Chopped…

Have you ever noticed there are more losers then there are winners?

So I’ve been home for the holidays a bit and the TV has been on  in the background in the evening and I’ve across an interesting show on the “Food Network”. As the later alone is interesting in that there is enough social effluence for a “food” channel in a country which is suffering from obesity however that’s for another day.  So back to “Chopped” the show as for those who aren’t aware of the show, it’s pretty simple as there is a host (Ted) with three judges who gang up on four competing chefs.

Each of these Chef’s are typically “Executive” Chefs which mean they don’t work for the Golden Arch’s if you know what I mean as the challenge is to cook a three course meal (appetizer, main course and dessert) with surprise ingredients.  Yet what struck me is after sitting through one of these in the background is by the time we got to the second (it was a holiday marathon), the question became why?

So your saying to yourself because “if” you win there is a huge (bragging rights and employment upside) and you’re right again [only] “if” you win. However what I noticed is you won’t well let’s put it this way three (3) of the four wont.  So this became an epiphany as well as good business analogy about losing as the show is more about creating “losers” then “winners”.   So let’s start with the basics and I will try to keep the math down to a low roar.

As first off, with four (4) contestants there is a 1:4 chance of winning, while a 3:4 change of losing so if someone came to you with those odds of investing your money would you take them up as its all or nothing.  Well let’s hope not, then second is  the social axiom “there is always someone out there better then you”, so since the show down is 1:2, means the odds of the next person being better then you is 50% therefore the 1:4 chance (which un-weighed statistically) is more like 1:8 (in round numbers) as we now have to “weigh” our chances of success. So the majority of the people will lose.

Alright your sitting back and saying, no kidding Campbell that the idea is people will “lose” and to this I say bingo your starting to get it as in these types of competition we don’t watch for the winner we really watch for the losers!  Now there is this whole thing of the psychology of the underdog we could get into, however don’t have the time right now as the point is why you should always avoid these types of things in life.

As in general the “losers” have further to “falls” then the winners do to climb as can you see a restaurant advertising they have a head chef who was “Chopped”?  Not me baby, that means these folks [on average]  will be stuck in a “B” class existence the rest of their careers (again we are speaking in averages).  Yet you may be saying what about athletes, as they compete and lose yet compete another day.

Well it’s the later which is the first key, as again on average an athlete get multiple chances to compete whereas these chefs do not, so there is a huge change in the distribution of risk as the number of opportunities for success change the weighting, and the second is they are not competing in their field of [end] employment which is the big catch here if you will.  So if you’re a budding chef [or business person], just something to think about…

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About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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2 Responses to Chopped…

  1. William Newman says:

    Pleased to say my brother-in-law Chef Douglas St. Souver has won three out of four Food Network challenges and one Guiness Book entry for the world’s largest popcorn Mickey Mouse. Not bad odds, but yes there is always lots of drama.

    • Joseph Campbell says:

      Was he on Chopped? If yes, would like to hear his perspective as “competition” is a fascinating thing as I avoid closed ended competition like the plague, however I thrive on open ended challenges. As it reminds me of a Twilight Zone episode I saw as a kid (and maybe the reason I’m tainted), as these three “teenagers” trapped in this spooky old house played games of chance with this rich old man and they kept winning and he would keep upping the ante till it came to cutting their finger off for each time they failed. So on the line where their fingers for his wealth, well to make a long story short, just before the old man cut the kids fingers off (he lost) in walks a woman who says “you fool, he doesn’t have any money”. To which the teen who is set to forfeit his finger asks here how she knows this. She then removes her gloves and shows she has no fingers..

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