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The Importance of 7.5

In this post, Isaac discusses how analysis of dishes is vital to the success of our food curation process.

In all manner of statistics, particular in the measure of such, there is always a cutoff point. A threshold the number must cross, arbitrary or not, to be statistically meaningful or useful. A magic number. In chemistry, the magic number is whichever creates a notably stable cluster of atoms or molecules. In basketball, the magic number of wins to reach before a team is considered a legitimate contender is 60. For Plum, the magic number of evaluation that each food item we curate must cross is a 7.5.
How did we arrive at such a number? Legend has it that as long as four months ago, our forefathers and foremothers set forth with a mission and etched it in the undying permanence of an Excel spreadsheet. The mission? To curate good food, GREAT food, for the potential users of an application that would be known as Plum. It is their mission that we carry out these days, and the 7.5 threshold is simply the line we ourselves have drawn in the sand. Be it taste, presentation, value, or any other metrics we use to determine whether such a food item can be placed on our menu and presented to you, our users, the food item has to cross that threshold.
The magic number itself may be arbitrary, as any individual’s taste in food could very well rank an otherwise okay dish highly, or co-sign a great one to the dredges of obscurity. To combat the threat of these random factors, we simply make everybody taste the food. One man may not change the world, but if the large majority of 10, 11 people can agree that the dish is of some merit, then who is to say otherwise? As long as the average is over 7.5, all is fair game. Then it’s no longer about proving that the food is of a certain quality, but just how high it’s ceiling can go. After all, Plum strives for greatness, not goodness.
It is in pursuit of that greatness that sometimes I feel I can lose my grip on sanity, constantly in pursuit of the “perfect” pork chop, or “perfect” bowl of noodles. Every decimal point on the score sheet lost can be harrowing. To any others, it could become a mark of discouragement, a testament to a pointless exercise that breeds frustration or bitterness. For Plum, the pursuit is anything but. The definition of insanity is to repeat the same action in expectation of a different result where there is none. However, we know that the Holy Grail in question does in fact exist. The perfect pork chop or bowl of noodles is out there, and it is our quest to keep searching for it until it is posted on our menu, as a monthly if not weekly fixture. It may be a long journey, it may be a difficult journey, but it it is one we are happy to take, even if we must do so one decimal point at a time.

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