Saturday, July 6, 2013

Everybody is a baker

A few weeks ago, I walked into a cup cake shop and since the little one was with me, we decided to take a look at the kitchen. And I was a little surprised. There was hardly anything hi-tech in there. I mean, the equipment was what one would find in a standard urban kitchen of today. And the shop boy assured me all the baking was done there itself. Perhaps I am missing something.

But while on the one hand, there is a lot of discussion on how the internet has democratized information - to some extent microwave ovens have done the same in India. Baking is one of those home-industries that has taken off after the introduction of microwave ovens and the easy availability of recipes and ingredients on the internet. Today one can find baking stuff like silicone moulds and other assorted items at almost any shop. There are practically no entry barriers. And by the way, cake making is now so easy that every neighbourhood has a cake shop that bakes its cakes right there - it has still not got cheap enough to enter every home, but who knows.

Everybody and their aunt is a baker today. Atleast at a cupcake, muffin, brownie and cookie level. There are some who are bakers even at a bread level (but right now, that requires a slightly complicated machine, afaik). And I am not saying this in a disparaging way - some of these bakers (including my better half) bake stuff that is way beyond the mass manufactured stuff that we get in the shops. For one, there are no preservatives. For another, the ingredients are great. And then there is satisfaction of having created something that is priceless. And if the kids are engaged in baking, that takes it to another level. 

But the bakers are not complaining, atleast not that I know of. For one, the market is huge and the home bakers caters only to homes. But, on the other hand, there are many premium bakers who are creating more and more artisanal stuff and charging a premium to do so.

We often face this challenge as part of learning and development. Everybody has an opinion on it.

So, how does one get better?

There are two choices, close down and protest that it is our job. Or Respond, exactly like the bakers. Create better trainings. Curate better content. Facilitate better. Design better. Do such great work that they come to you, because you have spent time honing your skills and getting better at it that when they think of training, they think of you...

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