Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 29: On Strategy.

I promised myself when I started this challenge that I wouldn’t resort to ‘shop talk’.  I spent almost the entire summer last year focusing on work related topics, and- to be frank- while I find my work fascinating, I’m sure that most people find Porter’s 4 Corners analysis to be about as stimulating as a lecture on the mating habits of snails.

But every so often, work and pleasure meld beautifully and I am reminded of why I enjoy what I do so much.  Such was the case tonight, as I was watching TV.

As an independent contractor, I wear many hats.  Sometimes, my work calls for me to focus on financial forecasting, and other times it comes down to operational management. But my very favourite thing to do is business strategy.  There is nothing I love more than breaking down a business to its bear bones, figuring out its competitive edge, analyzing the competition until all their weaknesses and strengths are revealed, and hammering out a plan to leverage all this information and turn it into sales and profits.  It is an incredible rush to see a plan come to fruition, and watch the results build in front of my eyes.

I’ve always enjoyed a good game of strategy. Growing up, I hated playing chess (I found it too slow) but loved to watch others play it.  I loved analyzing their moves, watching their faces, trying to predict what their next step would be, in the hopes of picking out the winner several moves ahead of the final mate.

I have an affinity for crime novels and suspense films, and a passion for figuring out “whodunit” plots.  I think my respect for my mom increased ten fold the day she and I first watched The Usual Suspects and she figured out the ending twenty minutes into the movie. (Seriously- she is that brilliant.)

I love the rush that goes into predicting behaviour, which is likely what drew me to my double major of Political Science and Sociology.  And there is no board game on the planet that I love more than a good game of Diplomacy, played among peers. (If you haven’t played this game before, and are a fan of Risk, Chess and/or Battleship, then I strongly recommend you find yourself a group of 5-7 players and give Diplomacy a go. If you’re in the Edmonton area, count me in.)

So it should come as no surprise that I love Big Brother. It’s my guilty pleasure, my péché véniel. I’m a pretty big fan of bad reality TV in general, but Big Brother takes the cake. I love to follow the minds of the houseguests as they work their way through different alliances and strategies to hopefully find themselves still standing in the final two.  I’m enthralled by how they reach their choices, how they interact with a group of complete strangers, swearing allegiances until-death-do-they-part with people they’ve known for three days.  I’m always impressed to see the brawn (competition winners) battle the brains (social game players) and watch how the final jury of peers represents its collective value system in choosing the “best of the best”.

Tonight’s episode of Big Brother had, in my opinion, the very best game move I have ever seen- both on the show, and in the history of reality television.  I’m not going to go into details for those who haven’t watched it yet, but suffice it to say that it was epic. (For those who want spoilers, see them hereIt reminded me of why I love this stupid game so much. I was simultaneously horrified by the socio-pathology of the move, and ridiculously impressed by the cunningness of it.  More over, I was completely humbled by the fact that not only did I not see it coming (despite my 14 faithful years of watching the show), but it completely 100% blindsided me.  My jaw fell to the floor, and I seriously wanted to leap out of my couch and give the player a standing ovation.

And then I was forced to ask myself a tough question: Am I really rooting for someone because they are a lying, deceitful, conniving human being who uses whatever means they can to manipulate others into doing their bidding, even if it means swearing on the Bible, all in the name of making a few extra bucks? 


I sure am.

Maybe that’s why I’m a good business strategist.

All’s fair in love, war, Big Brother and business, kids.


This blog is part of the 2012 Summer Blog Challenge (31 posts in 31 days).  To follow along with my fellow writers, visit their blogs: 

Natasha at Natural Urban Mamas
Meaghan at Magz D Life
Aramelle at One Wheeler's World
Cliff at Peer Pressure Works
Tam at Tam I Am 
Liam at In The Now 
Jessica at 2plus2X2

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