In a somewhat desperate sounding Medium post, Jeff Dunn, CEO of perhaps unnecessarily internet-connected juicer company Juicero, responded to a recent report that customers could simply squeeze their Juicero pouches by hand rather than use their $400 machine, achieving roughly the same results. His message: Please don't do that.
Juicero is the kind of product that only Silicon Valley executives would greenlight, propped up by $120 million in venture capital. It's not a "juicer" — it's a "platform." Juicero's fruit and vegetable packs, $4 to $10 each, are shipped to customers, who insert them in the super intelligent juicer that scans their QR codes and then squeezes them accordingly. Or, you know, you just squeeze them yourself, which maybe someone first tried when their internet cut out.
"Bloomberg performed its own press test, pitting a Juicero machine against a reporter’s grip," the publication writes. "The experiment found that squeezing the bag yields nearly the same amount of juice just as quickly—and in some cases, faster—than using the device."
Juicero's CEO Jeff Dunn, a former Coca-Cola executive, says his personal mission is "solving some of our nation’s nutrition and obesity challenges," which is pretty rich given his past employer. He took over from Juicero's founder, Doug Evans, last fall amid "accelerating growth," and definitely not to rescue a company that shouldn't have been funded in the first place. His defensive note to customers characterizes hand-squeezing Juicero packs as "hacking" the product.
"When I saw this week’s headlines about hacking and hand-squeezing Produce Packs, I had a one overriding thought: ”We know hacking consumer products is nothing new. But how can we better demonstrate the incredible value we know our connected system delivers?”
Here's his case:
1. The first closed loop food safety system that allows us to remotely disable Produce Packs if there is, for example, a spinach recall. In these scenarios, we’re able to protect our consumers in real-time.
2. Consistent pressing of our Produce Packs calibrated by flavor to deliver the best combination of taste and nutrition every time.
3. Connected data so we can manage a very tight supply chain, because our product is live, raw produce, and has a limited lifespan of about 8 days.
Dunn paints a portrait of a "frazzled dad" who doesn't want to clean a full-on juicer and a "busy professional who needs more greens in her life" and "gets App reminders to press Produce Packs before they expire."
"You won’t experience that value by hand-squeezing Produce Packs," Dunn insists, "which to be clear, contain nothing but fresh, raw, organic chopped produce, not juice. What you will get with hand-squeezed hacks is a mediocre (and maybe very messy) experience that you won’t want to repeat once, let alone every day."
Here, Dunn has totally misunderstood — perhaps willfully — the Bloomberg squeezing experiment. Bloomberg squeezed the pouch without cutting it open, but Dunn made a video showing how gross and messy cutting the package out and squeezing its contents by hand would be, which is not something anyone would do. At the end of his note, Dunn offers Juicero owners — some of whom bought the product at its original $700 price point — a FULL REFUND to show how much he believes in his product. But let's be real: If you already spent $700 on this machine before it was revealed to be another degree of unnecessary, you probably didn't care about the $700 to begin with.