A little more than a year ago, I had some snarky reflections about Nestlé pod coffeemakers. Since then, I noticed that the Keurig system’s pods are more reasonably priced, though still a very expensive way to get a cup of coffee compared to starting with bulk coffee and good technology. The Motley Fool has stepped into a conversation about this started by Oliver Brand at the NYT, and we learn that one reason K-cups are so much cheaper may be that their patent is about to run out. Hmmm.
In contrast to this overall approach, consider Livescribe. They make a really marvelous device that records sound while you are writing on special paper printed with a pattern of tiny blue dots; you can then point the pen at what you wrote and hear what was being said at that time. I can’t say enough nice things about the system, which works exactly the way it’s supposed to and has some other fun tricks, like playing a piano keyboard that you draw on the paper; just go to their website. Recording interviews, for example, has always been a misery, because you can’t browse the recording, but the Livescribe fixes that, and generates linked sound and image files you store on your computer or send to colleagues.
When I first learned about it, I immediately said, “razor blades! obviously they really nail you for that paper.” But I was wrong; they sell the paper at reasonable prices, in a variety of formats, and they will also give [sic] you the software with which to print your own on a color Postscript laser printer. A company with a commercial conscience and a wowza product: is it possible you can even make more money doing the right thing than by string-betting your customers?
Looks like a nice day; I won’t need my L.L. Bean Goretex raincoat, my favorite among the many I’ve had, that came from a company whose operating rule is that “a sale is not complete until the customer has worn out the merchandise and is still satisfied.” But it’s in my thoughts.