Weekly Thoughts


Turkey vs. Steak

In November 2020 we had ribeye steaks for Thanksgiving.  In the midst of COVID turmoil, cooking a whole turkey for our ourselves and tiny kids seemed unnecessary.  We figured why not add to the chaos by mixing up a traditional holiday spread? 

We’ll admit, it was delicious.  Of course it was.  We have yet to meet a (red meat-eating) person who would pick turkey over rib-eye steaks.  A high quality, well cooked ribeye is just hard to beat. That’s why, according to the internet, a pound of ribeye is $19.99 and a pound of turkey is $1.39. The market has clearly spoken. 

So, if the meal was so great, why don’t we just have steaks for every Thanksgiving dinner? They objectively provide us higher utility than turkey.  But we’re not going to do that.  Next Thursday we’re going to have turkey. Why? 

Because that’s what you do on Thanksgiving.  Even though turkey is pretty (very) low on our personal meat hierarchy, there’s something special about participating in a tradition that is bigger than ourselves.  On paper this makes no sense, why not optimize for our own personal utility?  In reality, the ability to participate in these traditions is a privilege.  Our families, and millions of other families, have been having turkey on Thanksgiving for generations. The point isn’t that there’s a better meat, the point is that our opinion doesn’t matter because we are stewards of a great American tradition.  

We have been thinking a lot about the importance of traditions in a company setting.  As we have more years of operating under our belt, we have started to develop our own internal rhythm of events and customs that are unique to Chenmark. We think these make our company special, whether it be our Summer Family BBQ, our Question of the Week, our Holiday Cookie Making event, our Annual Awards Ceremony, or our specialty Retreat Bumbu cocktail to name a few.  We put a lot of time and effort into cultivating these traditions so that our team feels that they are part of something bigger than themselves. 

We sincerely hope that at some point, decades from now, somebody else is in charge of leading Chenmark.  When that happens, we hope that when they are faced with the proverbial turkey vs. steak question, they understand they are stewards, not agents, and act accordingly. 

Have a great week,

Your Chenmark Team

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