A lucky few of us who had logged years of part-time counter work at Ben & Jerry’s were invited to intern at headquarters for the summer. A try-out of sort, to find future management stars for the company.
Three of us were given an assignment on our very first day: To think long and hard and come back with a proposal for a new flavor. Something unique that would be a big seller.
“No problem, Ace,” said my experienced cubicle-mate. “Just think about what makes people happy. Put that happiness in a carton and you’re a winner.”
So the following day we three queued up with managers in a conference room to make our pitches.
“Cinnamon buns make people happy,” said the first guy. “I see a Cinnabon on every corner in every airport. Let’s make Cinnamon Bun flavored ice cream.” So they did, and later that guy became a Ben & Jerry’s vice president in merchandising.
“Waffle cones make people happy,” said the second guy. “We sell tons of them in our stores. Why not put them in the supermarkets too? Let’s make Waffle Cone flavored ice cream.” So they did, and later that guy became a Ben & Jerry’s director of operations.
“Christmas makes people happy,” said I. “Many of people’s happiest memories are of the green-and-red holiday season. Let’s make Asparagus and Rhubarb flavored ice cream.” And that’s why I work in publishing.