The Same But Not

Shellfish paella.

As we head into Labor Day weekend, my thoughts turn to food (OK, so I could make that statement about the 364 other days too – got me…) and since it’s Friday I want to share something that’s rattling around in my head.  I’m not sure if there’s a business thought connected to it or not, but since it’s a day off from work on Monday maybe I can give us all a day off from my wacky business connections.  Or not!

Anyway – here’s what I’ve been pondering.  Don’t you think that it’s kind of cool that you can take the same ingredients and by changing a technique or a spice make totally different dishes?  For example, let’s take rice, chicken, sausage, seafood and stock.  Add an onion.  If we add some peppers, celery and tomatoes along with a mix of spices, bang – Creole jambalaya.  Take out the tomatoes and add more heat – Cajun Jambalaya.  If we omit the celery and peppers, toast the rice and add the stock slowly – boom – risotto.  Add some saffron, put back the veg, roast the peppers first and a make a few other minor changes – paella.  You see where I’m heading?

I think that’s the best part of cooking.   You see it on the competitive cooking shows all the time – the chefs are given the same ingredients or instructions and totally different products emerge – some great, some inedible.  It’s the artistry, vision,  and skill set of the cook and the quality of ingredients that make it all happen.

Maybe that’s where I’m connecting this thought to business.  There were MP3 players before the iPod but Apple tweaked a few ingredients and the rest is history.  There were auction sites before eBay and online book stores before Amazon but they did something different that made the relatively same ingredients into something totally different.

I guess the question for us is how can we do the same?  Something to think about while you have a great weekend!

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