Investing in each other

We received a very short email in early March. It's curtness and efficiency belied the fun that would result a few weeks later:

To: elaine@voila-chocolat.com

Subject: Interested in an event

For approx 25 people. Wednesday April 15. About 5pm?

 

And that was it. The brilliant and hard-working research team at Pzena Investment Management wanted to come to Voilà Chocolat to enjoy some team-building, to take a break from scouring the global markets for value, and to learn how to make chocolate truffles.

Hurry, guys. Rakesh needs this slide by EOD.

Hurry, guys. Rakesh needs this slide by EOD.

Then the team at Pzena called us a few days before their event with this request:

"We'd like to do something in teams."

 

That's great. We can do that.

 

"And we'd like it to be competitive."

And so we assigned to our guests the task of making and decorating bark out of their leftover chocolate. COMPETITIVELY. Teams were to be judged (by one another) on 5-point scales of creativity, execution, and overall concept.

We were absolutely tickled that all 5 teams, without any prior coordination, decided to make Powerpoint slides out of their chocolate bark. Of COURSE, an investment management research team would find a way to make charts and graphs out of chocolate. One guest even cut the logo off of her business card so she could add it to her bark! (FYI for next time, we have better solutions for adding company logos to chocolate...) 

This outlier here is the price of oil in Q4. No, wait. Sorry, it's just a cocoa nib that fell off.

This outlier here is the price of oil in Q4. No, wait. Sorry, it's just a cocoa nib that fell off.

And the chocolatey displays of quantitative information actually were REAL! As teams presented their creations to each other, they pointed at line graphs indicating assets under management and pie charts of asset allocations.

The bark creations were all so good, and the mutual judging was so consistent, that there was a scoring tie that could not be broken, even to 9 decimal places. Our own Chef had to break the tie with her professional chocolatier's assessment. Which proves one old bit of wisdom: sometimes, all algorithms just can't subsitute for long-term professional experience.

They told us they were willing to put their money where their mouth is.

They told us they were willing to put their money where their mouth is.

"...in conclusion, at Pzena we not only make money for our investors, we also make our own happiness."

"...in conclusion, at Pzena we not only make money for our investors, we also make our own happiness."

Is it your turn next? Email elaine@voila-chocolat.com to plan a fun team-building event or other occasion. 

Is it your turn next? Email elaine@voila-chocolat.com to plan a fun team-building event or other occasion. 

Elaine Boxer

Voilaà Chocolat, 221 W 79th St, New York, NY, 10024, United States