My friends go mad when I complain about the quality of food. When I whine about having difficulty finding quality baguettes in Bangalore, derisive comments ensue - “Ooh Lord Snooty is proper French innit”. I could tell those plebeians why consuming only the very best of nourriture is essential, but it would be lost on them. So it is you, dear reader, that I turn to.
I wasn’t exactly born snooty; when I was a kid I would read whatever I could get my hands on and eat whatever I could. I like to think that my gluttony is on its downward spiral thanks to Compile.
These days I am choosy about what I eat and the kind of books I read. When you have exciting things to do stretching out like the Pacific before your eyes, you learn to prioritize. When your self-respect increases because of people who respect you for your abilities, when you get the freedom to shape your own career, you start understanding the value of being a snob. No, dear reader, that’s not a negative word. Let me explain why that is not so.
The best didn’t get to be what they are by pure chance. It takes tremendous hard work, intelligence and persistence to make it big. A Château d’Yquem isn’t merely a “hydro-alcoholic solution with a pH around 3“, it is the result of a passion for wine-making and the relentless pursuit of techniques ranging from taking care of the soil to ensuring the wine matures in perfect conditions.
Someone who gets to know the details of the art of wine-making for the first time may be shocked (culling!) by the extent to which producers go to ensure a good product. This near fanatical devotion to their art may be pooh-poohed by the lesser mortals – but you, my reader, recognize the passion and salute it.
Surround yourself with the best
There’s a scene in the movie Ratatouille where Colette Tatou teaches the greenhorn Linguini about the best practices of cooking. Watch carefully, for she’s someone who clearly spent a lot of effort learning these things and she’s giving you the benefit of her years of study and experience.
Surrounding yourself with the best allows you to grow in ways, some discernible, some not. Trust me, anyone can tell the difference. This should be so self-evident that I’m not even going to labour the point. Especially since it’s you, my intelligent reader, who are reading this.
When I was interviewing at Compile, what pushed me to join was this. An opportunity to work with people who are the best at what they do. Consistently, we have hired only people who meet our tough benchmarks. Which is why an year later, I believe that joining Compile was one of the best decisions of my life.
You know how they say “necessity is the mother of invention”? The hidden grain of truth in that statement is that someone somewhere was so dissatisfied with the way things were that they decided to come up with something new to change the situation. As Newton said, nothing moves unless someone moves it.
That drive in our case comes from dissatisfaction. Someone who is perfectly satisfied with the way things are in his life would never change the world. It’s those who are dissatisfied, those who think that something needs to change - it is they who change the world.
So when someone tells you that they weren’t happy with the butter they bought, point them to Normandy butter. It is, after all, good that they are discerning. Maybe they will change the world for the better.