Monday, March 06, 2017

That piece of Jesus toast is about to lose it’s eBay value

Recently, I made a pledge on Kickstarter. The pledge was to ADIFF, a design firm that focuses on creating clothing for those living in refugee camps. I wouldn’t have heard about ADIFF if its founder, a talented young designer named Angela Luna, wasn’t a graduate of Nazareth Academy, my niece Molly’s now-defunct alma mater. Angela more than raised the $60K she was looking, and it’s hard not to love her project. As a graduate of Parson’s School, she could have become yet another young designer aiming for the runway or the red carpet. Instead, she’s trying to make a diff – a big diff.

Compare and contrast Angela’s work of the heart and the soul with another Kickstarter project I stumbled on: Toasteroid.

Toasteroid is NOT just a toaster. An ordinary toaster turns bread brown and that’s the ONLY thing a toaster can do. Toasteroid can be your personal Weather Forecaster, Private Messenger, and Doodle Pad. It can do all of the above with simple commands from your smartphone and still make the most perfect piece of toast you’ve ever had.

As with ADIFF, Toasteroid exceeded its goal. They were looking for $150K and, at last look, had raised $187K so that someone can realize their dream of having a message from a loved one printed on their toast. Or get the weather forecast. Because it’s just so hard to look it up on Intellicast. Or, god forbid, stick your head out the window and figure it out for yourself.

I suspect that for every Angela Luna doing good, there are a dozen doing silly.

Honestly, isn’t there something better that these creative types could spend their time cooking – make that toasting – up?

I guess I’ve become such a no-humor grump that I just don’t see the purpose of something that you’d use once or twice as a gag. Or maybe a few times if you had kids who wanted to see Elsa or Spidey printed on their toast.

Okay, every innovation can’t be a jacket for refugees, but still…

Even though I didn’t have kids, I do recognize that fun with food can be, well, fun. For holidays, my mother decorated cakes. Not in any super, fancy-arse, someone-would-pay-for-it way, but by frosting a cake with white icing, and then adding, say, Kelly green shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day smoothed on with a knife, and approximating the look of a shamrock. Or throw on some cherries for Washington’s Birthday. (As a child maraschino cherry addict, an iced chocolate cake with cherries on it was the cherry bomb.) So, yeah, fun with food.

But do we really need smart toasters that do Toasteroiddumb things?

I want better innovation angels…

I will give the Toasteroid folks this: their toaster is attractive. I never thought I’d make this argument: isn’t it enough to be good looking? Does everything have to be smart, too?

The one upside I can see to Toasteroid is that those lunatics who were seeing the face of Jesus in their toast, and offering it up on eBay to lunatics with money to burn, will be out of luck. Oh, I suppose they’ll still be discovering the random Madonna in the Cupcake, or whatever it is that people see in things. (Me, I wish I’d had the presence of mind to wedge out the ham-pink-with-white-swirls tile square in the bathroom that looked to me like a very young Bonnie Prince Charlie, with his big ol’ tam-o-shanter, hugging his dog. Imagine what I could have gotten for that on eBay. If eBay had existed, and if my parents hadn’t killed me for destroying the bathroom tile.)

Maybe I’m just jealous because there’s no one to send me a Merry Breakfast wish to pop up on my slice of pumpernickel. Readers who knew my late husband will be amused by the thought of Jim sending me a toasty billet doux from his smartphone. If, indeed, he’d had a smartphone. Not that I would have been sending him a message in return. What would it have been? The latest deals on frequent flyer miles? The IS/LM curve? (Jim was an economist.) And I’m sure it would have worked just swell on the crappy gluten-free bread he ate, which – holey-moley – was full of holes after it sat there for a few days. Will Toasteroid mind the gaps that I’m sure still exist in gluten-free bread? Gluten does serve more purpose than just making bread taste like bread.

Enough Monday morning grump.

I must away to toast an English muffin – and how would Toasteroid handle it? It will not have a super-hero on it, the weather forecast, a love note…But it will serve its purpose.

As will Angela Luna’s jacket. Now there’s a purpose!

Congratulations, Angela! You’re doing this Naz aunt proud!



Rick T. said...

Toasteroid is a nice trick device, but, just like the jet-packs we were promised in the 1950s and still have yet to see, whatever happened to the flying toasters that were ubiquitous screen savers more than 25 years ago? While taking a break from work, why can't we just look out our windows (or our Windows) and see them flying by?

Just like refugees in a squalid camp, suffering for lack of designer clothing, we have a lot to be bitter about.

Maureen Rogers said...

I'd forgotten about the flying toasters, which were quite excellent and didn't require $200K in startup funds. Perhaps the Toasteroids can direct their genius to winged-drones that look like toasters. Now THAT I'd help fund.

Meanwhile, I suspect that the refugees aren't exactly suffering for lack of designer clothing, unlike the hipsters who tend to show up as Angela's models. Nonetheless, why shouldn't the refugees have something on their backs that's both functional and reasonably attractive?