I originally found the PQM forum as a lurker and was not at all inspired to get involved with it because of this mindset. I want to keep things top shelf and this forum is a great place for people looking to making great pizza the top priority! Walter
I used to participate regularly on PMQ's Think Tank about ten years ago (before they converted it to a real message board format). I appreciate the Think Tank's mission, but I think it fails to deliver on its intended objective. In fairness to Steve Green and PMQ, I think this is mostly because the independent pizzeria business is a magnet for not-bright people who think they're gonna get rich by spending their small(ish) inheritance on a pizza shop that couldn't be given away to any reasonable person who understands that the pizzeria is only worth buying if it's already profitable (in most cases). (Yes, even if the pizzeria has $50,000 worth of equipment.) And even then, you still have to understand the balance of supply and demand if you can ever expect to make money. And you also have to work
. In most cases, success in the pizza business has very little to do with pizza. Proof: Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's, et al.
Like the Think Tank, there is certainly some misguided rhetoric on these boards, and some of it comes straight from me, but there is infinitely more wisdom about the forum's intended topic here at pizzamaking.com than at the Think Tank. No one here is trying to figure out how to sell bad, overpriced pizza to chumps, in an effort to make money without necessarily earning it. Rather, the best pizzamakers on the planet participate on these boards every day. Very few of the world's most well-known and most well-respected pizza vendors are able to produce the quality of pizza many of pizzamaking.com's members produce using inferior equipment and inferior ingredients.
Most of the "experts' can't make any kind of pizza except for the pizza they sell, and most of them probably don't even know why
their pizza is what it is. They're just mimicking what someone once taught them to do. That's not knowledge. Most celebrity "experts" can't even do that. Most of the celebrity chefs and bakers whose recipes are passed around on these boards possess a fraction of the pizzamaking knowledge of the people passing around their generic recipes, which the celebrities stole straight from bad sources on the internet. Even most great bakers possess limited pizzamaking skills, because pizzamaking and baking are not the same thing.
I withhold none of my pizzamaking secrets nor my lightbulb moments, and I know countless other members of this community operate the same way. If I steal someone else's idea, I try to give them credit. (I'm sure I forget sometimes.) I hope someday someone will give me an opportunity to make a living off of whatever pizzamaking, pizza-marketing, pizzeria operations, and customer service skills I may possess, but right now I'm just happy to have an outlet to share and learn and discuss everything there is to know about pizza. I thought I knew a lot about pizza when I joined the forum, but I guess I must not have, because I feel like I know infinitely more about pizza now than I did when I joined the boards in late 2010. I've picked up a lot of knowledge indirectly, rather than by following people's directions and instructions, and I know very little of it ever would have happened if not for all the information and pictures shared on these boards, without people like Peter, Scott, Bob, John (fazzari), Dan, Norma, Craig, Chau, Nate, Walter, Gene, Garvey, Ed (vcb), Tim, and so many other members who have posted and/or interacted with me directly.
I don't care to visit most of the famous pizzerias that everyone talks about (even on these boards). I'd rather try pizza made by the people whose names I just listed, as well as pizza made by just about everyone else whose passion keeps them around here. Especially the people who show up with almost no pizzamaking knowledge but who stick around and work hard to learn things that most people are too lazy to learn about pizza; things that can only be truly learned through experience and repeated failure.