Product Punks: The non-existent new product leveraging tech's FOMO culture

How It Is What It Is made tech's self-proclaimed cool kids stop and think.

In a move straight out of Malcolm McLaren’s Situationist playbook, a ragtag group of young technologists successfully punked the whole of tech Twitter with the promise of an ultra-exclusive new app. 

Riding the fomo zeitgeist that has powered the recent word-of-mouth rise of Clubhouse and HEY, It Is What It Is drew attention to the in-crowd bragging that accompanies the launch of every new product Silicon Valley deems worthy.

Despite landing at number one on Product Hunt and picking up write-ups in The Independent and Forbes, It Is What Is didn't even exist. In reality, it was a clever meme designed to channel the whirlwind of interest into something worthwhile instead of a cliquey new social media app.  

Like a fine piece of performance art, It Is What It Is encouraged people to reconsider what really matters. Getting an invite to the hottest new email client doesn't; standing up in support of Black Lives Matter certainly does. 

What started out as a joke ended up raising more than $200,000 for Loveland Foundation Therapy Fund,The Okra Project,The Innocence Project and others, and drew sharp focus on the technology industry’s obsession with exclusivity at the expense of the marginalised.

A great rock 'n' roll swindle or a much-needed slap in the face for the Internet? You decide.


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