September 24, 2010

Consulting Fridays

Friday in consulting is always an odd kind of day. We’re all working from home, so it’s harder to get joint work done because everything is on conference calls. Usually, Fridays become a lighter day where you’re wrapping up whatever individual work needs to be done for the client by Monday, and also working on whatever firm “extracurriculars” there are (e.g. recruiting, training, etc). On the one hand, it’s nice because you’re not continually hounded for updates; at the same time, everything has to be done by Monday when you get back to the client site, so whatever you don’t get done on Friday will have to be done at some point over the weekend. That’s definitely motivation to work hard on Friday!
However, I’m not going to lie… we definitely do our fair share of personal stuff on Fridays, since it’s really just trading it for your weekend time. For many of us, that includes some Facebook checking. But now, there’s a great way to “upgrade your body as well as your status.” Behold: The Facebook Workout. Seriously, that just made my morning. The “Farmville Twist?” And then “we gotta do the other side of the farm?” Hilarious! Definitely check that out.
In other random Friday news, I recently discovered a new kind of ice cream called Arctic Zero. It’s all natural (not even any fake sugar), and is an amazing 136 calories per pint. Yes, for about the same number of calories as one serving of Edy’s Slow Churned (my previous favorite brand of ice cream), you can eat an entire pint of Arctic Zero.
I had heard about this miracle ice cream for a while online, but never made the effort to seek it out, especially because it was purported to be about $8/pint. However, while at Whole Foods, I spotted it for a more reasonable $4.99/pint. That may sound like a lot, but it’s actually a fairly standard price for a pint of ice cream in Manhattan – it’s only at my ghetto grocery store that I can find ice cream cheaper than that. I don’t know why, but ice cream is one of the most marked up foods in NYC, with stores regularly selling it for $8 or so per half gallon. However, my grocery store usually has a sale on it once a month or so (and that’s about as often as I buy ice cream), so I usually manage to pick up a half gallon for $3.99.
I tried the ice cream and loved it! It didn’t taste fake at all, was still super sweet and tasty, and was generally a good deal. The only bad thing was I tended to go through it faster, because I knew it wasn’t as bad for me. Oops!
But then the analyst in me started wondering. How much extra was I paying in order to avoid gaining a pound? I created a little spreadsheet to figure it out, but my numbers somehow didn’t seem right. Adam of I Am Boring also works in consulting, so I decided to enlist his help. He ended up approaching the numbers in an entirely different way, which eventually led us to the realization that the cost would be different depending on how you phrased the problem. What we finally arrived at was this solution (Powerpoint slide compliments of Adam’s desire to avoid his own work):

There is still a lot more analysis we could do on this. For example, how long does it take you at the gym to burn off 3500 calories (one pound)? Multiply that by your billable rate (what we charge clients for our time), and you’ll figure out how much it costs you to eat regular ice cream and burn it off. Then you can decide whether it makes more sense to pay the premium for the ice cream, in order to avoid paying the opportunity cost of spending time at the gym. You could also compare that gym time to how much it costs to get liposuction and how many pounds are taken off with that to get a price per pound of not gaining the weight that way.

What can I say? I am an analysis nerd. If you are too (Steph, I’m looking at you!), feel free to check out our spreadsheet and suggest changes 🙂
For the rest of you, what would you pay per pound to avoid gaining weight?

3 thoughts on “Consulting Fridays”

  1. This post makes me hungry. AND, since it is Friday and I’ve got lots of random PPTs to draw I will choose Arctic Zero because I know I don’t have the time to burn off a pint of Edys.

  2. I paid a fortune for a case of Artic Zero online; apparently it was worth it to me to be able to eat a pint for the same calories in 1/2 cup light ice cream! I think of it as paying to be able to eat more, rather than paying to keep weight off. :)Although I haven’t bought it again…need to check out Whole Foods!

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