[linux-elitists] Congrats

Justin F. Knotzke shampoo@cam.org
Thu Dec 9 16:24:35 PST 1999

Rick Moen wrote:
> Quoting Dire Red (deirdre@deirdre.net):
> > Actually, it reminds me of that section about business plans in
> > Cryptonomicon.
> In case anyone hasn't read it:

	And if you haven't read the book, RUN to your local bookstore and pick
it up. It's an awesome read.


> Excerpt from _Cryptonomicon_, by Neal Stephenson, 1999, Avon Books,
> ISBN 0-380-97346-4, starting on page 238:
> Epiphyte Corp.'s business plan is about an inch thick, neither fat nor
> skinny as these things go.  The interior pages are slickly and groovily
> desktop-published out of Avi's laptop.  The covers are rugged hand-laid
> paper of rice chaff, bamboo tailings, free-range hemp, and crystalline
> glacial meltwater made by wizened artisans operating out of a
> mist-shrouded temple hewn from living volcanic rock on some island known
> only to aerobically gifted, Spandex-sheathed Left Coast travel bores.
> An impressionistic map of the South China Sea has been dashed across
> these covers by molecularly reconstructed Ming Dynasty calligraphers
> using brushes of combed unicorn mane dipped into ink made by grinding
> down charcoal slabs fashioned by blind stylite monks from hand-charred
> fragments of the the True Cross.
> The actual contents of the business plan hews to a logical structure
> straight out of the _Principia Mathematica_.  Lesser entrepreneurs
> purchase business-plan-writing software: packages of boilerplate text
> and spreadsheets, craftily linked together so that you need only go
> through and fill in a few blanks.  Avi and Beryl have written enough
> business plans between the two of them that they can smash them out from
> brute memory.  Avi's business plans tend to go something like this:
> MISSION:  At [name of company], it is our conviction that [to do the
> stuff we want to do] and to increase shareholder value are not merely
> complementary activities -- they are inextricably linked.
> PURPOSE:  To increase shareholder value by [doing stuff].
> EXTREMELY SERIOUS WARNING (printed out on a separate page, in red
> letters on a yellow background):  Unless you are as smart as Johann Karl
> Friedrich Gauss, savvy as a half-blind Calcutta bootblack, tough as
> General William Tecumseh Sherman, rich as the Queen of England,
> emotionally resilient as a Red Sox fan, and as generally able to take
> care of yourself as the average nuclear submarine commander, you should
> never have been allowed near this document.  Please dispose of it as you
> would any piece of high-level radioactive waste and then arrange with a
> qualified surgeon to amputate your arms at the elbows and gouge your
> eyes from their sockets.  This warning is necessary because once, a
> hundred years ago, a little old lady in Kentucky put a hundred dollars
> into a dry goods company that went belly-up and returned her only
> ninety-nine dollars.  Ever since, the government has been on our asses.
> If you ignore this warning, read on at your peril -- you are dead
> certain to lose everything you've got and live out your final decades
> beating back waves of termites in a Mississippi Delta leper colony.
> Still reading?  Great.  Now that we've scared off the lightweights,
> let's get down to business.
> EXECUTIVE SUMMARY:  We will raise [some money], then [do some stuff] and
> increase shareholder value.  Want details?  Read on.
> INTRODUCTION:  [This trend], which everyone knows about, and [that
> trend], which is so incredibly arcane that you probably didn't know
> about it until just now, and [this other trend over here] which might
> seem, at first blush, to be completely unrelated, when all taken
> together, lead us to the (proprietary, secret, heavily patented,
> trademarked, and NDAed) insight that we could increase shareholder value
> by [doing stuff].  We will need $ [a large number] and after [not too
> long] we will be able to realize an increase in value to $ [an even
> larger number], unless [hell freezes over in midsummer].
> Phase 1:  After taking vows of celibacy and abstinence and foregoing all
> of our material possessions for homespun robes, we (viz. appended
> resumes) will move into a modest complex of scavenged refrigerator boxes
> in the central Gobi Desert, where real estate is so cheap that we are
> actually being paid to occupy it, thereby enhancing shareholder value
> even before we have actually done anything.  On a daily ration
> consisting of a handful of uncooked rice and a ladleful of water, we
> will [begin to do stuff].
> Phase 2, 3, 4, . . . , n - 1:  We will [do more stuff, steadily
> enhancing shareholder value in the process] unless [the earth is struck
> by an asteroid a thousand miles in diameter, in which case certain
> assumptions will have to be readjusted; refer to Spreadsheets 397-413 ].
> Phase n:  Before the ink on our Nobel Prize certificates is dry, we will
> confiscate the property of our competitors, including anyone foolish
> enough to have invested in their pathetic companies.  We will sell all
> of these people into slavery.  All proceeds will be redistributed among
> our shareholders, who will hardly notice, since Spreadsheet 265
> demonstrates that, by this time, the company will be larger than the
> British Empire at its zenith.
> SPREADSHEETS:  [Pages and pages of numbers in tiny print, conveniently
> summarized by graphs that all seem to be exponential curves screaming
> heavenward, albeit with enough pseudo-random noise in them to lend
> plausibility.]
> RESUMES:  Just recall the opening reel of "The Magnificent Seven", and
> you won't have to bother with this part; you should crawl to us on hands
> and knees, and beg us for the privilege of paying our salaries.
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Justin F. Knotzke
http://www.shampoo.ca  http://www.delta-tek.com
pgp public key: finger shampoo@shampoo.ca

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