Hot tech company trend: Branded fruit as conference swag

In an article published Wednesday, Fast Company revealed that logoed fruits and vegetables are a hot trend with tech companies, beating out the usual swag like stress balls or notebooks. Serial artrepreneur Danielle Baskin (who you may remember from the Your Boss app or Drone Sweaters) is behind this trend. It all started in 2015 after being asked to bring some avocados to a barbecue celebrating the sale of a friend's startup. She thought it would be funny to put the startup's logo on the avocados as a joke. They were a big hit.

In 2017, she started BrandedFruit.com and orders have been coming in steadily ever since.

She has now made branded fruit for everyone from Pizza Hut to Heroku to AT&T. Baskin has also had personal requests: One man ordered several avocados for a wedding proposal. Orders are as small as 10 pieces of fruit that will be centerpieces at an event to 500 pieces that will be handed to out to guests. Each fruit costs, on average, $5 to make. That’s not cheap in the world of swag, which is known for churning out products at rock-bottom prices, like $1 T-shirts or 50¢ tote bags. But it is reasonable to larger companies. “Large companies seem to have enormous budgets for swag,” she says. “I sometimes think I should increase my prices, but I also think it is crazy to spend more than $5 on a piece of fruit.”

Since the article published, Baskin's phone and inbox has been full of requests for branded fruit from around the globe. Read the rest

App phones people so you can pretend to be their boss

What would you say to someone if you were randomly connected to them by phone and had the opportunity to roleplay as their boss? A fun new app allows you to play the Michael Scott, Bill Lumbergh, or whatever boss of your dreams, and help them get stuff done too.

Yesterday I sat down for lunch in San Francisco with Danielle Baskin, the app's co-founder. A mutual friend had recently introduced us in an email, using the subject line, "Rusty / Danielle - I can't believe you two DON'T know each other."

Our conversation was lively and ended up being nearly three hours long. As I sat there chatting with her, I totally got why our mutual friend wanted us to meet. Danielle is a rabid creator of many weird and wonderful things, a true Happy Mutant. (You may remember her Drone Sweaters, for instance, or from her interview last month on the Cool Tools podcast.)

She's got all kinds of neat irons in the fire and many of them seem to teeter on that line between art and something that is actually useful. Her latest project rides that line. It's a collaboration with programmer Max Hawkins and it started blowing up on Product Hunt this week. It's called Your Boss and she describes it as "an app that connects people working on solo projects in a call-based accountability buddy system."

She writes:

My co-founder and I are entrepreneurs and freelancers with many projects. We made an app to automate phone calls between us to keep ourselves on track, because we often work alone (without a boss).

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