Monday, August 6, 2012

How Automation Systems are like Chopped (Food Network)

OK so this may be a stretch, but I was watching Food Network’s Chopped television show the other night (a guilty pleasure) and I noticed that it’s not about the actual cooking—it’s about time management, strategy, creativity, and differentiation.

The premise of the show is that 4 contestants are given a disparate basket of ingredients—for example, pork belly, guavas, rice wine vinegar and pine nuts, and are challenged with making a cohesive, tasty dish out of it.  They compete against each other for the title of Chopped Champion.

If you think about it, isn’t that what you as an automation professional do on a daily basis?  You don’t have the luxury of a brand new set of ingredients (systems, software, infrastructure) but you are trying to make something relevant, and creative, meeting all of your current and future needs, out of your basket of hardware & software.  This hardware and software likely come from different vendors, from different times, and may not always be the newest and most applicable to your current situation.  But you make it work, so that your company continues to enjoy their leading (or challenger) position in the industry.

With Chopped, the contestants are eliminated, until the final two have a showdown, and only one winner emerges.  With industry, there are constantly a new set of competitors popping up, eating away at your margins and taking market share.  It’s the continual way you improve, using your basket ingredients,  that helps you to retain, or build your standing and uniqueness.

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