The Juicero was a $400 "juicer" that squeezed packets of DRM-locked fruit pulp, an idea so perverse that it got honorable mention in DRM's worst moments of 2017, and inspired sighs of relief when the business cratered in 2017, as evidence of the fundamental soundness of human judgment in a year plagued by serious lapses in same.
Juicero was the brainchild of Doug Evans, and Mr Evans has a new gig: he's leading the "raw water" movement, which involves seeking out and bottling unfiltered water from hard-to-reach springs, and talking up the dubious health benefits of spending over-the-odds fortunes on his products.
I have personally been afflicted with both typhus and giardia, and I am here to tell you that "raw water" is even stupider that the Juicero. My grandparents used to fling "cholera" around as a curse in both Russian and Polish, as this is a common epithet in places where the pre-sanitary era is remembered with (literal) visceral horror.
Doug Evans certainly seems to be the whole techbro package: a burner who brings gallons of "raw water" to the playa every year (because the only thing better than amoebic dysentery is amoebic dysentery in the desert, far from any hospital or flushing toilets) and whose business ideas are a string of self-parodying idiocies, each stupider than the last, dressed up in radioactively obvious bullshit ("I'm extreme about health, I know, but I'm not alone with this") that some minority of people (including, amazingly, venture capitalists) believe.
The most prominent proponent of raw water is Doug Evans, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. After his juicing company, Juicero, collapsed in September, he went on a 10-day cleanse, drinking nothing but Live Water. "I haven't tasted tap water in a long time," he said.
Before he could order raw water on demand, Mr. Evans went "spring hunting" with friends. This has become more challenging lately: The closest spring around San Francisco has recently been cut off by landslides, so reaching it means crossing private property, which he does under cover of night.
"You have to be agile and tactile, and be available to experiment," he said. "Literally, you have to carry bottles of water through the dark."
At Burning Man, the summer festival in the Nevada desert that attracts the digerati and others, Mr. Evans and his R.V. mate brought 50 gallons of spring water they had collected. "I'm extreme about health, I know, but I'm not alone with this," Mr. Evans said. "There are a lot of people doing this with me. You never know who you'll run into at the spring."
Unfiltered Fervor: The Rush to Get Off the Water Grid [Nellie Bowles/New York Times]
(Image: KGH, CC-BY-SA)