Ever wonder what types of shenanigans go on at a start-up? Here’s a peek inside Egraphs’ HQ. Be forewarned, this story – Banana-gate – does not have a pretty ending. If you have a weak stomach, continue reading at your own risk
I was at lunch with some of the team and we were talking about various diets and nutrition when I offered that I came up with a theory at Stanford (just occurred to me while I was there, don’t want to besmirch their good name), that it’s pretty much impossible to gain weight from eating bananas. A banana weighs about 4 oz and is about 100 calories.
This conversation resulted in the following company email a few weeks later.
Siegfried and Kate believe that they can gain weight for 1 day based on eating only banana calories. They can eat other foods to accompany their bananas, but those calories will not be counted. We will calculate their daily calories, and any exercise they do will increase the amount of calories, so they can’t just work up a hunger to juke the system. Lippe, ever the snarky upstart, in a fit of trash talking bravado claimed he could eat 30 before lunch.
So I will be buying a bunch of bananas (many bunches actually). If they win the challenge they get the bananas for free and the pre-negotiated terms below. If they fail, they pay me back for the bananas.
Kate – $5 or a box of cookies
Sig – edible treat for the office to share < $15
John – i’ll be nice to him
Let the Monkey Business Begin
Kate letting me know that she thinks I’m cool for following up on my threat to conduct the challenge. The thumbs up is ASL for no sarcasm. Note the kitchen scale for weighing bananas.
Lippe emails me a picture on the way to work to let me know he’s already consumed 6 bananas on the way. The other guys start strong also and I’m preparing my defeat speech.
Lippe shows through his phone heart rate monitor that his vitals are normal.
Sig taking a break from eating bananas to eat a banana.
Kate brought in the magic bullet blender to turn bananas into baby food.
At about 1pm, Lippe had downed 24 of the ~27 Costco sized bananas that would equate to 30 average bananas. 30 bananas is ~3000 calories or about 7.9 POUNDS of food. He blended two into a smoothie, and peeled the 3rd. He was clearly struggling so we weighed the remaining and were able to remove about 1/4 a banana from his plate.
Lippe was banging the table and taking deep breaths. Other people were cracking jokes. Lippe was dead serious. Not sure if the laughing avoidance was focus and determination or pure misery. 1:20pm and he’s got less than half a shake and half a banana. 1:27pm and he’s got 10% of the shake and 1 bite of banana. He’s lying on the floor. 1:30 he finishes the smoothie, but grabs the trash can…and he LOSES. DQ’d cause it wouldn’t all stay down. Siegfried folds shortly after per below.
||2:11 PM i never want to smell another banana again. i’ll be working from the conference room until they’re cleared. thanks
||2:21 PM i quit @EricFeenymy stomach is holding a violent revolution, I am a good king and will relent
||2:23 PM weaklings! i am going to win.
At this point the best $20 I ever spent has become the best $10 I ever spent now that Lippe and Sig have to pay me back for their bananas. Kate continued to pace herself and show no signs of fatigue. She also shared her theory that coffee helps move the bananas through the system… convenient that her competitors dropped out before she reveals this.
Here is a graph I made from the banana consumption log I kept on a google doc. Note Lippe’s back slide, Sig giving up half way and Kate’s slow march to victory.
Lessons learned? Don’t do an eating contest with a food you love because there’s a chance you won’t love it anymore. While it’s not a good idea, you really don’t seem to be able to gain weight eating bananas. If you are considering an extra high fiber diet, consider balancing it with caffeine.