The invention of the can opener: from 0 to functional in 100 years

I was listening to a podcast recently1 and they were discussing the very unglamorous can opener. Perhaps unglamorous, but necessary. In 1795, Napoleon offered a prize for anyone who could develop a better preservation method for food for his army. The initial solution took 15 years and was essentially canning, but in glass jars… not terribly practical for a rough and tumble army who were always on the march.  Later that year, the first patent for a true can, made from iron and tin was granted a patent by King George III. The initial cans were slow to produce and it took about 40 years until the cans took hold in general commerce.

Meanwhile, no one invented a way to open those cans.

People were using hammers and chisels as the recommended, and only method to open the new cans.

Not until 1858 did an American inventor design a can opener. The new design included a blade that cut into the can and essentially allowed the user to saw their way around the can. Apparently, it also allowed many users to saw right into their digits. Initially, clerks in grocery stores would cans for customers to carry home open. Thereby nearly defeating the purpose of canning food. The modern can opener as we know it finally came into common use in 1925. More than 100 years after canning food began.

You know where this is going, right?

When the federal courts developed a software solution for CJA cases, they did so without consulting their users. They designed a program that did what they needed it to do, in this case, gather CJA billing data and reduce time they were spending working on CJA bills. What they did though, was push their time use down to the CJA attorneys. 

Evoucher was a sealed can: there was no good way to take the awesome data your office systems already created and collected and upload it to evoucher, to preserve the work you’d already done. Even if there were, the federal courts aren’t going to support your software, they will support what is easiest, and let’s be honest, cheapest, for them.

evolveVoucher is your can opener.

We have adapted our product to the most common law office client management systems.2 Each has it’s own nuances, including how dates are stored, how time is reported, etc. But we developed our opener much quicker. No longer do you have to put up with the closed ecosystem of evoucher. You, or your staff, should not be wasting time reinventing the can opener (or the wheel). You can simply upload your slips, match your billing codes to the feds, and wham bam press enter sam and your slips jump into evoucher.

1 99% Invisible, thank you for wondering. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend one of their first breakthrough episodes on what makes a great flag design.
2 evolveVoucher supports Bilings Pro, Clio, TimeSolv, Timeslips, and an Excel spreadsheet