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Interviews: Ask Blendtec Founder Tom Dickson What Won't Blend?

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the will-he-answer? dept.

Idle 118

Reducing various items to a fine powder in one of his blenders earned Blendtec CEO Tom Dickson a cult following. One of, if not the greatest viral marketing campaigns of all time, the "Will It Blend?" series has been watched almost 221,000,000 times on YouTube. In addition to receiving many marketing awards, Tom and his blenders have been featured on The Tonight Show and the History Channel series Modern Marvels. He has agreed to take a break from pureeing household objects and answer your questions. As usual, you're invited to ask as many questions as you'd like, but please divide them, one question per post.

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118 comments

Will it microwave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764203)

Didn't know this was what was being referred to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y8SoE-DszMU

Re:Will it microwave? (5, Interesting)

iced_tea (588173) | about a year ago | (#42764695)

Blend-tec blender: Will it recursively blend?

Re:Will it microwave? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764733)

already asked... many times below.

But seconded!!!... RECURIVE BLENDING

Inquiring minds want to know!!!!

Re:Will it microwave? (-1, Offtopic)

vyrtguya (2830805) | about a year ago | (#42766723)

http://www.cloud65.com/ [cloud65.com] upto I saw the paycheck four $5705, I didn't believe ...that...my father in law could trully erning money part time on there computar.. there moms best frend started doing this 4 only about 1 year and resantly repayed the debts on their apartment and purchased a brand new audi. we looked here,

Re:Will it microwave? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42766805)

Oh yeah? Well I used cloud64.com and got five $5705 so there!

Inspiration? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764223)

What was your inspiration for this product?

which ones surprised you (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764239)

Which things really suprpised you by how well, or poorly, they blended?

How Crazy Is This World? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764269)

How much has Will It Blend? made for you?

How crazy is this world that you can make millions(?) by putting non-standard things into a blender?

Do you feel qualified to advise others on how to make a fortune? If so, why and how?

Re:How Crazy Is This World? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#42764471)

Anonymous Coward doesn't know the difference between one question and three questions ...

Re:How Crazy Is This World? (2)

JoshDM (741866) | about a year ago | (#42765911)

Anonymous Coward doesn't know the difference between one question and three questions ...

Did all the guerilla marketing result in increased profits?

non-blended pen (4, Interesting)

kqc7011 (525426) | about a year ago | (#42764291)

Are you going to go for a rematch with the Tuff-Writer pen?

Re:non-blended pen (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765621)

A nice (but probably expensive) response to that challenge would be custom produced blender blades made out of vanadium carbide or whatever material is tougher than the titanium alloy used in the pen.
Put a price tag of $10k on those blades (or whatever it costs to make them) and some mocking video about these new replacement blades.
Would be interesting..

Branching out (2)

Sheetrock (152993) | about a year ago | (#42764293)

Have you ever put a slingshot in a blender or, conversely, created a blender that could be fired by slingshot?

Automatic refrigerator/blender? (5, Interesting)

BKX (5066) | about a year ago | (#42764299)

Have you considered embedding a blender in the door of a refrigerator with hoppers and a timer and a dispenser, so that we could be awakened by an automatically created fresh smoothie/milkshake waiting for us in our fridges?

Re:Automatic refrigerator/blender? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765401)

Nothing gets me out of bed in the morning like a frozen margarita!

Re:Automatic refrigerator/blender? (2)

alanshot (541117) | about a year ago | (#42768495)

On a related note they do have a pro model that the motor base is mounted UNDER your counter. (think permanent install)

Nice, but sorry, $650 is a ripoff. I dont care if it can shit tiffany cufflinks. I just want to make a smoothie.

http://www.blendtec.com/products/professional_series [blendtec.com]

(Still want one after seeing a similar setup on a former boss' cabin cruiser. kinda cool to remove the bit of removable countertop that plugged the hole and just drop the pitcher onto the base. No messing with the motor, plugging it in, etc. and motor storage was the best part... it was permanently in what would have been dead space under the counter.)

