Two wrongs don’t make a right

There’s a common trend with bad fast food restaurants. If the fries are stale and taste bad, you can rectify the situation by adding an extra portion of stale fries to the order. The math behind this is simple. Soggy fries taste roughly half as good as freshly cooked ones, so a double portion fixes the problem.

Of course that’s not how any of this works. The fries still taste terrible, now you just have twice was many. Some companies (read people) are rooted in a post-war like mentality where quantity is always more important than quality, where scarcity is still an issue. Pushing down prices (with quality), inability to modernize, aiming to please everyone, having an inconsistent product line and concentrating on “maximizing profits” is a surefire path to a difficult existence and extreme competition where the biggest company almost always wins.

Somebody had to invent fast food

I went to see “The Founder“, a movie about the rise of McDonald’s as a franchise. A part of it was dedicated to explaining how the McDonald brothers came up with the concept of fast food. They created an entire line of custom kitchen tools, the layout for the burger assembly line and timed everything to the T. They got rid of servers and complicated menus. They created the concept of making food, before the order was made.

Only after I stepped out of the theater, it occurred to me: fast food had to be invented.

We can think of what was before automobiles, iPhones and space shuttles, but what was before graphical user interfaces, personal computers and surgeons washing hands? Invisible inventions are everywhere.

P.S. That movie taught me a great business lesson: ink on paper doesn’t mean bupkis if the other guy has an empire.