It’s arguably one of the most successful tech gadgets in recent times.

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As a third-generation financial advisor, Tom Stadum carries on the tradition of his grandfather and father by delivering comprehensive financial plans, prudent investment strategies, and timely service.
June 24, 2023

Good Reads


“This is going to be a profound technology inflection point, like mobile devices were, like the move toward the cloud was, like the advent of social media.”

- Shantanu Narayen, CEO of Adobe

A Suggestion

A recipe for disaster – the ironic story of Instant Pot.

The Instant Pot ****took over the world a few years back.

Everyone who was bad at cooking, had kids to feed, and didn’t like Blue Apron ran as fast as possible to Target to get this wonder machine that would save money and time.

My family eventually bit the bullet too and joined the Instant Pot cult.

It total, estimates have shown that 53 million people in our country own one.

That’s a staggering $4,700,000,000 spend on these magical machines.

Assuming a 7.5% sales tax, Instant Pot has generated $350,000,000 is sales tax alone.

Furthermore, a few years back, over a 36 hour period in July, Instant Pot sold 300,000 units due to a sale on Amazon.

It’s arguably one of the most successful tech gadgets in recent time.

And the parent company just filed for bankruptcy.

Wait, what?

How’d that happened.

Turns out, everyone who wanted to buy an Instant Pot bought one, and the parent companies foray into new markets failed.

Pretty crazy huh?

I’ve found this to be fascinating (which is why I am writing to you all about this).

Questions I have asked myself – how is this possible? What are the key business takeaways? How does this pertain to personal finance?

So here’s my thoughts on this.

  1. You can be ridiculously successful, and still fail. As we’ve talked about, building something is one thing, making it last, is something different altogether. Instant Pot tried to build other products lines to diversify, and that is what ended up killing them. The pivot killed them.
  2. High growth comes at a unique cost – growth costs money – selling 300,000 of units in 36 hours is a dream, but you actually have to have the infrastructure to build, sell and deliver said units to customers, and that costs a lot of money.
  3. Things peak – they’re called mountain peaks for a reason. Things in nature have peaks, businesses have limits, so do financial lives. The problems is not knowing when you have peaked, and thinking there is more to come, when in reality, there is not.
  4. Slow growth is good growth – Growth over time is what matters. I would rather have 10% growth over 25 years than 25% growth for 5 years followed by a catastrophic blow up. Steady growth is what matters, and what we should shoot for.

There are so many interesting take aways from the Instant Pot story. The irony is all of this is that the Instant Pot is a pressure cooker. Pressure cookers use pressure to cook things faster, at the risk of explosion. Turns out that the Instant Pot company itself was a pressure cooker itself, doomed by the very thing that made its product unique.

Sustainable, long term growth is what we’re after, not pressure cooker financial lives.

That’s all for this week friends. Stay nimble.

Also, send me a few recipes of your favorite Instant Pot meals!

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