New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cookies in the Afternoon

What are the chances of finding an object whose function it is to apportion chances? I found this die sitting on a park bench, crying out to be photographed. The six outcomes seemed to speak well to chances of success in life, although it did not weigh the outcomes to accurately reflect the chances of success and failure in New York City.

I was once speaking to a friend of an employee in my office. He appeared to be quite irritated and frustrated by my outlook relative to his. He apparently was steeped in workshops and readings which promoted ideas of positive thinking and affirmations. But, in spite of a positive outlook, success for him was Outlook Negative. On the other hand, he saw me as being rather negative, but my die was turning up Outlook Positive.

I explained that I was actually a very enthusiastic person, tenacious and optimistic, but with, however, a very strong dosage of realism. I don't believe in spending time using positive affirmations - saying it does not make it so and as everyone has heard, the road to success is paved with failure. The real estate at the top is very crowded, despite the disingenuous messages of the late night self help and get rich quick evangelists that buying their product will insure success - It Is Certain. After receiving it, any reasonable person will see that it Cannot Be Certain. When it comes to predictives of success, we live in a world of Insufficient Data or Data Error and the only solution is to Retry.

Immigrants and transplants to New York City are risk takers by nature. However, although I have had a history of perhaps taking more risk than others, I never liked it and often dreamed of a lifestyle with less risk. I had a very insightful conversation with a woman with whom I was discussing my aversion to risk - that I had been self-employed my entire life, yet the inherent uncertainty of being in business in New York City was always somewhat stressful to me. In response, she made a very poignant remark about how I reminded her of her husband who had once said: "I should have been a baker. You buy your sugar and flour in the morning and sell cookies in the afternoon."

As attractive as this pearl of wisdom may appear, in New York City, becoming a baker may minimize potential loss, but will not guarantee success. The demise of iconic bakeries, Vesuvio and Zito makes abundantly clear what every business owner knows. There are many elements to business success, and minimizing inventory with high turnover is only part of the equation. There's fierce competition, startup costs, changing tastes and in the city, extremely high rents. It's still a roll of the dice, because it will takes lots of customers and no matter how much or little sugar and flour you buy in the morning, you may never sell enough cookies in the afternoon :)


Thérèse said...

Slow thinking, planning (good planning helping) lots of external inputs. "At the right place" would definitively be a big plus and "at the right time" could be decided by the dice, it is certain. Great post,great pictures.

Brian Dubé said...

Thérèse - thanks. That die provoked a lot of thinking.

Christina Klas said...

I love this.... And need this. :)

ronald said...

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