8: Blue Apron's shared experience

My household is just finishing up our second week of Blue Apron, the cook-it-yourself meal delivery service. This is not about their iOS app, or their website. It is about Apple. Bear with me.

A home-cooked meal is generally something private. Even now that we're used to the internet being flooded with Instagram photos of food, they usually depict the final product, not the process. Half of Blue Apron's product is the process (you get to keep the recipes, after all) and the other half is the food that arrives on your doorstep. The plated meal isn't what they're selling; it's the outcome of your experience with their product.

The target demographic of Blue Apron certainly must skew tech-savvy — I wonder how many customers they have who aren't Amazon Prime subscribers too — so it ought to be no surprise that many members of the tech community are purchasing, receiving, cooking, and eating the same meals. Not in lockstep, since the plans are weekly, but in close enough proximity that people like Serenity Caldwell and John Siracusa have noticed.

A discussion has sprung up around a shared cultural experience — in this case, chicken and biscuits. Less than a year ago, at WWDC 2015, Apple predicted that not just its close adherents but even its casual users would also be chatting about the faux serendipity of simultaneous experience. They were betting that the water cooler chat (both digital and analog) would revolve around what went in our ears, not our mouths, with the release of Beats 1. Apple was going to shape the conversation and the culture.

We are looking for the most exciting music and people that love it in all corners of the globe, broadcasting to 100 countries.

That shared experience just got so much bigger.

Worldwide. Always on.

LA. New York City. London.

Beats 1 was indeed a hot topic of conversation in the days following its launch, just as promised. But for me, I found that the times I most wanted to listen (in the afternoons at work) had the least compelling content for my musical tastes. The novelty waned, and I haven't touched the service in months. And I don't feel like I'm abdicating my responsibility to pop culture; nobody has recommended me music from Beats 1, or even that I give Beats 1 another fair try.

Back on the WWDC stage, after the promise of the shared experience, Eddy Cue cut the Beats 1 feed and plowed along through the script of his lackluster presentation.

That's really awesome.

That's not how I feel about Beats 1 anymore; the adjective I'd use is "forgotten".

But the biscuits and gravy? Now those are awesome.