hampered by less than stellar hardware. My introduction to it was through the purchase of one of the deeply-discounted Touchpad tablets sold on eBay after HP discontinued them. I had thought about putting Android on it, but after using it, I loved it, and when I needed a phone, the Veer was an obvious choice for me. You pick it up, turn it on, and you already know how to use it. For my “real” job, I’ve done testing on a number of different phones and tablets, and up to this point, there’s none that I like better.
So to sum up, as our value statement says, “Conventional wisdom is fine, but if that's all you're in to, you could miss out on something great.” It’s a good adage for soap, phones, and countless other things in life.
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