When the Big Appliance in the sky calls (5, Interesting)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#42764349)

Will you be interred, cremated, or blended?

Re:When the Big Appliance in the sky calls (3, Informative)

Ford Prefect (8777) | about a year ago | (#42764629)

Cremated remains are already run through a cremulator [guardian.co.uk] , to reduce obvious-looking chunks of bone into a fine powder.

"The remains are raked into a steel bin at the bottom of the cremator to cool, before being transferred into a machine called a cremulator, which contains steel balls that grind down the remains into a fine ash. [...] The cremulator may sound callous, but breaking down the remains is important because if you are going to have a scattering it means the remains can be dispersed as a fine ash rather than as bones, which is less distressing for the family."

A blender might also do the job.

Re:When the Big Appliance in the sky calls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764727)

Cremated remains are already run through a cremulator [guardian.co.uk] , to reduce obvious-looking chunks of bone into a fine powder.

Probably another Blendtec product.

I have to wonder what it would do to an iPhone.

Re:When the Big Appliance in the sky calls (2)

Rhacman (1528815) | about a year ago | (#42764837)

And just as the cremulator starts running the spirit of Mr. Dickson will appear, gazing upon it briefly before looking up with a smile.

Don't breath this!

Re:When the Big Appliance in the sky calls (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42768317)

Tom Dickson smoke. Don't breathe this!

Worst Warranty Request? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764353)

Did anyone blend something they really shouldn't have and then send in for a warranty repair?

What won't blend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764381)

That's what I was told to ask...

Will the blendtec blender blend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764417)

Going all meta here

Self blending? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764421)

Have you ever tried to blend a second Blend Tec blender?

Will It Blend (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764431)

What product created the most noxious byproducts after being blended? Have you ever had to get medical treatment or call out a HazMat team after blending a product?

Re:Will It Blend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765359)

Or.... have you tried to blend an item that was attached to a live electrical cord or had the batteries charged up and throw some sparks around the room?

Does "backfire" hurt business for you? (2)

cseg (253752) | about a year ago | (#42764435)

That your products seem to be of much higher quality than average, I believe there is no question. However, people will always find something to complain about, or will attempt something clearly out of scope and then blame the product for the "failure." There is also, of course, those times when things just don't go so well, like on this video [youtube.com] . Does that kind of thing "stick" and make people reconsider the product, and how bad does it get?

BlendTec - what they don't tell you... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764437)

I own a blendtec. Wife loves it. My OCD and I hate it.

you can put anything into it and be 100% assured that 3-4 tablespoons of any liquid you put into that blender will end up in the cavity of the lid. the lid seems purposely designed to accept these liquids as if you wanted to save them for later or as a place to hold samples. not only that, but the lid is designed in such a way as most of the liquid that is collected in the lid and will never make it back into the container where it originated. the mitigate these problems they engineered the lid to be easily broken down and cleaned. this happens no matter what speed you use and despite what kind of liquid you use - and yes ice is counted as a liquid in this sense.

Re:BlendTec - what they don't tell you... (4, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42764955)

I own a blendtec. Wife loves it. My OCD and I hate it.

you can put anything into it and be 100% assured that 3-4 tablespoons of any liquid you put into that blender will end up in the cavity of the lid. the lid seems purposely designed to accept these liquids as if you wanted to save them for later or as a place to hold samples. not only that, but the lid is designed in such a way as most of the liquid that is collected in the lid and will never make it back into the container where it originated. the mitigate these problems they engineered the lid to be easily broken down and cleaned. this happens no matter what speed you use and despite what kind of liquid you use - and yes ice is counted as a liquid in this sense.

In light of complaints about the design of the BlendTec lid, are there any plans to incorporate customer suggestions and introduce a new, improved model?

