Its Tasty customizable cookbook has sold 200,000 copies since it
was made available in November 2016. And it might not be long
before BuzzFeed is creating products for advertisers.
Kaufman discussed the thinking behind the Tasty One Top and how
BuzzFeed will develop more products like it going forward.
The interview has been lightly edited for flow and clarity.
How are you thinking about the intersection of content
We are designed to be a responsive product organization that's able
to ride moments in time. We've created products around the
President. When he called BuzzFeed a "failing pile of garbage" we
went out and created BuzzFeed-branded garbage cans. We were selling
garbage cans three hours after the press conference and shipped
them within a week. We also created
"The President and the Big Boy Truck" book 24-hours after
Trump's post [after Trump posed for a photo inside a truck parked
on the White House lawn]. All in we spent over a year on the
cooktop, but its an investment we were willing to make.
Just because you can do something doesn't mean you
We are just drawing parallels to the publishing business and media
companies – there are evergreen content plays and then
content plays where we say, "let's ride this moment and get out."
We are thinking the same way about products.
What do you deem a success for your
We call ourselves a lab for a reason, we are always learning and
testing new ideas. We have no expectation of selling as many One
Tops as cookbooks. We are going into these products thinking about
doing a service to readers and will learn something along the way.
With the cookbook we initially expected to sell 5,000. We go into
these products because we think they are great products and we
think they capture human identity and shareability.
How are you looking to incorporate advertisers into
future product efforts?
You are going to see some of that later this year. We are looking
to collaborate with our brand strategy organization to bring our
supply chain and product thinking to brands in the future. We
create our own cotent for ourselves before we tell brands how to do
it themselves. This will be the same with products. We are going
through the learnings of social product development for ourselves
before we do it for brands.
What types of products are you looking at
Overall we are very interested in products that compel people to
create content. The great thing about food and One Top is as people
are cooking they will likely take picture or video and someone will
see the appliance in the feed. When you receive a gift should want
to pull out a camera and video and Instagram your use of it. To me
that's the new product review. If a customer is willing to take out
their phone and put ownership of product into their feed that's the
ultimate endorsement of a product.
What have you learned so far that might help working
with brands to create products in the future?
The big insight everyone is waking up to in last six months is that
you are never going to be able to out Amazon, Amazon. If they want
the seek and buy shopping they are going to go to Amazon –
it's easy for them. When other brands want to play in commerce
space they need to bring something unique to the table, a
sensibility, a conversation, customizable, where a customer can
bring their identity into an item where they are creating a
self-expression. It has to be something that feels differentiated
that gives people a reason not to want to go to path of least
resistance, which is Amazon.