As we know, it’s that time of year again, with final papers and commitments to book publishers regarding academic field work regarding…well, whatever it is that your work is regarding, namely food trucks and the like.
After 3 incredible years, though, I’ve got to say that we’re a bit burnt out on replying to 95% of your requests, so unless you are a personal friend, colleague or are writing something insanely exciting that will blow all other insanely exciting books outta the water, we won’t be responding. Please don’t take this personally. Even if, at times, I have. 🙂
For future reference, though, to save me from a future aneurysm, if you’d like to play the lottery and see if you win a response, please keep in mind that it is not our job to answer all of your questions and that we are fairly busy people with fairly busy schedules. (I can see already how this may incite a few angry or peeved comments about customer service or response, but I can’t find any other way to put this.)
WHAT NOT TO DO:
GIVE ME A BULLET POINTED LIST AND A DEADLINE OF LESS THAN A WEEK
Here’s an example of an email I received a week ago from an unintentionally obnoxious request:
- What business activities are important to the success of your company?
- How long did it take for your business to become successful?
- Why did you choose to have a mobile business instead of a traditional on-site location?
- What are some advantages and disadvantages of having your business on wheels?
- What counties do you mainly operate in?
- Do you plan to expand your business to other counties/states in the future?
- Do you plan on adding more Kogi BBQ food trucks in the future?
- Were there any struggles or difficulties with the start of your business? If so, what were they?
- If there was one thing you could do differently during the initial start of your business, what would it be?
- In what ways has the recession affected your business?
- How important is marketing to your company and why?
- What are some marketing activities you do regularly?
- How important are communication skills (written/verbal)?
- Which areas of marketing do you wish you had more formal education or training to assist you in running your business?
I appreciate you taking the time to read this email. It would be great if you could email me your answers at SOMEONE@someone.com by Wednesday, November 30.
Though I admire this student’s directness in getting down to the money shot of his inquiry — and he’s actually a lot nicer and more polite than most other struggling students, but seriously, lazy student research is annoying to deal with — and, even as I’m writing this, I’m wondering why I’ve allowed myself to deal with this from time to time in the past. Why is this student waiting until the day before Thanksgiving to write in a request for an ambrosia salad of very personal and impersonal information about our company business, most of which are already out there in the Google-verse of magazine and newspaper articles?
It’s like me hitting you up via email and saying,
“Dear Sir or Madame, I noticed you write a food blog and you get a lot of comments. I am writing a paper on food blogs that are popular. Please answer these questions by November 30th so that I can bang out a research paper by the end of the semester:
* What kind of food blog is it?
* Why have you decided to write this kind of food blog?
* How many visitors do you have to this blog, and what is the ratio between American and non American visitors?
* Why has this food blog become so successful?
* How have you decided to market this food blog?
* How did you come up with the idea to market this food blog?
* What was your strategy in creating your food blog?
* With the plethora of blogs and competition with vloggers on YouTube and the advent of Twitter, what are some of the difficulties and hardships you face as a blogger?
* Do you make money off your food blog?
* How has the recession affected how much money do you make off your food blog?
* Is most of this money by donation or ads or other? Please specify.
* I noticed you write some personal stories about your dead father and how it relates to cooking. Was this also a marketing strategy targeted at a specific demographic?
* How successful was this strategy?
And just imagine receiving several of these emails a week, or even per day, the close we inch towards the end of semester/quarter. And believe you me, I get a wide range of requests, that range from polite to wow-did-your-parents-drop-you-on-your-head-when-you-were-a-baby.
Professional academics/college professors/teachers tend to be much more cordial, but at the end of the day, they want you to hand over your personal medical records in the form of a taped interview, if ya know what I mean.
WHAT TO DO
I guess, at the end of the day, it’s not worth my time to answer all these requests. And it’s more than the fact that there aren’t enough hours in the day to do so. I mean, at the expense of sounding self-important and selfish, really — what’s in it for…me?
There. I said it.
I can see what’s in it for the laziest of students. I can see what’s in it for the college professor who has a book to publish. But seriously, what’s in it for me?
I find no joy in taking a break to answer a list of the same, unstimulating questions that one can easily find answers to on the internet. (WHICH ISN’T EVEN REAL RESEARCH!)
My advice to students, academic researchers and writers — if have an inquiry for us — or anyone! — make it worth our time. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to pay us $500 an hour (though we would not be loath to declining that offer), but present a project that would be mind blowingly exciting to the person you want to cull information from.
“Hi, I’m writing a paper on the evolution of food trucks…” — PASS
“Hi, I wanted to know what is your most successful business strategy…” — PASS
“Hi, I’m writing a paper on LA immigration patterns and how it’s impacted all areas of the food industry, from restaurants to gas station mini markets to food trucks. What I noticed is that in an interview that Roy Choi had mentioned how Kogi is “an expression of the streets” of LA and I was wondering if anyone at your company could help me figure how what he meant by that and if there is a chance that he as an immigrant (I read in the WSJ that he was born in Korea and moved here at the age of 1) was able to connect his own historical experiences to the very expression of his food.” — OOO, INTERESTING.
In any case, if you’re not sure if it will be an incredibly exciting inquiry, at least spend some time doing some research and ask questions that have shown that you have done your due diligence and that you are at least semi-passionate about your paper/book and about Kogi as well. And, after having done that, put in a small prayer that someone will get back to you.
AND NOW THAT WE’VE GOTTEN THROUGH THIS TOGETHER, LET’S ENJOY SOME FLASH MOBBERY, CHILD PRODIGIES AND MUSIC, SWEET, SWEET MUSIC.
If you enjoy flash mobs of epic, Bollywood-esque proportions, the one that hit the Beirut airport might just be right up your alley. It’s a mix of dabke (folk line dancing) and hip hop.
And hath anyone heard of David Garrett? In general, I’m not normally attracted to grown men with blond (or red!) hair but I do find this dude quite fetching. MAN, he has beautiful stage presence.
And for those days you are feeling exceptionally lazy, here is a motivating and inspiring short 60-minutes piece on a 12-year-old prodigy to end all prodigies. Pay attention, it’s quite cool and even a bit eerie, me thinks.
Love and tacos,