Foodie Fun Friday returns! Today’s topic is fish sticks. That’s right – the bane of every Catholic kid’s existence when I was young. Strangely, these happen to be among my favorite foods. There’s usually a box of them in the freezer and dipped in a blend of tartar and hot sauces, they’re often in front of me as I watch some sporting event or other. I was heating up a batch of them the other day when I had an epiphany: what I was doing (reheating frozen fish) is what much of America thinks is cooking. Come to think of it, there’s a business lesson in there as well.
I’ll often go off on a rant to my wife or daughters or whomever happens to have the bad luck to be standing in the kitchen about how it’s just as fast and almost as easy to cook from scratch as it is to heat something up in the oven. In the 30 minutes or so it takes to warm up the oven and heat up a frozen entrée, one can prep and cook a full meal. Watch Rachael Ray (not that I am a fan) or any short order cook in a diner. Email me if you want some lessons on how to do that – I don’t charge as much for cooking as I do for consulting!
But that’s not the business lesson. That lesson is that people often think they are cooking when in fact they’re not. Microwaving or thawing and warming isn’t cooking – I’m not sure what it is. I find the same thing in business. People call themselves social media experts when their expertise is that they use Twitter and Facebook. They call themselves “search experts” because they know how to use Google and Bing and have a sense as to how they present information. They call themselves business experts when, in fact, they’ve got 5 years of business experience or a degree, but have never turned a profit, never managed a staff, have few senior relationships, and haven’t been through a bunch of business cycles, both good and bad.
Next time you’re approached by an “expert”, find out what they’ve been cooking. No matter how good their fish sticks may appear, unless the expert is cutting, breading, and cooking them from scratch, they might not really be the cook they say they are.
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