February 25, 2017

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Pandoracakes (It’s a word.)

A couple more updates:

When we first ran our story on Batter Blaster, the organic pre-made pancake batter in an aerosol can, the company had made $9 million dollars. Well, as it turns out, their expected revenue for last year was almost twenty million dollars.

As I reported in my blog entry, Batter Blaster had a hard time getting off the ground. But it was determination and ingenuity that pushed Sean O’Connor and his quirky startup to the top of the aerosol-breakfast food world.

CNN Money reports:

Through word of mouth, social networking and publicity stunts — traveling 180,000 miles in an Airstream trailer to visit county fairs; rallying a team to cook 76,382 pancakes in eight hours to set a Guinness World Record — O’Connor and his 16 employees have gotten Batter Blaster into 13,000 outlets nationwide, including Costco (COST,Fortune 500) and Whole Foods (WFMIFortune 500) stores.

It’s a good product, too: It tastes good, is convenient, isn’t terrible for your body or even the earth. It’s really everything you could ask for from a can of pancake batter. Unfortunately, I still see it in grocery store aisles only rarely. It’s possible, though, that I’m going down the wrong aisles.

Meanwhile, our Why Didn’t I Think of That story on Pandora Internet Radio has had some interesting developments. A few weeks ago, I posted a fairly in-depth look at Pandora’s beginnings and inner workings. While the station is a popular staple of streaming music, it wasn’t always that way. Things were particularly grim, according to the New York Times, come the end of 2001. Pandora founder Tim Westergren “had 50 employees and no money. Every two weeks, he held all-hands meetings to beg people to work, unpaid, for another two weeks. That went on for two years.”

Thankfully for the company, those hard times came to an end. Pandora has already invaded the iPhone and is on its way to new, internet-ready televisions. Recent annual revenues have been around $20 million. But that’s all in the past. Now it’s time to look to the future.

And the future, some believe, is streaming services like Pandora directly into your car. Well, “directly.”

Here’s how PC World describes it:

The Pandora service will be integrated into two car stereo systems to start – one from Alpine and one from Pioneer, both of which will go on sale next month. Conrad says the Pandora app will run on your smartphone, but will plug into the car stereos by way of a 32-pin cable. When the smartphone is plugged in, the screen will lock on the smartphone and the Pandora will be displayed on the dashboard of the car.

Ford has also made Pandora part of its new driver interface and dashboard design called MyFord Touch. Here too, the Pandora app runs on a mobile phone, but once plugged into the Ford system, a voice-recognition system can be used to interact with the Pandora app, and the car’s pre-set radio buttons can be assigned to Pandora’s virtual stations.

Um… Playing it through your phone? With a cable connecting the two? That sounds like a hassle, or at the very least a little archaic. If the phone is going to be communicating with your car stereo and display, why not make it automatic, wireless, and holistic? You get into your car and all of your calls are automatically transferred to your stereo system, all of your apps are available from your touch screen console, etc. Maybe I’m asking too much. But, if you haven’t noticed, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy.

That being said, this could mark the beginning of a new phase for Pandora. And to think, Westergren probably never would have imagined such success when he started the Music Genome Project a decade ago. But, as countless other business owners have discovered, for better or worse, a big part of the journey is not knowing where you’re headed.

Congratulations to Batter Blaster and Pandora on all their success.

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