Tag Archives: Immersion blender

Single Use Tools

It’s Foodie Friday and on a Friday many weeks ago I wrote about how I generally have a disdain for single purpose kitchen tools, especially those that are solutions in search of a problem. I used an avocado slicer as an example but one could just as easily place things like dehydrators or those margarita machines I see everywhere on the list.  The tasks those tools accomplish – the problems they solve – are easily solved just as well by existing tools – an oven or a blender in the two aforementioned cases.

I figured in the interest of fairness to all the really useful singe purpose tools I should be fair and balanced (to coin a phrase) and admit that I do use certain single purpose tools on a regular basis.  Melon ballers, for example.  Oh, I know I could just chop the fruit into nice little chunks, but melon balls are so elegant.  Besides, while I suppose one could tourne melon slices with a paring knife the way one tournes a carrot to make it rounder, the melon baller is a faster, better solution to a real problem (even if it isn’t on the order of most serious problems).  The fact that you can core apples with it as well is a bonus!  Stick blenders are another one of my favorites.  Yes, one could use the stand blender but if you’ve ever scalded yourself transferring hot stuff into a blender you know why a stick blender is a smart solution.

As usual, there’s a business point.  I was talking the other day with a potential client about a business he’s in the midst of starting.  As he went on about it I asked about the problem he’s solving and why his solution is better than others who are attacking it.  That’s a question one can’t ask often enough even about an existing business.  It gets the business to the point of differentiation – we’re solving it less expensively, we’re solving it faster, we’re solving it with a more user-friendly environment – that becomes the platform for almost everything else we do in the business.

Great single-use tools found a cooking problem and solved them in a real way.  Bad single-use tools just take up a lot of space and are easily replaced,  The same can be said about bad businesses.   What are consumers saying about yours?

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Immersion Blenders

Do you own an immersion blender? They’re the Foodie Friday Fun topic this week.

This is a wand blender (also known as a stick ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Maybe you call it a wand blender or a stick blender or maybe you call it the “boat motor” as do a few TV chefs. Whatever you call it, the tool is a sharp blade at the end of a stick that a cook uses to blend food in a pot or bowl. Soups, whipped cream, mayonnaise, and pesto are all things for which I’ve used mine.  Restaurants use much larger versions in their kitchens and they’re really useful to have in the home kitchen.

There was an article on them called “Bandages Not Included” in the NY Times two months ago.  One thing that happens fairly often in the home kitchen is that cooks try to clean food off of them while they’re still plugged in.  The blade is very sharp.  The on/off switch is under your thumb by design.  What could possibly go wrong?   While I’ve been fortunate never to have pureed a finger into a stew I was thickening, the article got me thinking about business.

A lot of firms use the business equivalent of an immersion blender: social media.  Like the stick blender, the tool seems very simple and is easy to use.  A business can also cut off a finger pretty easily.  In the last year, KitchenAid, McDonalds, StubHub and others have been in the spotlight for doing exactly that.  Personal tweets sent from a company account, commercial messages tied to trending topics without understanding why they were trending, and “set and forget” use of automated tools have caused brands massive headaches and public black eyes.

Companies perform the  social equivalent of cleaning off the blender blade without unplugging it first every day.  Simple tools often lull us into a sense of complacency and that’s dangerous whether we’re in the kitchen or on the Internet.  That’s why your business’ social media activity needs to be managed just as professionally as the rest of your business and not by an unsupervised intern or someone unfamiliar with each medium’s particular potential pitfalls.  These tools are dangerous even though they’re incredibly useful.  Like the immersion blender they can be the best way to accomplish a branding task.  Provided, of course, you do so and hang on to all your fingers.

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