In the end, all software is trying to please someone. It tries to solve specific problems for a group, or groups, of people. What determines the kind of software that is created then, depends on who the people making the software are trying to please. TULA software was born because my wife opened a yoga studio, and she asked me for my opinion on a few products she had looked at. After checking them out, I felt my team and I could make something better.
I’ll assume you’ve gathered I make software, and indeed, I have a small software company in Chicago. When Maile asked me to check out the yoga studio products, I felt like they weren’t tailored to what she was saying she really needed.
A lot of them solve problems that have since been solved in different, much more elegant ways using better technology. Point of sale systems is a great example. And the problems that did need solving were corrupted by a lack of focus on them.
So we focused on the things that were truly important, specifically for the yoga studio. We make it so students can get your schedule on their phone, and so studio owners can embed their calendar in their own site. When an instructor needs a substitute, we thought all they should have to do is press a button. Checking students in should be super fast, but shouldn’t require a plastic card and a bunch of peripheral hardware.
These are all in there because of what we focused on – and because of what we left out. And during the course of making this software for people we care deeply about, we made something that’s pretty great for a lot of other independent studio owners too.
A bit more on point of sale systems: By far, the most frequent question we get is about whether we have a point of sale system. This is understandable because it used to be that getting set up so you could sell merchandise and accept credit cards was really hard.
Now however, the best way that I can help an independent studio owner with their ‘I need a point of sale system’ problem, is to tell them aboutSquare. If you’re not familiar with Square, you can instantly create an account that will allow you to accept credit cards on an iPad, iPhone, or Android phone. They send you a little square that goes in the headphone jack of your phone or iPad, and you can swipe credit cards through it. It’s crazy awesome. Seriously. The iPad application is a full point of sale system that you can sell products on, export data for inventory, etc.
While we won’t be building a point of sale system, the folks over at square have hinted that they’ll be releasing an API at some point. If that happens, we’ll likely integrate with them in some way.