I don't tend to do much with Kickstarter. I like the service and find it valuable. But when companies pitch me their products to review, I tend to ask them to wait until it's on the market so that readers can actually buy it if they're interested. I think I made one exception, but the company had difficulty getting me a unit to review, so I ended up not doing a review.
I don't think I've even mentioned Kickstarter protects here much. Maybe once before. So when I do, it's only because I find the product pretty compelling. And...well, okay, admittedly here it's because I'm friends with the person putting forth the product. But even that wouldn't be enough on its own merits. This product really is compelling. And it's seriously substantive.
My friend Greg Van Buskirk has a PhD in Chemistry and fixing motorbikes, though I think his degree is just for the first one. He worked at Clorox for a long time and also oversaw a range of product development, many of which you likely know and may even use, like FreshCare Fabric Refresher, Clorox Bleach-Pen, Act, Clorox 2 products and more. He became a product manager and eventually a Clorox Research Fellow. (He's also received 38 patents for his work at Clorox. Like I said, he's the real deal.)
Over the years, he's occasionally given me samples of his products in development, and they've all been wonderful. Some made it to market, some didn't. My favorite was pre-packaged envelopes of laundry detergent that were incredibly convenient, but for whatever reason Clorox didn't go ahead with it. But I also much liked his environmental line, Clorox GreenWorks,.which are now in stores across the country.
His favorite product he developed at Clorox though never got funded enough by the company and was dropped. (Actually, that's the low-key version. He calls it "the single greatest technology I worked on in all my years at Clorox. That's saying a lot.) In large part, the reason the product got stalled at Clorox might have been because if the thing did ever go on sale, it would likely cut the use of detergent sales. That's great for consumers, but not so much for companies that sell detergent. They did, however, allow Greg -- also known as Dr. Buzz -- to retain the rights to his product. And now that after several decades at Clorox he's retired from there, he's free to develop it on his own. Which he's done with his partner, Vinod Nair, who has a PhD in Chemistry, too, as well as worked at Intel for 10 years developing semiconductor technology, and three years at Cessna working on corrosion protection. (I mention the latter because, as it happens, it's in some ways related to this cleaning product.)
The product is called Sofft (tm). The very short version is that it's a fabric softener that also repels stains. And because it requires 50-75% less detergent and also works with cold water, you save on money and energy when using it.. And not only is all that environmentally-friendly, but because the product's ingredients are themselves bio-inert, it won't harm the environment. And can double the life-span of your clothes.
I believe it can also cure many diseases, serves as a breath freshener, and can be used as a base for making many soups. Though I'm not sure, so don't quote me on that.
Enough of that, this is their video, so you can see it in action, as stains literally roll off the soft clothing. It's pretty fascinating, seeing liquids that would otherwise stain fabric instead bead up on the surface to be simply wiped away. But better still, you get to see Dr. Buzz himself, far more low-key than he'd be if he was in your living room, yet still his whimsical self. (Yes, a whimsical PhD chemist.)
(By the way, keep in mind that this is a fabric softener, so unlike most stain repellents that stiffen up clothes a bit, this does the very opposite.)
Anyway, while they would certainly like people to invest in their Kickstarter offering, this isn't a hard sell at all. In fact, they get a Kickstarter benefit if people simply visit the website which gives their page hits. And it's worth doing that because the page is filled with far more intriguing information on what Sofft (tm) actually does, far beyond what I've said here, and how it works. You can do that by clicking here. But mainly, I mention this all simply because think it's just remarkable to watch the video on that level alone, and to keep it in mind if the product ever hits the market.
And you get to see Greg in his unnatural habitat. With adorable laundry-cleaning music in the background. And as a bonus, you also get to see his PhD wife Sharon at the very end. In her natural habitat.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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