The journey of Breakfast and UD grad co-founder meant ‘breaking lots of things’

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Andrew Zolty talked about how a quirky Brooklyn, NY design shop that makes hardware, sometimes the hard way.

The University of Delaware graduate spoke at the monthly meeting of the Technology Forum of Delaware at the Courtyard by Marriott University of Delaware.

The name Breakfast is actually based on the shop’s “break fast” strategy of making technology that often breaks in early versions with “lots of smoke and losing money on parts,” Zolty noted.

“Ten years later, we are still breaking lots of things,” Zolty says.

Zolty

Zolty led off the presentation with a screen for clothing retailer Forever 21 that used thread rather than video pixels. The screen, which was used briefly had 80,000 parts.

Breakfast actually got its start in London when Zolty came up with a device for a bakery that automatically tweeted out the times when croissants or other treats came out of the oven.

The system that blended social media and hardware was an immediate hit and kept the design shop busy.

Zolty and his two partners went on to start Breakfast in low-cost space, vowing to find a way to do interesting things without growing large. Zolty knew what he did not like after a career that included working for 15 agaencies.

Nearly a decade later, Breakfast still has only seven employees, but has a track record of producing innovative technology.

One of the big successes came with Instabox, now known as Luster.The company developed a displayused at events that moves material from hashtags on Instagram and Twitter

The company has gone on to develop other technologies incuding Flip Disc (See video above).

In the meantime, the company continues to pursue “side projects” that include signs that do unobtrusively point their way to restaurants or other attractions.

Many ideas remain on the sidelines until owners figure out how to develop the technologies without massive investments or other risks.

The goal is not to “chase work or chase money and produce things that are “mesmerizing, smart and playful,” Zolty says.

Zolty admits that Breakfast is not for everybody as an employer. The company moves quickly if its clear that an employee is not working out.

But he also notes with some degree of pride that one former employee now runs a popular drone racing circuit, while another quickly landed a book deal.

Technology Forum of Delaware holds monthly networking and educational events. For further information, click here.

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