Wednesday, November 16, 2011

15. What would you do if you just inherited a pizzeria from your uncle?

If I had no interest in or competency in the pizza making business, the best thing I could do is sell the business to an interested and experienced pizza restaurateur who might keep my uncle's traditions and therefore retain my uncle's clientele, in a lease and licensing arrangement or private equity investment deal, where I would have a small equity investment and receive a percentage of profits as the business continued. I would not sell the building or the land which the pizzeria occupied. I would retain the real property and the building.

If I had an interest and talent for making pizzas or if the inheritance stipulated that I was required to continue the business as an active participant, I would conduct market research and review the financial growth of the company. I would gather data on competitors in the area (to develop alliances so if an opportunity opened up to merge and create another branch location, I could do so readily), on menu items available among competitors (to copy what worked), and on pricing and costs from various suppliers (to keep prices on par for the market and to reduce costs without harming the product). The idea behind this option or approach is that I would conduct research to maximize profitability for the business I had inherited, while retaining the goodwill of my uncle's clientele.

14. How are M&M's made?

Cocoa powder, sugar, dried milk and other ingredients must be made into tiny round candies that will then be covered with a colored candy coating and stamped with a small white "m" so that the candy is recognizable as an M&M.

Too many tiny roundish candies must be produced for the cocoa mixture to be put into tiny molds. Rather than individual molds, which would be time-consuming, there must be a device that has gears and that rolls the material around until thousands of small round cocoa balls are created.

The colored candy shell is likely a liquid that is poured over the cocoa tiny balls then allowed to cool and harden. When the candies are stamped with a tiny “m” is very likely when they become flattened into the classic trademarked shape. Rather than a perfect ball you have a ball flattened on one side.

How is the white paint of that “m” applied? The colored candy liquid has a thin white layer underneath. When you bite into an M&M candy, there seems to be a thin white later between the candy colored coating and the cocoa center. Perhaps a tiny printing press type “m” is pressed onto each ball creating both the trademarked shape and the little white “m”…. Perhaps the printing press device that stamps the “m” removes the color that has just been applied leaving behind the white “m” of the white layer underneath the colored coating.

13. How many bottles of beer are [consumed] in the city over the week?

I have two suggestions for calculating an estimate of beer bottles consumed in the week.

The first approach involves estimating the population of the city, then the percentage that includes beer drinkers whether at home or out in restaurants and sports arenas. I would have to consider the events in the city for the week in question. Was it St. Patrick's Day? Was there a playoff basketball game? Is it Super Bowl week? Is it July 4th? Is it simply the time of year when beer drinking spikes? Could a poll be conducted for an appropriate sample size and then applied to the population of men and women in the city?

The second approach involves calculating the number of bottles sold out of grocery stores, corner shops and gas stations. Then calculating the receipts for beers sold at restaurants and sports arenas. The retail store number would only yield the number of beer bottles sold. We would then have to figure out how many of the bottles purchased were consumed. The restaurant and sports arena numbers would be a pretty close estimate of what was consumed. What is sold at a restaurant and sports arena is generally consumed rather than the beer purchased for the home which might be for consumption in two weeks or the next holiday. For the beers purchased in stores, we could use some known statistic about the average number of beers that a man consumes in a week and the average number of beers that a woman consumes in a week.

Both approaches have their flaws though right now the second approach might yield a number closer to the real number of beers consumed.

12. Why do you think only a small percentage of the population makes over $150K?

A small percentage of the population makes over $150K because employers are selective in distributing such salaries and require an investment of unique skill or time or talent in the acquisition of clients and revenues before giving such a salary. There are opportunities to make this salary in nearly any industry. Some industries will pay the salary to entry-level employees and other industries will pay the salary to highly experienced employees only. Some industries are accessible to a small percentage of the population because there are hurdles such as the years of education required or that employers value job candidates who have been educated at a few elite institutions. Many people would never choose a job paying a salary of $150K if they valued a certain amount of time with children and their husbands or wives and felt that the time and obligations required in exchange for the salary were a threat to what they valued more. Some people have goals for their lives that cannot be satisfied by a salary of $150K. Some people are dedicated to developing their skill at the piano, in comedy, at basketball or hockey, or in dance and the salary of $150K is irrelevant to them. They do not set a goal of achieving this salary. Some people have few educational opportunities or fail to take advantage of them. Some people are concerned with survival rather than with higher levels of achievement -- perhaps because of the circumstances of their family of origin. The world is full of people with different abilities, different values, making different choices and a salary of $150K is not a goal for many people.

11. What do wood and alcohol have in common?

1. Both wood and alcohol can be burned. Both are flammable.
2. Both wood and alcohol can be used to keep a person warm. Wood keeps a person warm when it is burned. Alcohol keeps a person warm when it is consumed intermittently in small doses.
3. Both wood and alcohol can be used to help an injured person. Wood can be used to construct makeshift binding for broken limbs. Alcohol can be used to clean wounds after removing debris.
4. Both wood and alcohol are the products of crops. Trees are planted for timber and harvested much like crops to distribute lumber and paper products. Alcohol can be made from wheat, corn and potatoes among other crops.
5. Both wood and alcohol have been used as energy sources for locomotion. Wood was used to power steam engines. Alcohol has been used to power cars.
6. Both wood and alcohol can be "cut." Alcohol is "cut" by adding water or soda or perhaps ice and waiting for the ice to melt. Wood is cut of course with an axe.
The question simply seems to test creativity rather than factual knowledge or science. I've exhausted my creativity on this item.

10. How many traffic lights are in Manhattan?

Let's say that 150th street is the northernmost barrier for what we will call Manhattan.
We know that there are 12 Avenues going across.
We know that Central Park runs from approximately 59th to 110th street and eliminates 3 avenues across with a lovely park.
We know that below 1st street is an indeterminate number of streets (unless one has memorized maps or works in transportation).
So if we have to estimate the number of traffic lights in Manhattan, we first have to estimate the number of intersections and we know some intersections have stop signs not traffic lights. We also know that an intersection with traffic lights will have at least 8 traffic lights but some times as many as 16 individual traffic lights.
The question was not how many intersections but how many traffic lights.
If we have approximately 3000 intersections and 2/3 of those have lights and 1/3 do not but have stop signs (we simply know that not all intersections have traffic lights)....
And if 2000 intersections have an average of 12 traffic lights, then the approximate number of traffic lights in Manhattan is 24,000.

9. There are three boxes, one contains only apples, one contains only oranges, and one contains both apples and oranges. The boxes have been incorrectly labeled such that no label identifies the actual contents of the box it labels. Opening just one box, and without looking in the box, you take out one piece of fruit. By looking at the fruit, how can you immediately label all of the boxes correctly?

The box with "Apples only" will be mistakenly labeled AO or O.
The box with "Oranges only" will be mistakenly labeled AO or A.
The box with "Apples and  Oranges" will be mistakenly labeled O or A.
If I stand in front of the box mislabeled O, I know that it is actually box AO or A.
If I stand in front of the box mislabeled A, I know that it is actually box AO or O.
If I stand in front of the box mislabeled AO, I know that it is actually box A or O.
If I choose either the A or O box, withdrawing the piece of fruit will be insufficient information because seeing either fruit will not tell me that I have the box with that one fruit or both fruits.
The only box where seeing the fruit will tell me the contents conclusively is the box mislabeled AO.
If I withdraw an apple, then the box mislabeled AO can be correctly labeled A.
Upon determining the contents of that one box, I can determine the contents of the other 2 boxes.
If box AO is now A, then I know that box O cannot be A (we already have A) and must be box AO.
The last box must be O.