Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I am reading "The End of Overeating", by David A. Kessler. The book is about what (and how) has made Americans a nation of the obese. In short, the what is food designed according to the formula Fat+Sugar+Salt+Flavors; the how is making the food as accessible and appealing to people as possible. Some time ago, based on David's talk at Google, I put together a 10X diagram that described the shift in food-related business models.
Among other useful information about the science of eating and the food industry, the book is filled with interviews and accounts of meetings with "real life" industry executives. One of such stories is a good illustration of how a recipe for success has become a recipe for disaster:

They understood that I[David] was going to the heart of their business model. I described the stimulating qualities of sugar, fat, and salt, especially in combination, and told them that the brain is wired to focus on the most salient stimuli. "The more potent and multisensory your make your products, the greater the reward and the greater the consumption." of the executives spoke up, "Everything that has made us successful as a company is the problem."

TV and net-media seem to follow the same pattern.

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