Will a Blendtec blend? (4, Interesting)

tippe (1136385) | about a year ago | (#42764479)

Have you ever tried to blend a Blendtec? Perhaps a failed prototype or perhaps even a successful one that had outlived its usefulness?

Re:Will a Blendtec blend? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42767159)

No no no, you have them try to blend a Vitamix!
Why blend your stuff when you can blend the competition?

Blendtec Blender (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764491)

Will the Blendtec blender, blend?

will it blend (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764511)

What have you blended that produced the most noxious byproducts?

will it blend (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764569)

Have you ever had to call emergency services or get a hazmat team after blending a product?

Do you ever feel bad about it? (0)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#42764587)

Do you ever feel bad about being so wasteful or do you think marketing a blender worth the destruction of so much actually useful stuff?

'waste' comes in many forms. (1)

Firethorn (177587) | about a year ago | (#42766467)

Consider that a Bendtec runs $400. We'll assume that the 'blend anything' is a 'once' event. They have to use a new blender each time.

Most of the things he blends are fairly cheap, but there are items like the iPhone. Let's say that it's another $400 on average, and he's not actually blending a virtually worthless broken iPhone.

That's a total of $800 and his time; the average production cost of a 30 second commercial is around $350k.

It probably costs more for the production, cutting the filming down to the youtube videos, than the items destroyed in the process, and it's still dirt cheap for a commercial.

If you assume he mostly uses useless or already(if not visibly) broken stuff and that the blender can normally be fixed if damaged, and even if it's damaged it simply becomes research/durability testing material, you're looking at more like 'only' $100-200 worth of damage per commercial. Oh, and $400 is retail for the blender - factory cost is probably closer to $100.

Why did you start doing the videos? (5, Interesting)

Jim Hall (2985) | about a year ago | (#42764589)

I'd like to know how you got the idea to do the "Will it blend?" videos in the first place? As mentioned in the summary, it's one of, if not the greatest viral marketing campaigns of all time. Did someone at BlendTec just suggest out of the blue "You should do videos on YouTube", or were you looking for a new advertising idea and a clever marketer had this idea?

Love the videos, by they way.

What has been the least successful outcome? (3, Interesting)

Picass0 (147474) | about a year ago | (#42764591)

In your opinion what is the item that blended most poorly or caused you to regret the attempt?

Re:What has been the least successful outcome? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764707)

In your opinion what is the item that blended most poorly or caused you to regret the attempt?

Little known fact: They went through a surprising number of Tom Dickson clones before they realized that they should probably only try to blend a Chuck Norris toy.

Blending vs stirring or shaking... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764593)

What is the virtue of blending?

Re:Blending vs stirring or shaking... (1)

X0563511 (793323) | about a year ago | (#42765209)

Please try to shake or stir a solid food item into another or a liquid.

I'll be waiting to find out how well that goes for you...

Re:Blending vs stirring or shaking... (4, Funny)

sco08y (615665) | about a year ago | (#42766079)

Please try to shake or stir a solid food item into another or a liquid.

I'll be waiting to find out how well that goes for you...

Sounds like a job for ... Too Much Coffee Man!

Showdown: Blendtec blender vs. Ginsu knife! (5, Interesting)

ShadowCat8 (47130) | about a year ago | (#42764595)

They always touted the Ginsu knife as being one of the most durable knives that "never needs sharpening".

And, of course my question is.... Will it blend? ;)

Will Syria blend? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764623)

A solution is needed.

What is next for blender R&D? (5, Interesting)

Aristos Mazer (181252) | about a year ago | (#42764631)

Blenders do not seem like an area of technology with a lot of room for innovation, but I've been surprised before (Sears has a "hammer research division" that is kind of amazing). What do you see as the next big thing in blending? Perhaps plans for a reassembler?

Re:What is next for blender R&D? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42767089)

I don't know why, but this really fascinates me, the googles didn't reveal much, where can I learn more about the hammer research division?

