To quote something that Duck Duck Go thinks is in Wikipedia, but actually seems to not be:

Stack Soap is a personal care product developed to solve the issue of soap waste when an old bar of soap wears thin and would otherwise be discarded. Stack Soap implements a grooved stack design such as that used with Pringles chips to merge an old, thin bar of soap with a new one.

So, this idea is completely crazy, right? This company no longer exists, as far as I can tell, but particularly eagle-eyed internet citizens will recall they spent a good deal of money on advertising years ago. This company existed, for years, and was not a fever dream or hallucination of mine, despite how surreal it sounds. It was one of the earlier successful Kickstarters, back when that alone was notable, and I'm not the only person thinking about this company again, it seems.

They had this picture in their marketing materials, and I am struggling to understand what kind of world we lived in at the time that made it seem reasonable:

Putting one thing on top of another thing just got a whole lot more pretentious

So, there are a couple obvious things: you can do this with any two bars of soap. I even took a picture of me having done this successfully, but I won't insult your intelligence by sharing it. It works. It's soap. Even if you scrub your body with the bar sliver-side-down, it'll be secure. And it's also important to remember, soap can just go down the drain, so you can just, ya know, smash the sliver into a ball and drop it in the shower. But if you want to keep the sliver, that's okay too – again, this "push them together" approach works for all soaps, even though these guys registered some strange trademark about it.

But the thing that really gets me is that, when you could just throw something away without any environmental harm, conserving it seems like a purely economic pitch. It will save you money! But (1) it's an extremely small amount of money, and (2) they would never, ever be able to compete on price with the giant brands that make hundreds of millions of bars of soap.

Yes, this company failed, but not because the founders are bad people or incompetent business operators. It's because their product is almost logically guaranteed to be pointless.

So what's so fascinating about this? Surely strange and stupid ideas get seen on Shark Tank all the time, right? Maybe they even invest with them. But succeeding on Kickstarter, with a product like this, involves a strange level of mass hysteria I can't explain, even to this day.

America has had extremely slow productivity growth, even with the explosion of the internet and mobile devices to access it. Perhaps this is why? A level of media illiteracy so profound people can hear a pitch for a product and not realize it's totally pointless? I know people talk about fake news much more often, but that seems like it's just the tip of the iceberg – obviously wrong nonsense that people credulously believe and share is ostentatious compared to the deeply strange lack of wisdom in the public's delight at Stack Soap.

At least it's gone now.

I wish the founders the best – I hope your next venture does not deserve a punishing failure.