I was expecting the answer to be something like six months. "You can't develop a successful new candy in anything less than two centuries," she said.
I then stood and spoke long and eloquently about forecasting consumer candy-eating habits and concluded with, "Creating a new candy is not something I can help you with -- I'm no cook -- but forecasting what confections consumers will be eating in two years? I'm all about that."
I sat down and the room broke into long, loud, and spontaneous applause.
I turned to my companion (I have no idea who she was) and said, "They're clapping for me?"
And they didn't stop before I woke up either.
Now, a little commentary here: I worked a long time ago as an inventory analyst for Musicland before it became defunct and loved the forecasting element of the job, trying to predict what CDs and cassettes (yes, it was that long ago) would be selling for any of the 1000 stores up to four weeks into the future. It was both fun and challenging.
I have since made several stabs at trying to be an analyst -- and even a programmer! -- since then and have come to dislike and even hate analytics of any kind. Mostly because what managers want to know from the data is...boring. Oh my God, so boring! So many possibilities to learn and the people with the power to know don't want to know anything useful that they might glean from the endless stream of data pouring in!
Sometimes I'm just embarrassed for them. So I'll take the dream applause for my career that wasn't.
Thank you, Academy of Dreams!