If Steve Jobs is known for his excellent design in creating Apple products, Robert Wang, is known for inventing the Instant Pot. But why does this millionaire inventor spend time reading each and every customer review on his products?
Every review matters to Robert Wang, the inventor of Instant Pot. He created a new model that could make yogurt when a customer commented that it would be awesome to have one that could do that. And as a thank you gift, he sent the new model to the reviewer.
How Did Instant Pot Start?
In 2008, Robert Wang lost his job. He was the chief scientist of a mobile messaging company that he co-founded in the 2000s. The company’s CEO shut down Wang’s department, leaving him out to dry. Even having fourteen years of working experience in telecommunications technology, Wang decided to focus on solving his problem through a different approach.
Both Wang and his wife, Tracy, have been in the tech industry, which gave them a relatable problem: They struggle to have no time to cook tasty and healthy meals fast for their two young children, who were then four and eight years old.
Taking a leap of faith, Wang, who has a Ph.D. in computer science and a background in artificial intelligence, saw the possibility when he saw the Crock-Pot. This slow cooker has been a great help to everyone, especially parents, during the second half of the 20th century. He grabs the possibility to make an all-in-one cooking product, thus making life easier for them.
Wang was born in Harbin, China, and migrated to Canada in the mid-1990s, he considered the electric pressure cooker popular in his hometown during that time, which contained microprocessors and multiple sensors.
It took him almost eighteen months to produce and develop the first iteration of the Instant Pot, find a manufacturer, iron out the kinks of design, and tweak the firmware and algorithms. In October of 2010, he released his first product on Amazon.
It turned out Amazon is the perfect marketplace for us because we get reviews from customers and those reviews help us to determine what we need to do in the next iteration of the product.Robert Wang on CNBC Make It.
He then developed a habit of reading every single customer review in 2011. He would read nearly 40 000 Amazon reviews for his products, a practice he continues to this day, although Wang had already lost count of the total number of thoughts he’d read.
They are honest customers telling us what they like, what they hate, and what they wish for. Those are the three key parameters that we always consider in designing the next iteration of Instant Pot.Robert Wang on CNBC Make It.
The Instant Pot’s Instant Success
The Instant Pot multicooker became one of the top-selling products sold in Amazon’s Prime Day sales due to its millions of passionate foodie fans in July of 2016.
A record-breaking 215,000 Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cookers were sold in 2017, and it broke its record again in 2018 with 300,000 units sold over 36 hours. The company expects to be among the best-selling products on Amazon during holiday sale seasons. (Source: CNBC)