1. Put item in blender, 2. ???, 3. Profit! (2)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year ago | (#42764661)

How did you end up deciding that blending everyday objects would be a great form of advertising, and how did you even know that you could do this? Were you one day blending a hockey puck for some internal product testing, only to realize that it'd make for a great video?

Question for Tom Dickson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764675)

Do you ever plan to try blending a larger item, but broken up and over the course of say... a dozen or more blendings?

Like say for example, it would be amusing to see a montage of the blendtek blender destroying an entire office desk, complete with computer, monitors, phone, stapler (if it can handle that), coffee mug with coffee, paperwork, pens, the plastic trash bin, and all cords and other miscellaneous things for all of the above? The larger items would obviously have to be broken down into blender-sized chunks (smashing them with an axe, or cutting them with a chainsaw would be interesting too), but to have a montage of the blender(s) slowly consume a massive amount of things like that would be awesome.

I would have suggested trying to blend an entire car over the course of a lot of blendings, but as much as I think it'd blend the siding, glass, tires, and maybe even aluminum rims, it'd never get through the engine block or other heavy steel parts.

But seriously, you should do a really 'big', complex item like that, but something that can actually BE blended obviously.

Note: Unfortunately unable to log in from work. Username 'Kabuthunk' if you require that to respond.

Re:Question for Tom Dickson (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765231)

Anyone can claim they are someone else without logging in.

See? I am the real Kabuthunk. (I am not... but you see what I did there?)

Do you notice the effects of inflation? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year ago | (#42764685)

Do you notice the effects of inflation on your business? Are material costs, labour costs, parts, energy, land lease, whatever your input costs are, are they going up above the government stated CPI and other types of inflation reporting numbers? If so, how do you solve this problem of profitability? Do you end up raising prices or do you find ways to cut costs? Do you absorb the losses at this point, believing that the economy would restructure? How does the government legislation affect your business? How does increase in taxes affect your desire to keep re-investing? Are you considering (or are you already) in foreign markets? Are you outsourcing part of your production, are you looking at it?

As a businessman, what is your general view of the economy and the way it's going?

Re:Do you notice the effects of inflation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764721)

Please just ignore this tard. He's just abraging libertard still living off mommy's and daddy's teat.

Re:Do you notice the effects of inflation? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764763)

Are you scared that the answers to those questions won't fit your neat pro-government agenda?

Re:Do you notice the effects of inflation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765279)

No, roman, I'm not afraid of your Randian retardery.

Re:Do you notice the effects of inflation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765367)

Well, I actually am. But he's now modded to oblivion, so this little accident can be swiped under the rug.

Re:Do you notice the effects of inflation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765179)

Typical Libertarian "Rules are for other people" elitist moron. One question per post, remember?

The intro song (4, Interesting)

Jon Abbott (723) | about a year ago | (#42764689)

Was the intro song written specifically for the videos, or did it already exist elsewhere? It is very reminiscent of the The Price is Right theme song.

Re:The intro song (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765061)

No joke - or really any other 70s game show theme. It's perfect!

Universe (2)

RedHackTea (2779623) | about a year ago | (#42764775)

Are we just all in one big blender sitting at the top? How has blending changed your perspectives and philosophies on life?

Any plans to lower cost via automation? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764789)

Your blenders are expensive in part because they're "designed and assembled in the USA". Do you have any plans to automate the assembly process and reduce costs? I have a crappy $40 Chinese blender that might last another couple years. Any plans to replace Chinese labor with American robots, and make Blendtec affordable to the masses?

Data destruction device (4, Interesting)

iced_tea (588173) | about a year ago | (#42764817)

Have you ever thought about marketing your blenders as Data Destruction devices?
Blending thumb drives or Hard Disks?

Or doing paid placements in movies for such? Seems like a Hollywood spy movies would make a great place for a product placement.

Temperate nitroglycerin and steel ball bearings: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764857)

Will they blend?

