Scott Heimendinger was ready to talk about his plan.
I’d just spent a half hour talking to the longtime culinary innovator who’d spent much of the past decade bringing some of the first consumer sous vide and steam oven products to market, and after telling me about his journey through starting a company, working for Modernist Cuisine and later Anova, Heimendinger was ready to raise the curtain on what he wanted to do next.
Heimendinger was ready to talk about the type of product he wanted to build (a category creator) and how he wanted to do it (by doing lots of prototyping and researching). However, what he wasn’t ready to spill the beans on is what he is actually building.
I can’t blame him. The kitchen hardware market is notoriously competitive, a space where something goes from novel to commoditized in a matter of a few years. Heimendinger had that experience with his own company (Sansaire), where he’d helped create one of the first consumer sous vide appliances.
“It’s only a matter of time until you could walk into a RiteAid and buy a sous vide machine on the same aisle that sells the Oster toasters for $25,” he told me.
One way to prevent that fast move towards commoditization – or at least make money before it happens – is to lock up the intellectual property first by filing patents (something Heimendinger has already done) and keep quiet about what you’re building until it’s ready (something he’s doing now).
So while Heimendinger wasn’t ready to give me all the details about the new product he hopes will be a category creator, I was happy to hear about his motivation for starting a new kitchen tech company.
“I’ve realized over my past experiences with MC (Modernist Cuisine),with Sansaire, with Anova and doing my own thing, even with my time at Microsoft, is that I really love zero to one,” he said. “I really love the part that I’m in right now, which is that I’m making something new.”
In other words, Heimendinger likes inventing things. Navigating the unknown.
But while he loves the ‘zero to one’ part, what he doesn’t like is taking a product beyond that. For that, Heimendinger knows he needs a team.
“When I get through prototype and spin up some flashy PowerPoints, bug all of the friends in my network to test this thing and give me feedback and listen to my stupid pitch over and over and over again, then I would like to go to companies that might be able to commercialize it,” he said. “And do what they’re really good at, which is make sure that it can get successfully manufactured and priced right, and marketed right, and distributed right. All that stuff.”
And then what?
“Hopefully, go back to the next zero.”
I caught up with Heimendinger for the latest episode of the Spoon Podcast. If you’d like to hear our full conversation, just click play below or find it at Apples Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.
If you’d like to see Heimendinger at Smart Kitchen Summit 2021 virtual in November talking about how to build category creators, get your ticket here.