I hit the halfway point Saturday evening, abandoning any pretext of plot. Although this thing is so disjoint and heavily weighted in dialogue, it’s long… and that’s what counts!
For the love of all things good in the universe, please do not read the excerpt below while sober.
I was interviewing for a marketing position earlier in the year. During the interview, a technical manager asked me: ‘How would you create a jigsaw puzzle?’
My answer was along the lines of:
— Determine its basic buyer demographics — who buys puzzles, what kind, how often, where do they buy them, how much do they spend, what other areas compete for those dollars, etc.
— Identify barriers to entry, key players, uniqueness of puzzle distribution, an any opportunities with a sufficient margin, etc.
— Learn how puzzles are made. Who supplies raw materials, what materials are used, who supplies them, what does that market look like, etc.
I went through Porter’s five/eight forces model. Next, I segued into what kinds of jigsaw puzzles I might want to explore making further. For example, if I thought there was a market, I might build an insanely difficult puzzle where both sides have a different picture, or a fractal-based puzzle where there were several correct answers.
I was having a lot of fun, totally getting into it. Then I noticed he was frowning.
What was the problem?
The question he meant to ask was ‘How would I assemble a jigsaw puzzle I just brought home from the store?’ In other words, the answer he was looking for:
— Open the box
— Dump out the pieces onto a table.
— Turn all the pieces over so the picture side is up.
— Finish the puzzle.
My answer was a little too out-of-the-box for him to accept.