For this edition of Merrymakers, I’m happy to feature an interview with Michael Charley, co-inventor of the Salsabol. Read on to find out the origin of the salsa problem, and how one great bowl-shaped idea can change the world.
Everybody’s Invited!: Do you and your business partner have backgrounds in engineering or manufacturing, or just in salsa?
Michael Charley: Neither. I graduated with a degree in economics. The only experience I can claim in engineering and manufacturing would be from my childhood obsession with Legos. Tom [my co-inventor], on the other hand, graduated with a degree in architecture and therefore was the brains and engineering behind the schematics and models.
EI!: What are your feelings about the scoop chip? Do you consider it a complementary technology, or just a poor substitute for the salsa-saving properties of the Salsabol?
MC: The salsa-spilling problem dates back to the invention of tomatoes in ancient Mesopotamia, and all the technological improvements since then have been on the chip side rather than on the vessel. Scoops, strips, etc, were all invented to tackle the problem of getting salsa either over the rim or on your hands. The Salsabol represents the first innovation on the bowl side of the equation. Therefore, while we do see the scoop chip as a means to the same end, they are not exactly our competition. The problem now is that the chip infrastructure has not kept up with technology improvements. The Salsabol allows for an unprecedented amount of salsa to be scooped onto chips, and as such chip breakage rates are way higher than with a traditional bowl. We hope Tostitos comes out with a more durable chip specially designed for the Salsabol soon.
EI!: What effect do you expect the Salsabol to have on people’s lives? Do you believe the Salsabol can contribute in any way to solving challenging global problems?
MC: Since the company was founded in summer of July 2009, the quality of living index within the United States is up 11%. Additionally, the Dow Jones is up 25% since the Salsabol was introduced. The results are unmistakably tied to the introduction of the Salsabol into people’s lives and the economy. [Editor's note: this has not been fact checked, but it seems totally reasonable to me.]
EI!: What advice do you have for readers who dream of inventing snack-related products (as an example, please see my prototype for the Cracker Box)?
MC: For anybody who is trying to invent something, just take it one step at a time and don’t get discouraged. It may be upwards of a year from the time when you decide to make it to when you actually hold one in your hands. Also, supportive moms are key.
EI!: Finally, what is your favorite thing that hasn’t been invented yet?
MC: A portable, spot wrinkle remover.