Here’s a lesson I picked up from a presentation I watched yesterday:

In the US, eggs are graded by the USDA as AA, A, and B grade eggs. Most consumers don’t know what these grades mean.

Curious folks could easily figure that one out by going to Wikipedia:

  • U.S. Grade AA eggs have whites that are thick and firm; yolks that are high, round, and practically free from defects; and clean, unbroken shells. Grade AA and Grade A eggs are best for frying and poaching where appearance is important.
  • U.S. Grade A eggs have characteristics of Grade AA eggs except that the whites are “reasonably” firm. This is the quality most often sold in stores.
  • U.S. Grade B eggs have whites that may be thinner and yolks that may be wider and flatter than eggs of higher grades. The shells must be unbroken, but may show slight stains. This quality is seldom found in retail stores because they are usually used to make liquid, frozen, and dried egg products, as well as other egg-containing products.

When you think about it, these grades don’t really matter to consumers. All of them are perfectly edible. Very few people will notice the difference after they’re cooked. For most consumers, what matters more is the size of the egg and the freshness of the egg.

Another similar example is the grading of tomatoes. The USDA grades tomatoes by their color and their appearance.

The problem with this is that this metric won’t work on heirloom tomatoes (what some might argue as superior to typical tomatoes).

Also, this metric doesn’t state whether the tomato has a crap load of pesticides/fertilizers on it that would help it achieve that level of color and appearance.

Now think of metrics used in your company: are they really relevant? or are they just there to provide a false sense of security?

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