How working together is the way forward. The story of a measly toaster

09 Oct 2013
| Last update: 05 Dec 2014

101 on society and the way we need to be working together

The name was Thomas Thwaites. Year: 2010. It was the TED convention in London, England. Thomas was due to go on stage for a TEDTalk about the science behind toasters. At least that’s what was written on the description.

Working together for a better toaster

How does a toaster work? Pretty simple right? Yout the bread in and it comes out as toast.  Behind the pretty cover there’s somewhere around 400 different components. That’s 400 things that can go wrong. But then again, we as humans like to complicate ourselves. Thomas was on a quest. He wanted to build a toaster. He summed up all those components, stripped down the unessential and got down to 5 elements: Steel, Nickel, Plastic, Cooper and Chromel. He decided 9 months would suffice to build a toaster that would otherwise cost 5$.

Here’s where things really got complicated. He knew the technology behind the toaster but building it alone was a thing of its own. He needed to mine the iron for the steel. Steel is something found everywhere once processed. But how do you process steel? Well, from iron as stated just 2 sentences ago. Thing with iron is that it contains more carbon than anyone would like to have in their steel. So he hit the books and learned the magic behind making steel from iron.

You get the point. Below is the video for anyone interested with how his quest went along

If that’s not basic enough think of a pencil. You can get those for free. They’re made of wood, rubber, graphite and abit of metal. Pretty simple right? How can you single-handedly build one? You need to cut the wood, mill the lumber, mine the graphite, extrude it in the pencil, extract and process the rubber and mine metal for the metal band.

Dependent on working together

We as a society are dependent on each and every one of us working together. Individualism is a dying breed for the sole reason that it’s not profitable anymore. And it’s not really a bad thing, working together that is. We get things done faster and better.

Now, let’s swap the toaster with your blog. Your blog is most likely made out of tens or hundreds of articles. It went through dozens of design changes. You can’t remember how many times you’ve changed the code in it. It took quite some time to set-up.

And then there comes the internet. Optimizing for search engines. Marketing it properly through a dozen or more social channels to reach out to new audience. Making sure it works on everything, yes even Internet Explorer. It’s a very time consuming process having a blog. There’s so much to learn since everything is changing all the time.

So to be profitable you have to resort to other peoples knowledge. You have to make use of other peoples resources. Otherwise you’ll be so caught up in learning everything, writing articles and tending after your customers that you’ll never see the light of day ever again.


Alexandru Coroiu

Alexandru Coroiu

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Has a love-hate relationship with Google
Once tried to steal Iron Squirrel's suite just to realize it's too small for him
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Alexandru Coroiu