Before Jobs, There Was Joe

February 4th, 2010 |

About

Soaking in the world and spitting it out, one blog post at a time. Consider me the Clark Kent of web stories without the cool glasses, the fancy suit and, well, the muscles.

Last week, Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduced the iPad as he walked along the stage, the crowd in awe over something they already knew about. Something that isn’t something we really need. He showcased all the things the tablet can do (which in my opinion is just a giant iPhone without the phone). While watching him pace the stage, I could only think of Joe Ades.

New York City has played host to numerous celebrities that have come and gone, but few were as iconic as Joe Ades, who passed away on February 1st last year. For those of you who live in New York City or have visited the Union Square Market, you know what makes a proper pitchman. Ades didn’t sell us products we wouldn’t need, or make us pay an extra sum of money for a memory upgrade that we all know costed a fraction of what we’re paying for it. No, he didn’t preach about his latest operating system or the minute size of his latest Mp3 player. He sold one item on the street and sold it right. For that feat, Ades was featured in Vanity Fair Magazine, the New York Post, and on The Today Show.

It was a five dollar vegetable peeler for that turned Ades into a wealthy New York icon. Pitching six days a week, ten hours a day, he didn’t waiver, and truly seemed to enjoy what he was doing.

To help pay for his daughter Ruth’s college tuition, Joe bought peelers in large quantities and was soon setting up demonstrations around Chinatown, Brooklyn, Radio City Music Hall, and his most known spot, Union Square Market.

After Ades passed away last year, there were still large numbers of boxes of peelers in his Park Avenue apartment, so his daughter Ruth returned to the market and took over where her father left off, watching hours of YouTube videos in an attempt to replicate his mannerisms.

While the potato skins and shreds of carrots won’t be falling on the ground of the Union Square Market this spring, his memory lives on through a simple piece of stainless steel that he promised would last an eternity. I think Steve Jobs could have learned a thing or two from Ades. We don’t need every possible gadget just because we have a means to create it and we certainly don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on them. So, before you go out and buy that iPad, think about Joe Ades’s simple five dollar peeler and ask yourself, “Is this really going to make my life any easier?”

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2
Sunil Ramsamooj
  • http://www.pastatech.wordpress.com pastatech

    Nice article Sunil. Yes, it was quite sad that he passed away. And few knew he made loads of money with his Swiss carrot peeler.

    I agree. The iPad was a big disappointment hardware wise. As I wrote in my article whether or not we need a tablet, the answer is “no.” But the mere fact that Apple is making a tablet generates interest causing people to want it despite know they don't need it. The pressure was definitely on for Jobs to bring out the tablet. I strongly believe that Apple could have worked on it for another 6 months or year and still had nothing to lose because between our phones and laptops, who is going to use an iPad.

    One more thing, all the reasons he listed that the iPad had to do better than a netbook or the competition. EPIC FAIL. Like he said, if the device doesn't do anything significantly better than the competition, then it doesn't have a reason to exist. With no Flash, it has no reason to exist; neither better than an iPhone and loads worse than a laptop. I think Apple's been sitting on its high horse too long and is losing its touch.

  • http://www.tekunoloji.com/ Tekunoloji

    Nice article Sunil. Yes, it was quite sad that he passed away. And few knew he made loads of money with his Swiss carrot peeler.

    I agree. The iPad was a big disappointment hardware wise. As I wrote in my article whether or not we need a tablet, the answer is “no.” But the mere fact that Apple is making a tablet generates interest causing people to want it despite know they don't need it. The pressure was definitely on for Jobs to bring out the tablet. I strongly believe that Apple could have worked on it for another 6 months or year and still had nothing to lose because between our phones and laptops, who is going to use an iPad.

    One more thing, all the reasons he listed that the iPad had to do better than a netbook or the competition. EPIC FAIL. Like he said, if the device doesn't do anything significantly better than the competition, then it doesn't have a reason to exist. With no Flash, it has no reason to exist; neither better than an iPhone and loads worse than a laptop. I think Apple's been sitting on its high horse too long and is losing its touch.