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Opinion: Fooling people with proprietary tech

You could blame Apple for coming up with this proprietary nonsense but the truth is that it has existed long before Steve Jobs pulled his disruptive miracle

New age poppycock sells. Doesn’t matter how asinine a product, service or even idea in its conceptual stage be, lathering on a generous amount of marketing bullshit will help you sell the product. Heck, if you’re good at it and happen to be cashing in on a trend, then venture capitalists will throw a cool $120 million at you. Yes, this is Juicero I’m talking about. A startup that sells juice, except it sells it in a proprietary pack which needs a proprietary machine to squeeze the juice out of the pack. Classic case of baiting the hipsters. In a way, I don’t mind hipsters being targeted for such products. For all I care, they deserve to be taken for a ride.

Juicero is was a machine; a $400 machine, which at launch carried a hefty price tag of $700. It’s like a vertical chappati maker, except you don’t have to physically apply force. It does that on your behalf, with 4 tonnes of pressure. Apparently, that’s enough to lift two Tesla automobiles and enough to squeeze every nutrient droplet out of their proprietary juice pack. Venture capitalists were impressed with the whole proprietary aspect of the product, you need to buy an expensive squeezer to get eight ounces or 237 ml of juice, and the juice pack costs anywhere between $5-$8. Cold-pressing has been marketed as being really good for you but the truth is that nobody has ever proven that it is indeed better than the age old method of using a mechanical juicer. So people are paying an insane amount of money for complete poppycock.

Source: Juicero

You could blame Apple for coming up with this proprietary nonsense but the truth is that it has existed long before Steve Jobs pulled his disruptive miracle. Printer inks have been riding the whole proprietary ink cartridge business model for ages. And I get that, printers are complex machines and you don’t have a choice. You can use refilled cartridges but printer manufacturers have built in kill switches and even failsafe kill switches to ensure you stick to the original stuff. I’d say even the stone age man sold an obsidian knife to his fellow man and later sold him a handle for a premium so that he didn’t cut his own hand. Coming back to Juicero, let’s take a look at the kind of mumbo jumbo they’re spinning around the product. Firstly, they’re calling it the first of its kind. No falsehood over there, it truly is the epitome of redundancy. It’s USP lies in the fact that

  1. It can be remotely disabled should it detect a product recall for a batch of juice packs.
  2. “Consistent pressing calibrated by flavour to deliver the best combination of taste and nutrition”.
  3. A very tight supply chain so that farm-to-table time is minimal.

Points 1 and 3 are valid but point 2 is just a huge pile of steaming crap. So if all you need to sell a product is to ride a trend and spew bullshit then here’s an ad for a product which I’m selling:




Mithun Mohandas

While not dishing out lethal doses of sarcasm, this curious creature can often be found tinkering with tech, playing vidya' games or exploring the darkest corners of the Internets. #PCMasterRace