One morning, a picture of a strawberry-banana smoothie caused quite a fuss. Caught slightly off-guard, only three quarters tall in casual glassware, it appeared modest but still charming with its natural pink hue. To the outside eye, it might have been just a regular smoothie… but it had something special inside and would come to inspire many. Within it: a finely ground powder made from roasted crickets.
Its photographer, by the name of Daniel, was known as somewhat of a health nut by his peers, including his famished banking colleagues who would frequently pillage his generously filled and carefully curated snack drawer. He didn’t post the picture of the smoothie while steepling his hands mumbling “excellent” in a moment of Mr. Burns-like sneakiness with plans to feed crickets to the world - rather he was simply sharing an experiment with his friends, voicing his enthusiasm for this remarkably nutritious and sustainable food. The smoothie became the object such fascination and curiosity that Daniel decided to take the experiment a step further and proceeded to demonstrate his lack of baking skills over the following months. His family and friends became the gracious recipients of various food items all made with this wonderfully exciting ingredient, their encouragement on display with the well-recognized chew-scowl-and-nod sequence. At one Christmas party, his organic gluten-free quinoa-cricket dark chocolate chip cookies (bordering on eye-rolly due to excess buzz words) caused somewhat of a stir among his large extended family, as word spread among the clan and willing guinea pigs presented themselves to the dessert table, generally leaving with a sense of accomplishment and occasionally with a smug look communicating a confident “no big deal”. The image of a lonely few crumbs remaining on the cookie platter*, deserted by their larger neighbours at an increasingly fast pace throughout the night, was to be the catalyst for much to come.
Enter Oldrich, a food industry veteran and entrepreneur from the Czech Republic, unlikely to have ever been referred to as shy in his lifetime. Having half-Czech origins, Daniel knew a name (and accent) from the motherland when he heard one, so that day at the gym the chance conversation between the two gentlemen began, at Oldrich’s delight, with having his background promptly and correctly picked up on, a rare occurrence. It was not long after that crickets entered the conversation, of course. Daniel told Oldrich a well-known story within his family of a Czech cousin visiting Canada in 90s being utterly disgusted by the sight of cooked lobsters on the dinner table one evening, with their large insect-like appearance - lobsters seldom on the menu in the land-locked country. He used the story to point out the subjectivity of perceptions, especially as they relate to food, and present his case for popularizing crickets within the Western diet. By then, Daniel had moved along with Crickstart, which was still in an infantile stage (the name coined by Daniel’s father Michael over a late night beverage of the brewed kind). It turns out Oldrich would prove to be a missing piece of the puzzle, injecting much-needed doses of wisdom over the following months, before officially joining the cause. The hard work, trial and error, and formative steps progressed as a vision for Crickstart started to come into focus (with perhaps still a tad of fog on the lense of how-to’s).
Even the noblest of causes or finest products have little chances of succeeding in this modern age without a master propagandist capable of digital wizardry. Daniel knew just the person for the job - a new friend and fine fellow by the name of Michael, an e-commerce virtuoso who had offered pointed advice on all matters marketing, systems and sales, sprinkled with product feedback as he regularly put dents in Crickstart test batches over the months leading up to the fateful discussion. Michael made the leap from the corporate world and the Crickstart co-founder team was complete, as humble and full of potential as the smoothie that started it all.
*Disclaimer: this sentence is for poetic purposes, as in reality there were a few cookies left, but the enormity of the batch legitimizes the hyperbole.