I was going to spend today’s post writing about Mark Twain‘s quote on consultants:
Adam was not alone in the Garden of Eden, however, and does not deserve all the credit; much is due to Eve, the first woman, and Satan, the first consultant.
Nice to know that we’re held in such high regard, even 140 years ago! However, since it’s Friday, I’ll stick to the weekly lighter post about food-related things. In that vein I was going to write about Starbucks and their selling instant coffee at some of the big warehouse retailers – I think it’s a serious corruption of their brand – but frankly that’s not fun enough.
Then, I was thinking I would write about cooking magazines since I subscribe to 6 of them but I realized that those magazines are really the tip of the iceberg in terms of where I get food information and how I use it. We must own a couple of hundred cookbooks. Seriously! I also have back issues of Bon Appetit and Cook’s Illustrated going back to the 1990’s. Talk about information overload. A simple “what do you want for dinner” question in my house can be a three-hour research project as all interested parties leaf through cookbooks, magazines and the various recipes in notebooks and index card boxes we’ve got accumulated in the kitchen.
With all of that material at our disposal, most of the time now I’m on the web planning the meals. I think we’ve reached the point where we have so much information at our disposal that we can no longer process it ourselves – we need digital help. More often than not, the search results point me back to a copy of a magazine we have in the house but the convenience of printing out the recipe so we don’t mess up the original source material (I love techno-speak) along with a grocery list for the dish is too much to ignore. In addition, there are usually comments from others who have cooked the dish which is a huge resource above and beyond what the books or magazine offer.
This is the same phenomenon that has changed academic research for my kids. In many ways, it’s the same in business. There is too much information out there, it’s way too easy to ignore relevant pieces because they’re less discoverable, and once you have the data, getting it organized and useful can be tedious and difficult. There are additional benefits in using the technology – community being the primary one – that have changed how we do even simple things such as preparing dinner.
None of this stops us from reading the magazines or buying a new cookbook but it has changed how we use them. I spend my non-cooking time working with businesses, which have to incorporate that changed thinking in their approaches.