Weird & Wonderful
Useful tech news from unusual sources
One of our mantras at Founder Collective is that the best startups come from “weird and wonderful spaces and unusual places.” Given that, we thought it might be useful to assemble some of the most interesting tech news from some of the most unlikely trade magazines.
Believe it or not, there are startup life lessons to be learned from reading American Funeral Director, the official magazine of morticians.
There is wisdom to be won perusing World Waterpark, the official publication of, well, it’s right there in the title.
Each week we’ll round up a few stories about tech — viewed askance through a funhouse mirror — about which you can read in Amusement Today.
The story titles might feel a little silly, but we try to highlight the actionable lessons for founders via the TL;DR tag.
Enjoy! (An editorial in Destination CRM suggested we write that.)
🐣 Yeep! Prepare for a sudden shortage of Peeps!
Just Born, manufacturers of Marshmallow Peeps, Mike & Ikes, and Goldenberg’s Peanut Chews, has had its factories shut down since March 25h due to COVID-19. Fortunately, the company was able to ship out their critical Easter inventory prior to the closure, but a recent extension of the closure into may could mean you are SOL if your summer plans included Peeps S’mores.
TL;DR: While these specialty sweets may not be a staple on your shopping list, this closure is an important reminder that many suppliers are limited by a single factory, and a single outbreak can cripple a company — and potentially a supply chain. Today it’s calorically dense confections, tomorrow, your favorite quinoa producer, and perhaps one of your startup’s key suppliers. Prepare accordingly!
Via Candy Industry
🧛♂️ Dinner Theater-as-a-Service
Many restaurants have tried ginning up business by guilting patrons into buying gift certificates, promising “touch-free” ordering, and generally begging for business. However, one LA-based pizza shop has another solution, make takeout…fun!
Partnering with some recently laid off creatives, this pizzeria has created an immersive takeout experience that nourishes mind and body, by pairing their pies with a bespoke vampire-themed role-playing party game that can be played while noshing on a nice slice, sans garlic, ofc. Follow their Insta for the latest developments.
TL;DR: “Dinner theater” is practically a punchline. Takeout has a low-brow feel on its best day. Still, this project, which combines aspects of two of the most disreputable forms of foodservice, convinced hundreds of hipsters to pay $65 dollars for a medium pizza, a salad, and warmed-over tiramisu — all in the midst of a pandemic.
🥔 Potato printer go brrrr…
Government bailouts are being given out across the globe, and while it’s great to see the money used to keep people employed, there’s something undeniably cool about seeing it used to subsidize food productio – via robot! This $1.5M rig is capable of optically identifying imperfections in spuds, whether they are Yukon Golds or Yams; Russets or the elusive “Russian Banana.”
TL;DR: Tech is used in more places than most people think — this AI-powered potato sorter is a sight to behold for farmers from Idaho to Ireland.
Via Farming UK
💩 Think you’ve been to a lot of crappy webinars?
White-collar professionals have been inundated with invitations to webinars in the wake of COVID-19, as office closures and conference cancelations limit opportunity for F2F meetings. However, our blue (or brown) collar brethren are no slouches when it comes to remote education. Portable Restroom Operator magazine is organizing a series of web-based training sessions for owners of fleets of porta-potties.
TL;DR: The building trades and supporting industries are better targets than you might think for tech tools. Startups that cater to their needs might be rewarded with an appreciative audience (and less competition)!