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Nice to Meat You, Jerk; Here's My Card

Will they make any real ones? Stay tuned. (Christopher Thompson)

When I first heard about Meatcards, a project that promises to combine laser technology and beef jerky to produce edible business cards (priced at $4.01 each, it turns out), our blog wasn’t up and running yet. If it had been, I probably would’ve done what others did, and just put up the link and let the pun-filled comments flow.

Instead, I took the time to ask the guys behind the project some hard-hitting, worthy-of-an-investigative journalist questions. They’re computer programmers, mostly, so rather than have a conference call (how 2007 is that?), Tikaro Interactive’s John Young brought me into an online chat room. Participants were Young, Christopher Thompson, Will Ronco and Randy Schmidt. An edited version of the hour-long, 3,348-word interview, if you can call it that, follows:

Joe Y.: First question. Is this for real?
John Y.: Yes! Unless the FDA lands on us with all four feet. And if that happens, as one commenter on Twitter said: "Make sure you label it as NOT FOOD, do not eat. And, to be safe, poison the cards."
Chris T.: We sell a food-based non-food novelty item.
Joe Y.: Well, then, what on earth gave you this idea? What have you been smoking (besides jerky)?

John Y.: As I'm sure you know as a Powerful Food Editor, this is only 80% as kooky as any of the ideas that come out of a regular production kitchen on a regular basis :)
Will R.: However, we are making the most of that 80%.
Joe Y.: But how did you come to this?
John Y.: As Pixel Pushers, we commonly spend twelve hours toiling hard, and then stand up, and NOTHING IN THE REAL WORLD IS ANY @#$@# DIFFERENT. It's very discouraging. So we're always looking for ways to make things that, you know ... EXIST.
Will R.: So we were talking about business cards, which are widely acknowledged to suck, and how they might be made better. And what could be better than nonperishable food? We have since learned that jerky is not technically nonperishable.
Joe Y.: Were other things considered? I mean, bacon is hot. But I suppose even less nonperishable than jerky.
Will R.: Exactly. And maybe too delicious to trust yourself to carry.
Chris T.: I have some experience in product design, and after making something for John with the laser, they turned to me to make a sample.
John Y.: And by "turned to him," he means "we landed panting on his doorstep, babbling incoherently about MEAT and LASERS."
Chris T.: Hahaha the next day i got some jerky at 7-Eleven and made the sample Meatcards.
Joe Y.: How are you going to turn this into a real production line?
John Y.: Joe, I'm sure you're aware that a career choice for people to move to Alaska is "shoot animals, jerk them, bag the jerky, and sell it on the Internet."
Joe Y.: Of course. I've thought of it myself.
John Y.: So there are lots of resources on the Internet for "so you want to start a jerky business."
Will R.: Anyway, we take the huge slabs of handcrafted Alaskan jerky and cut them into business card-size pieces.
Joe Y.: How do you cut them?
John Y.: Either with a steel-rule die or with the laser itself. The laser has many power settings.
Joe Y.: Do you actually have any orders?
John Y.: We have many people banging on our door to place orders. Like one guy who demanded on Twitter that he had to have cards BY MOTHERS DAY (???)
Joe Y.: By many, you mean ... how many? And who is that guy's mother?
(They post this photo.)
John Y.: We had about ~60,000 hits on the Web site the day we launched. That could result in, oh, at least...TENS of orders! Maybe even... DOZENS!
Chris T.: And some traffic each of our sites :)
Randy S.: And lawsuits in the single digits.
Joe Y.: Will this thing actually fit in my wallet?
John Y.: We absolutely guarantee that it will fit in your wallet.
Will R.: More importantly, it will fit in your prospect's wallet. But no one else's card will fit in their wallet.
John Y.: Hell, you could perforate the edge, stitch it like a moccasin, and MAKE it your wallet!
Joe Y.: The pic shows just on the jerky. Just one line. Does that mean I wouldn’t be able to fit the following on it?

Joe Yonan
Food Editor
The Washington Post
1150 15th St. NW
Washington, DC 20071
202-334-4478 (w)
202-334-5059 (fax)

I suppose that’d be a pretty big piece of jerky.

John Y.: We're going to offer EXACTLY ONE layout.
(They show a pic of a piece of jerky with an entire business card etched on it.)
John Y.: (that there's a Photoshop, not an actual card).
Joe Y.: I figured. Won't it wear off?
John Y.: Does a cattle brand wear off? Do the craters, SMASHED into the moon by GIANT ASTEROIDS, "wear off"?
Joe Y.: You know, today it might say “JOE YONAN, PFE,” but in 2 weeks it says "J) Y]_)."
John Y.: Well, that depends on how well you can resist licking it, I guess.
Joe Y.: So when will you be filling your first orders?
John Y.: Well, we're just looking for a Powerful Food Editor to test with... OH, wait!!! YOU'RE a Powerful Food Editor!!!!
*slaps head* Chris, would you be willing to lase up a card for Joe?
Chris T.: I'm adding Joe's info to the Corel Data for samples.
Joe Y.: Laser me up, boys. Send it, and I'll post the photo on the blog. Now, one more question: Is this for real?
John Y.: A fair question! You're afraid we're some of those sarcastic channers that are all like "HAW HAW TRICKED THE PRINT MEDIA D00DZ"
Joe Y.: Exactly.
Chris T.: You'll know for sure when you get your very own meatcard.

-- Joe Yonan

By Joe Yonan  |  May 4, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
 | Tags: Joe Yonan, jerky, novelties  
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