Monday, April 12, 2010

Imagine the business plan

In his keynote speech at the PSFK conference on Friday, Rob Walker, while introducing his delightful Significant Objects project, mentioned how hopeless the undertaking had seemed when he first thought of it. He then went on to discuss, with several examples, his fondness for seemingly hopeless projects that have worked out.

This reminded me of a game l like to play called ‘Imagine the Business Plan’. This involves, as the name of the game would suggest, imaging how ludicrus the pitch would have sounded at the inception of some of my favourite, brave and innovative businesses.

An example: St John restaurant in East London. Imagine the business plan –

"I’m an unknown chef who has never had a restaurant before. I’m going to buy a disused smokery near a functioning meat market in a part of town where there are no other restaurants, in fact, not really any businesses of any kind and no residential property. We’re not going to decorate it really, just clean the cement floors, paint the walls white and put some tables and chairs from an old school in there. And we're going to serve mostly offal. Yes, that’s right, venison hearts, pig spleen stuff like that. And anything else that nobody really likes to eat like duck gizzards and squirrel. Oh and it’s going to be quite expensive."

St John restaurant now has a Michelin star and has been voted one of the top 10 restaurants in the world for the past few years.

If you’ve never been there, go. If I’m in London at the time, I’ll likely be propping up the bar with a glass of champagne and a plate of bone marrow in front of me.

I might make ‘Imagine the Business Plan’ an occasional series on this blog. Please feel free to contribute suggestions.

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