9 Tech Companies As Ben & Jerry's Flavors - InformationWeek

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10/15/2014
09:06 AM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
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9 Tech Companies As Ben & Jerry's Flavors

Get ready for Amazon Rainforest Crunch and IBM Big Blueberry Bonanza.

IT Dress Code: 10 Cardinal Sins
IT Dress Code: 10 Cardinal Sins
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Ben & Jerry's has created several ice cream flavors based on celebrities, like comedian Stephen Colbert's Americone Dream and Grateful Dead guitarist Jerry Garcia's Cherry Garcia.

But the company hasn't yet embraced the challenge of translating the essence of technology firms into dairy desserts.

Ben and Jerry are busy people, so we did it for them. We have that much free time on our hands. We're proposing nine new tech-tinged flavors in an effort to understand the recipe for successful companies and to have some fun at their expense.

It should be said that complex global technology companies can't easily be reduced to a simple collection of ingredients. So we've chosen to focus not on the things we love about these companies -- how much fun would that be? -- but on the aspects of their businesses that leave a bitter aftertaste.

We'll start with Amazon, because it tops the alphabetical list.

Amazon has been involved in a fair number of controversies over the years, such as its deletion of Kindle content without consent, its treatment of warehouse workers, and its fight with the publishing company Hachette. Beloved by consumers and feared by competitors, Amazon's ambition seems to know no bounds. A phrase attributed to CEO Jeff Bezos, "Your margin is my opportunity," describes a company that shows no quarter.

Rainforest Hardball
Banana ice cream with little chocolate fists and an attached phone-shaped packet of non-union macadamia nuts. Rainforest Hardball is available to Amazon Prime members with free delivery. Some assembly required. People who liked Rainforest Hardball also liked Crazy Drone Explosion, a tasty mix of mango sorbet, Pop Rocks, and gin.

Next up is Apple. A flavor utilizing apples would be the obvious choice, so let's avoid that. Something related to Apple's reliance on contract suppliers with dubious labor practices could work -- Overtime Indulgence? -- but really most major hardware makers contract with these same suppliers. What makes Apple unique? It's the unabashed belief that it makes the best products in the world and its unwavering commitment to its vision, even when market trends, like the popularity of large phones, force it to alter course.

Vanilla Denial, By Apple
We took heavy cream and mixed it with whole milk, sugar, artisanal vanilla, and a hint of sea salt. We made something exceptional. It's the best vanilla we've ever created. Also available in extra large and chocolate. Apple-approved cardboard insulating case available for $59.

Facebook, which began life as a social networking website, has managed the transition to mobile social network and thriving advertising company. It's the poster child for privacy issues, and that doesn't seem to bother a meaningful number of Facebook's 1.2 billion users. The biggest danger Facebook confronts is maintaining the attention of teens, who have been turning to instant messaging and photo-sharing apps rather than socializing on the web. But the company now has the revenue to acquire its way back into fashion, as it did with its purchase of Instagram.

Ice Cream Social
We take a commercially friendly vanilla base and add everything that you "Like," including fortune cookie crumbs, sponsored fortunes printed on edible paper, and the candy that you said you bought "for Halloween" but ended up eating when you were alone in the kitchen at night, when you thought no one was looking.

Google is the company that got rich by recognizing the latent value in others' labor, specifically search links. It also found a way to profit from others' copyrighted content via YouTube. Google made its products free,

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Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio
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vnewman2
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vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2014 | 1:31:55 PM
Re: Overripe Blackberry
Does anyone remember Ben and Jerry's Fossil Fuel? It is in their flavor graveyard now, but that was a favorite of mine and a very fitting moniker for Blackberry I think. I'd love to think the new Passport phone could be the Phoenix that rises from the ashes for BB Ltd, but sadly I think nothing is going to help resurrect the dinosaur it has become.
vnewman2
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50%
vnewman2,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2014 | 1:31:54 PM
Re: Overripe Blackberry
Does anyone remember Ben and Jerry's Fossil Fuel? It is in their flavor graveyard now, but that was a favorite of mine and a very fitting moniker for Blackberry I think. I'd love to think the new Passport phone could be the Phoenix that rises from the ashes for RIM, but sadly I think nothing is going to help resurrect the dinosaur BB has become.
Whoopty
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Whoopty,
User Rank: Ninja
10/16/2014 | 8:16:42 AM
Overripe Blackberry
Clearly passed its prime and overstayed its welcome, but there's still some sweetness remaining. 
Laurianne
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Laurianne,
User Rank: Author
10/15/2014 | 2:55:04 PM
Apple Ice Cream
"It's the best vanilla we've ever created." Well-played, Tom. What flavors did we forget, readers? Perhaps the makers of Chubby Hubby could also concoct Shy IT Guy?
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