Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Design Values

Image courtesy TerraCycle

TerraCycle’s CEO, Tom Szaky and I have had a long-running debate about the intellectual property of design. In an upcycled nutshell, He thinks it’s a fair business play to manufacture a product that is an unprotected design. I think that a designer should be compensated for their design and provide their services to assist in the manufacturing of that product. Tom’s recent New York Times blog post, titled the Quagmire of Design IP, dives into the subject a bit deeper as he shares his views on the subject. I encourage you to read it and comment. Unsure what a quagmire is? You should read it, too.


Anonymous said...

Their circuitboard clocks are made in China, according to their shop website. So are they truly recycling? Or green washing? Their credibility is hard to believe when you look at their shop site - they provide very few details on the manufacture/recycling process.

And that TC clock in your image is clearly a copy of the design by Jeff Davis. Wow, they seriously have no ethics at all!!

tiffanytomato said...

Hey Anonymous - to answer your question - TerraCycle does use recycled/upcycled materials in the products they made. The circuitboard clocks and accessories are made from pre-consumer (post-industrial) computer waste. It's still just as recycled as a post-consumer waste, but easier to get ahold of. And that makes it more reasonably priced, which makes consumers happier.

You should read Tom's explanation of the clock and his take on his ideas of what's fair in business over at the NY Times blog linked in this article.

Anonymous said...

I saw this and thought of Tom! Are they the next Urban Outfitters?

tiffanytomato said...

Hi there Anonymous 2 - TerraCycle does very limited manufacturing these days. Instead they partner with people that manufacture, so it's become less of an issue. They found that it makes sense to focus on the garbage collection and then partner with people who do manufacturing really well. TerraCycle supplies the garbage, the manufacturer creates. TerraCycle has evolved a lot since the vinyl clock days.