Gladwell says that Howard Moskowitz has perhaps done as much as anyone to
make people happy over the past 20 years. Can you think of three other people who
have made people happy in the last 20 years and how they did it?
Psychophysics is the study of how people perceive stimuli. It is a branch of
psychology. Howard Moskowitz uses it to determine how people perceive food (in
this talk), but it can be used to study how people perceive light, pain, or any other
stimuli. If you could measure how people respond to stimuli, what stimuli would you
rather measure — temperature or light?
The eureka moment for Howard Moskowitz was when he realized that they were looking for the perfect Pepsis (plural), not the perfect Pepsi (singular). Can you think of three other food or beverage items that people need multiple choices of to be happy with the product?
What were the qualities Gladwell shared that made Prego® superior to Ragu®?
In the "bowl test" Prego and Ragu sauces were each poured over a plate of spaghetti. The Ragu went straight to the bottom (a thin sauce), while the thicker Prego sauce stayed on top of the noodles. Prego had better "adherence." What are some of the qualities that make a good cereal? What ways could you test cereal to find the qualities people are looking for in a cereal?
When Moskowitz tested the Prego, he used 45 varieties with different qualities (sweetness, garlic, "visible solids"). What happened when the data came in, and how did Moskowitz deal with that issue?
People liked extra chunky sauce but didn't buy it because it wasn't available. Try to imagine some food item that you think people would like, but that isn't available right
now. What would it be?
Gladwell describes how the food industry went from looking for cooking universals
(the one best way) to variability (multiple best ways). How has this changed grocery
Gladwell says the difference between a coffee that people rate a 60 and one that people rate a 75 is the difference between a "wince" and "deliriously happy." Do you think the difference would be as noticeable between a coffee rated a 40 and one rated a 55 or one rated a 75 versus 90? Are all gaps equally important? If not, where do you think the key divide is?
Gladwell says that by embracing diversity we find a surer way to true happiness. For what other areas is this true besides food?
Watch this 1984 video of a Prego commercial and analyze how Prego uses the
code words for spaghetti sauce qualities and emotional triggers in the commercial:
Conduct a taste test on cereal with your friends or family. Gather a selection of cereals, have the testers rate them, and see if you can divide cereal into classifications as Moskowitz did with spaghetti sauce.
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