What it looks like when something tastes bad.

For this Foodie Friday, I want to continue yesterday’s theme on the Power of Better.  I’m sure we all know someone who can walk into your kitchen, look at or taste what you’re making and offer up a suggestion to improve it.  This may be the same person with whom you share a recipe and when you taste it as they prepare it the dish is better than when you cook it.  Inevitably you ask them about that and they say  “Oh, I made a few changes to your recipe.”  They “tweaked” it a bit and it’s better.  But it raises a corollary to yesterday’s theme and I want to share it.You see, it’s not just about making it more appealing to their own tastes but to those of everyone who samples the dish.  That’s the real key – knowing that you aren’t the ultimate judge but those who eat the dish – your consumers (and this time in the literal sense) are.  In business we might spent hours arguing over a font or a color but the right answer is usability testing.  Let the users decide which of the tweaks works best.  As I love to point out, we’re not generally making art:  we’re all trying to make commerce.  It’s not about what tastes good to me but to the diners.

I love tweakers (and no, I don’t mean meth users – another meaning altogether).  Maybe a better term is tinkerers.  Some folks do this with food, others with cars, and I know lots of folks who do it with their computers or electronics.  They’re always after something better.  When I’m interviewing, I try to get inside the candidate’s head to see if they’re this sort of person – big points in my mind if they are.  Having an organization that has a mindset of a continuing desire for improvement is a real competitive edge.

Next time you cook something, put some aside and change the seasoning.  Add some more spice, leave out the salt and add more herbs.  Better?  Maybe not – but if nothing else the tinkering and tweaking reinforced that doing it as you were was the best you can do.  Invite input – ask people to taste.  Keep adjusting.  It keeps things interesting!

What have you tinkered with lately?

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