The Field Skillet

Cast Iron: Technology at it's best

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I'm One of the Makers of the Field Skillet I've made a fair amount of software. Making software is painful because there's usually complex logic and it's really hard to make it simple. Great tools are rare. There's probably multiple rules of great tools and products, but I think two of them are: 1) a great tool should expertly perform its intended task if used correctly 2) a great tool should provide clear feedback about how it should and should not be used. I think it's not a surprise that the highest rated product I've ever seen on Amazon was a beautifully made Fiskars Axe (3k+ 5 star reviews that don't look fake). One of the interesting things that we're seeing with our project is that it's a low-tech tool (that took a little bit of high-tech to figure out how to make)—and we're getting an incredible amount of support from technologists. These are the people making the future: VR, messaging apps, microbiome research. A conversation with a friend that's the founder of one of the best messaging / machine learning apps out there went as follows yesterday: him: just copped a skillet me: Thank you, sir! me: Look forward to seeing how you use it to co-exist as someone that wants to live in the future but be deeply human at the same time. him: I want to live in the future so I can spend more time on the essentially human things.
@cm backed and excited!
@cm I'm a sucker for good cast iron. I'm in!
@chinaschau thank you! your bikes look beautiful—how do we ride them to Malibu and then cook on the beach?
Backed for two
So, I've got to ask - I worked my way through art school in restaurant kitchens, I own a company operating in the food space, I am a huge foodie, I have a collection of pans and knives that my wife rolls her eyes about. I should be your perfect customer. But $100 (give or take) for a skillet that has a comparative retail value of between $15 and $30? (Lodge pre-seasoned 9" used as comparison point.) Just because it's a couple of ounces lighter? Why? How?
@andreasduess there's two camps—one is: do you believe in the power of products to be more than a checklist of features and be cohesive in a specific way? and then what is that premium worth? because that's the difference between the thing you reach for over and over again and it becomes your trusted tool—and what's $100 amortized over a lifetime vs. $25? the second camp is: lodge enamelware is just as functional as le creuset and probably 1/6 the price. go cheap, beat the crap out of it, and throw it out in a year. We're in the first camp. It's a premium product, but not a luxury product. It's a collection of many details. For some people, that's what they want. We wanted to create "the best" cast iron skillet possible and tried as hard as we could to keep it "reasonable" (as compared to many that you see for $150+). I can tell you that starting a business where you only get to sell someone (and their grandkids) a product once is probably a dumb idea—but we're doing it anyway.
@cm I get all that - my oldest cast iron pan is from 1895 and still in regular use. But here's what I've observed: Lodge enamelware is just as good as Le Creseut (I've used both in professional kitchens). The only reason people buy LC is because they like the brand association, or they assume that the cost somehow translates into superior quality. Even the cheap, made in China, IKEA enamelled cast iron isn't half bad - I bought one as a test pan and really knocked it around some. It still looks as good as new and performed well, with few hotspots and good heat retention. But be that as it may, a mistreated LC will have the exact same life expectancy as a mistreated Lodge. Treat them well and your children's children will still use them - as in my house, with my great-grandmother's pan. A basic Lodge cast iron will also last you a lifetime, is also made in the US, hits all the same sweet points. I guess what makes me feel confused is the somewhat breathless language surrounding a very basic product that, in one form or the other, has been around for centuries and is by now as good as it can possibly be. Adding a "but it's an ounce lighter" feature does not , in my head, make it a better or premium product. Of course you guys have every right to sell your product for any price you choose, but I am having a hard time understanding the reasoning behind it. But looking at the success of the Kickstarter campaign, my opinion appears to be in the minority, so all power to you.
My two dear friends and brothers Stephen and Chris created a new product. It is the kind of product I wish we would see more often, because it reminds me, as a "tech" person, of why we do what we do: Creating more meaningful connections and help others to a better version of themselves. You put your smartphone in the hand and it connects you to anything you can imagine, but what it doesn't do is to be more present, inspire you and create amazing things that bring people together. Very often we get lost in technology, that everything has to be an app, and it has to be on a screen. But the best technology makes us better, creative and brings people together because they have something in common. That's why I love the internet and what it enables us to do. Go to their Kickstarter, support what they do and you will see, you, your friends and family will have a fantastic time with each other sharing a meal. The most human thing you can possibly do.
Can't wait. Backed for two.