One of the most basic kitchen skills is our topic this Foodie Friday: measuring. If you cook, at some point you use standard measures – cups, tablespoons and such. Even those chefs you see on TV grabbing pinches of salt know how much they’re pinching (you use your thumb and one finger, then two fingers, then three fingers and measure each result to have a sense).
Baking, which is basically chemistry, requires very precise measuring to ensure success. Sometimes, however, something doesn’t come out the way you’d like even though you measure carefully and that’s our topic today.
If you ask 10 people to measure out a cup of flour and then weigh each result, you’ll find that there is a huge variance in the amount of flour. That can be fatal to a cake or in making pasta. One thing I find incredibly useful in my kitchen is a scale. I use it for cooking as much as I do baking (OK, I really don’t bake) and I seek out recipes where the measures are by weight and not just volume. After all, the cup of grated cheese called for in a recipe could be finely grated and weigh more or relatively coarsely grated and weigh a lot less. 100 grams, however, is always 100 grams. I find recipes that call for “1 medium onion, chopped” or “two ripe bananas” to be pretty useless since what I consider a medium onion or the size of those bananas may vary considerably from what the author had in mind.
It’s incredibly useful to have standardized measurements that are truly standard when you’re trying to get the best results. Which is, of course, the business point. One thing I spend a lot time with clients on is identifying and measuring the business in a standardized, objective manner. Putting up a new website may cause you to think it looks better but that’s not measurable. What is measurable and actionable are thing such as bounce rates, time on site, page views, and conversions. If the new site causes those metrics to improve, it’s a better website.
The same is true about other business elements. Presentations that look nice and flow well are good; presentations that result in decisions made in the presenter’s favor are excellent. “Look and feel” is the cup of flour. Data driven decisions are flour measured on a scale. If you want success in the kitchen, get a scale. If you want it in business, find ways to take subjectivity out of the process. You with me?