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That’s Waffle Thinkin’!

Posted by Gia Lyons on June 11, 2008

Last night, while at the Enterprise 2.0 Conference, I ended up in Blogtronix‘s suite, where they had a snazzy wine and cheese thing going on. We are all competitors at this conference, but unsurprisingly, we are all quite friendly and social with each other. Blogtronix puts on a great party!

Anyway, I had remembered reading/hearing/watching something that posited the following:

Men think like waffles, and women think like spaghetti.

We started discussing this. Waffles are orderly, compartentalized, and quite tasty with syrup and butter. Spaghetti, on the other hand, is a jumbly mound of unpredictable configurations, and tastes best with just a little spice in the sauce (but, is also good with syrup and butter – what isn’t?). When I had first explained the Waffle and Spaghetti analogy, one of my (male) pals piped up and said, “Maybe we need to use a breakfast food analogous with spaghetti, or a dinner food analogous with waffles, so that the comparison is even more dramatic.”

I, of course, said, “Why can’t I eat spaghetti for breakfast? That’s Waffle Thinkin’, man!”

I then remembered Stowe Boyd‘s session earlier that day, Web Culture and the New Ethos of Work. Stowe talked about how the corporate world must re-think the “post-everything” era, and reform the way work happens (I paraphrase horribly). He showed up at the party later with his awesome hat and enlightened me further in person, but I was drinking by then.

Anyway.

Many corporations are full of Waffle Thinkers. Waffle employees are very expensive cogs in giant industrial-age wheels (or, little squares in giant waffles), cranking away to earn more money for some stakeholder so that he can buy another shiny boat. Stowe talked about how employees will become “artists” in the future, with freedom to create and share and consume across the Waffle. To me, that’s good Spaghetti Thinking. The enterprise needs more Spaghetti Thinking, regardless of gender. We need more unpredictable, serendipitous, temporal organizational configurations and connections. I’m not saying we need to throw out the Waffle Way, but maybe pile some spaghetti on it.

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12 Responses to “That’s Waffle Thinkin’!”

  1. kellyd said

    Brava! More spaghetti!

  2. Giora Hadar said

    Just like in the book “The Spider and the Starfish,” Waffles are about [central] control as they as orderly – especially when you create them with a waffle iron, and spaghetti is about [disorderly] decentralization. So bring me more spaghetti and I’ll play with it.

  3. Hi Gia
    being italian I did not fully understand your recipes around spaghetti nor the idea of having spaghetti for breakfast…. :-)
    Nevertheless, thinking out of the traditional consensus is something that, I too, consider very valuable.

    To find a common ground around the spaghetti metaphor, let’s say that you can top spaghetti with so many different kinds of sauces (fish, meat, vegetables, simple extravergin olive oil….) that the way in which you top them changes the flavor and, would say, the nature of your dish.
    It is the passion that you inject that changes the way in which the dish is savored and delivered.

    Somehow: choosing a different (though flavored) topping each day makes the difference between what a spaghetti plate is and having a 365-days (even) burger diet ;-)

    /Stefano

  4. Gia Lyons said

    Stefano, only you would take this analogy beyond my comprehension. :) Now I’m hungry.

  5. I liked the analogy of Spaghetti and tried to enhance it.

    The topping of spaghetti is what makes them different, what makes them “artistic” and “always different” (thus you can have a different topic each day of the year)

    /Stefano

  6. [...] in retrospect, all of this is a classic example of Waffle Thinking. I’m a cog who left the wheel. Need to get a new cog (waffle square?). Fortunately, there are [...]

  7. [...] in retrospect, all of this is a classic example of Waffle Thinking. I’m a cog who left the wheel. Need to get a new cog (waffle square?). Fortunately, there are [...]

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