Recursive Blending (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764891)

Since your viral campaign started I've wanted to see your machine blend a rival blender. Surely there's a cheap piece of crap at Walmart that would fit inside.

derivatives (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42764913)

When are we going to see the Blendtec Garbage disposal or trash blender/compactor? Seriously if you think about this things ability to turn bulky objects into find powder, you could make a pretty good case for using that technology to help with landfill space and disposing of certain non toxic items in your sink with a blendtec garbage disposal.

How Awesome (3, Interesting)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42765035)

How awesome is your job? As in, other than obliterating random household goods with a blender, what else does your position entail?

Ever Spoof Yourself? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#42765069)

Have you ever considered spoofing yourself, and/or a product you're blending?

I'm thinking of something along the lines of you sticking a copy of Windows 8 in the BlendTec, and having the camera go all BSOD.

Does it blend food? (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about a year ago | (#42765095)

I find that sometimes when I show off something, people seem to forget its original purpose. Is there a large group of people who don't seem to realize that your device was meant to blend food?

Shred or Blend Showdown (1)

Silfax (1246468) | about a year ago | (#42765101)

Have you ever considered a blender/shredder showdown with the Watch it Shred folks at http://www.ssiworld.com/ [ssiworld.com]
You would probably have to take one of their machines apart to fit into a Blendtec, but will it blend?

Blendtec Blender (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765143)

A Blendtec Blender...will it blend?

Will it blend (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765227)

Raspberry Pi. Will it blend? (Probably...)

Do the crowbar. We'll still love you. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765345)

There's nothing to lose at this point.

Why Are Blenders Hard? (4, Interesting)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about a year ago | (#42765437)

I've pretty much hated every blender I've owned to date and recognize that there are only two or three blenders on the market that are actually good at their job, and they each cost as much as a new refrigerator. Clearly sticking a viscous blade on the end of a beefy motor isn't all there is to it.

So, please explain to the engineers who haunt this site what the challenges are in making a good blender.

Re:Why Are Blenders Hard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42767443)

viscous blade on the end of a beefy motor

Actually that is mostly about it. Unfortunately beefy motors are expensive and hence the blenders cost more typically work better because they have a more expensive motor. The motor in a blendtec is like 1500w compared to a 500w in a normal blender.

Past that things that improve the experience are fairly trivial.
Gear Ratios
Blade Design
Variable speed control and programs - to encourage less uniform and more random vortex in blending.
Asymmetrical Jar (Blendtec patented their wildside jar and sued Vitamix for copying it) - to encourage less uniform and more random vortex in blending.

Things that do NOT blend? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765677)

Besides Chuck Norris, did anything else answer the question of "Will it Blend?" with a "No"?

Thank you! Wildside Jar! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42765879)

First off... We have a Blendtec Wildside at home and we LOVE IT. It literally IS the best thing since sliced bread... However... that being said, I want a Wildside Jar made out of glass? Ever a possibility?

How often are the demo blenders replaced? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42766049)

With the abuse the blenders on the will it blend segment received, how often are the blenders, or parts of the blender, replaced?

New Projects? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42766543)

What can you tell us about the future of Blendtec? Do you have any plans to branch out into manufacturing other household appliances?

Previous projects? (3, Interesting)

aapold (753705) | about a year ago | (#42767347)

I'm interesting in what kind of background did you have that lead to this series? Did you do any video productions prior to "Will it Blend"?

Will it blend ... (1)

KJSwartz (254652) | about a year ago | (#42768145)

... Fermilab's Tevatron Accelerator? Bonus points for finding those Higgs particles their scientists mistook for pions.

How to make thick ice cream from frozen fruits? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42768647)

How to make thick ice cream from frozen fruits in Blendtec blender without a tamper? Or said in a different way: "Two pounds of frozen fruit - will it blend? That is the question!"

I'm pretty happy with my Vitamix on that front and I'm glad I did not fall for your entertaining marketing. Ice cream made from frozen fruits is our family's favorite dessert and it can't possibly be made with Blendtec.

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