Entrepreneurs

The secret (and endearing) way Instant Pot's PhD inventor shows love for his customers

People are obsessed with the Instant Pot.

Customers rave about the gadget — which functions as a pressure cooker, slow cooker, rice cooker, steamer and saute pan — in a Facebook group for the product with over 865,500 members, on Instagram and in Amazon reviews of the product.

"What Can I say? BRAVO! AMAZING! LIFE CHANGING!" one buyer writes in an Amazon review.

There are over 10 versions of the cooker, and the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 9-in-1 is currently the No. 1 best-seller in Amazon's Home & Kitchen section.

Robert Wang, the CEO of Instant Pot's Ottawa, Canada-based parent company Double Insight, is just as obsessed with the cooking device as its buyers. For instance, he keeps three Instant Pots running at his house at all times.

Founder Robert Wang at home with his three Instant Pots.
Courtesy of Robert Wang
Founder Robert Wang at home with his three Instant Pots.

There are tens of thousands of reviews on Amazon for just the Instant Pot DUO60 6 Qt 7-in-1, and Wang, who has a PhD in computer science with a specialty in artificial intelligence, pays attention to them all.

"I try to read every single one," he tells CNBC Make It.

He's also obsessed with his customers. To show fans that he appreciates their affection for his product, he's devised a secret message hidden in his company's branding.

In official photos of the Instant Pot, the timer always reads "5:20." When spoken out loud, those consecutive numbers sound like the phrase "I love you" in Mandarin, Wang's native language, The New York Times reports.

"Customers are most important for us. As inventors, we feel good if our invention has created value for people. So we put 5:20 on each cooker," Wang tells CNBC Make It.

Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker.
Source: Amazon
Instant Pot DUO Plus 6 Qt 9-in-1 Multi- Use Programmable Pressure Cooker.

"It's a subliminal message," he tells the Times. "It shows how much we care about our customers."

Explains Wang, "They give us feedback of what they like, hate or wish for, which point the way to our next generations of Instant Pot," he tells CNBC Make It.

Don't miss: The Instant Pot is selling like crazy on Amazon—and its PhD inventor says he's read all 39,000 reviews

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This story has been revised to correct which Instant Pot is an Amazon Best Seller.