Monday, 29 March 2010

Why Greatness Fails In Research: The Case Of Pie vs. Cake

Jasmin flipped me a brilliant link today around an argument as to why pie beats cake. On first read, while not only being funny, I have to say, pie on paper seems better than cake. Why? The author presents the following research:

Pie enjoyment is more sustained over the eating experience:

Cake has uneven frosting distribution:

Flavour anatomy is better with a pie:

Pie has a role in powerpoint presentations and cake doesn't:

This list goes on and on.

At first blush it's hard, no maybe impossible to refute such a strong argument. Again, on paper. But see, that's the problem with some types of research. What they don't take into count is the things you CAN'T see. What's not on the piece of paper - what you can't see is the deeper cultural implications that drive our imperfect decisions on a daily basis.

When I was 6, did my mom make me a pie for my birthday? No. She make me a cake.

Marie Antoinette. Did she say 'let them eat pie?" I think not.

Is there a show called Pie Boss, The Ace of Pie or the great Pie bake off? No, no and no.

Pie has its place but that place is not the same space in our hearts and our minds that cake has.

All of this to say, just because the research tells you so, doesn't mean it's true. Greatness can and has failed in research and if you don't believe me, just look at the case of pie vs. cake.

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