Pizza Wisdom

Years ago, I was in a business workshop led by Jerry McNellis. Jerry taught techniques businesses and non-profits can use to organize complex projects and develop action plans that work. During the workshop, we were talking about the danger of using analysis to avoid taking action. Jerry shared some stories of projects that got stuck in the research phase because the team wanted to know more about the problem, possible solutions, and theoretical outcomes. It happens all the time.

While there are times when research can really help, exhaustive analysis doesn’t always make sense. There are plenty of problems that can be better understood with a simple, low-cost experiment. 

To help us remember the idea that some mysteries can be better explored with an experiment than with research, Jerry offered this maxim—
“Try the squid pizza.”

Will you like squid pizza? You could list all the potential positives and negatives and weight them and diagram their relationships in an exhaustive orgy of analysis. But it is far more efficient to just try a slice of squid pizza.

I like the phrase “Try the squid pizza” because it also captures the idea that experiments can feel uncomfortable. Experiments are risky. You might not like squid pizza, but in 30 minutes you’ll have your answer. You’ll know the truth.

One of the things I like about starting my projects on Kickstarter is how easy it is to try an experiment. Will people like this idea? I can simply show the idea and get an answer in a few days. (And for me, describing a new project on Kickstarter is a hundred times more fun than doing analysis.) 


12 Responses

Mary Jo Stoop

September 27, 2021

If it were named Calimari pizza, I believe result in a broader survey. Naming it Squid eliminates the squeamish. I would eat it with relish either way. Wearing a Squid pizza Tee-shirt is a perfect way to share this ideal maxim. Defiantly should be called Squid Pizza. We your people have spoken. A Tee-shirt would be an instant hit.


September 20, 2021

Squid are too smart to eat, but I like the philosophy. Maybe I’ll change it to frog pizza. 😁

Kent Harris

September 17, 2021

Squid pizza is a simple reordering, placing a quick and inexpensive experiment before analysis. The classic management quagmire of “justification” and a pseudo-forecast hypothesis is precious time spent and lost forever.

PS I recommend the squid pizza with anchovies.


September 17, 2021

Our Japanese student would not only enjoy squid pizza but would also top it with a squirt of mayo!

Donna s Harter

September 17, 2021

the squid pizza is way to salty and causes water weight gain, also makes you gassy at the worst moment during the tasting meet and greet luncheon


September 17, 2021

My very smartguy friend David has a maxim for pizza: “No fish, no fruit.” ’Nuff said. ;-)


September 17, 2021

So, in September 2021, we are directed to this writing.
The T-shirt must be made.
I like squid. I like pizza. I probably like squid a weeeeee bit more.

I’d rather try the squid pizza than a cannoli.

Barry Hall

September 17, 2021

I shall begin using that term today!

Tim Cunningham

February 16, 2017

But we are taught to research not to experiment!


February 03, 2017


Stephane Lacoste

February 03, 2017

I can picture students of schools of management wearing those tee-shirts with the phrase pronted under the pizza.

maurie coleman

February 01, 2017

The round squid pizza slices would go very nicely on a tee shirt (hint, hint)

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