I Now Understand the Appeal of ‘Ship Snow, Yo!’

March 7, 2015

10:00 am

Last month, in an act inspired like in part by the popularity of Ship Your Enemies Glitter and an endless supply of snow in Boston, one brilliant entrepreneur jumped on the oppportunity to launch Ship Snow, Yo!  – a service dedicated to doing just one thing: shipping snow from Boston. Created by GSN Games product manager Kyle Waring, the service was an opportunity for Boston to let go of some of the many inches of snow it has received this past season and share it with those in other parts of the U.S. who wanted to share in some of the city’s #blessings. While the service got a lot of ridicule, I totally get it now: I get the appeal of why someone would want to take part in and order some actual snow from the service.

I’m in Boston for the weekend, and when I landed in the city yesterday afternoon, my first and innate desire was to take a picture of the “historic snow” that has hit the city. According to Ship Snow, Yo!’s website, the aim is to provide its customers to own a piece of history:

“The storms so far on the northeast have broken historic records and continues to release its anger on the city of Boston. Over 100 inches of snow have fallen on the Greater Boston area in the last 30 days…This is your chance to not only own a piece of history, but also help dig out Boston from #Snowmageddon2015!”

As much as I hate finding myself falling into mainstream consciousness, I can only concede to the appeal of a service like Ship Snow, Yo! As ridiculous as it is (at a grossly overpriced $89 for 6 pounds of snow that they technically don’t even own), there’s value in providing people with an experience that they otherwise could not get a grasp on. Indeed, I traveled from New York City to Boston, and the prime thought in my head is “am I historically relevant, now, since I’ve seen first-hand this historic snow?” I mean, it can even be debated that I overpaid for the experience – when I could’ve very much just purchased a piece of the snow and had it shipped directly to my apartment in NYC.

More than anything, Ship Snow, Yo! has learned to capitalize on the human desire to be part of an experience. In this case, it’s trying to entice people to share in the historical relevancy of Boston’s snowfall. In an average year, Boston gets about 47 inches of snow; this year, however, the city has achieved a record-setting number of more than 104 inches, per the most recent counts this past Monday, March 2nd. While the number yet doesn’t beat the numbers acquired between 1995 and 1996 (which stands at a record 107.6 inches), the winter season still isn’t completely over, and it’s likely that the city may get a little bit more of Mother Nature’s cold, white dandruff before its many college citizens can start slowly awakening their critter shorts from their cold weather slumber. And, I guess, who wants to miss out on this historical moment?

The lesson: no idea is ridiculous if it provides an actual, merited value to any kind of user or consumer.


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Ronald Barba was the previous managing editor of Tech.Co. His primary story interests include industry trends, consumer-facing apps/products, the startup lifestyle, business ethics, diversity in tech, and what-is-this-bullsh*t things. Aside from writing about startups and entrepreneurship, Ronald is interested in 'Doctor Who', Murakami, 'The Mindy Project', and fried chicken. He is currently based in New York because he mistakenly studied philosophy in college and is now a "writer". Tweet @RonaldPBarba.

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