Many Brothers were emailing us asking if we were out of business or if we had given up producing and updating our products. No! Not by a long shot.
To provide an understanding of what happened, I’ll have to go back to Oct of 2006. At that time we had updates ready to launch. We added a bunch of graphics, web templates, ebooks, and screensavers. During our testing I stumbled upon an article I wrote in 1997 explaining what I wanted to accomplish and the goals I had set.
It was then that I realized I had veered off course over the years. Frankly speaking, the Ultimate Plus, for example, had started to become a tool for “everyone” instead of “just Masons.” Having 1,500 graphics that were not “Masonic in nature” was not an original goal I had set to accomplish. Based on what I wrote in 97, I stopped work on the release and decided to refocus and search for that which was lost.
In my refocus and search, I ended up with two basic principles that I wanted to apply to our products: quality and value. After looking at what we were going to release it was decided not only to stop the release but to start over. Yes, redo the entire product line.
Looking back, I think many ideas and products were focused on quantity instead of quality. This hit home when we started testing our new graphics. Our original goal with the new graphics was to build 2000 or so graphics off the boilers we designed. This was a great idea, in that we could hold to our roughly 2000 graphics number (in our previous products) and provide Brothers with nice Masonic graphics.
It all came to stop when one of our testers took a look at our graphics and said they were really nice, but he could not use them. He said the colors and size were not what he wanted. We went back and forth on the issue, until finally we sent him a link to download a graphical software program (that we include on our CD), the boiler we used for the graphic, and instructions on how to make his own graphics.
Considering he was not a graphic artist, he produced some nice graphics and was very happy with the results. In his final email he said that we should “release the boilers since they were something that Brothers would want and could use.”
We stopped focusing on quantity and now focus on products that we believe represents what Brothers will use. It is nice to say that you have 2000 graphics or 200 screensavers, but if they are not things you would use, what is the point.
That is why we were gone for so long. We were working on a shift in thinking at MasonicSoftware.com. Personally, I’m very happy with the results. Even in the value section, the Ultimate Plus is truly amazing. It now includes additional ebooks along with the Tracing Board and Award, Certificate, and Record. This is a product a Brother can purchase after being raised and use throughout his Masonic career. That is what we should be striving for here. If we can help one Brother, we are successful. I truly believe these products will do just that.