Wednesday 8 July 2015

Episode 31: Desk

From Under Dark Clouds: The story of a burnt-out British celebrity who, after scandal and disgrace runs away to a little village in Greece to seek asylum and get his head together. All he needs to do is keep his head down until the clouds blow over and on no account get elected!

DeskThe main conference hall was filling with noise, the business spleen of the city venting bile.

I took the stage and paced up and down while the din abated. The turnout was much more than we had expected, someone had been talking. I was tempted to quote Tyler Durden, my dear Blogees, very tempted.

“Good afternoon, gentlemen… ladies.” I paced some more. I once read that people listen to quiet speakers, actively listen, afraid that they’ll miss something of importance. Loud speakers, on the other hand, were just passively allowed to push their point across. I had developed the theory and said nothing, I just paced. “Please raise your hand if you received an invitation from my office.” Heads turned until one raised then more followed. “Good!” I paced a little more. Hands began to fall but as I pointed at each of them as if counting, they came back up along with some that hadn’t been up before. “You, Sir! Did you receive an invitation to be HERE today, or not?” He leaned back in his chair and stared me straight in the eye. I held up a piece of paper, I had no idea what was on it. “Are you, Sir, on this list?” He shrugged. “So, what makes you think I want you here. All of these good people were invited. What makes you think we need you here?”

“Everybody, who does not have an invitation from MY office, please stand and leave to the foyer. And know that you have this man to thank for your wasted time!” I turned my back and left the stage.

Out in the foyer, a scrum formed with demands to apply and my staff took their details. Everyone except the man I chastised.

Back on the stage, I spoke to the remaining guests.

“Some of you have built your businesses, some of you have had them handed down on a silver platter. What unites you all is that you are still here. Your operations are still big enough to consider moving them. Which makes you the most devious bastards on the block, the survivors.” I allowed them to decide whether they had been insulted or complimented, they stayed seated.

“Since I arrived here, I have seen businesses close. The high streets become ghost towns. Signs for sales just becoming a euphemism for bankruptcy. You have been hit, time and time again by rising taxes, a shifting economic climate and fewer and fewer customers. I don’t care, you are all the cause of this fucking problem, you are all playing your own role in this tragedy. You have all taken without thought of where it would all come from. Just as long as you had your island holiday villa, your German car, your Filipino maid. Now the well is dry, you want to run away and your only hope is Bulgaria, China and me!” This caused uproar, some stood to leave. I stood arms folded and tapped my foot. Soon they were all back in their places.

“I will protect you from the storm because I need you. But you need me more.”

I knew this because Mike the IT guy knew this. He knew this because the state knew this and always had. We couldn’t risk having any honest men here. Honest men are always the most unpredictable.

“What do you do, sir?” I directed at one.

“Furniture. We make furniture.” He replied.

I asked why he wanted to leave, why he wanted, after all these years, to take his business to a country they all despised and ridiculed. Then waited for the laughter to subside.

“You think this is funny? I’m building an ark! I’m building an ark and I don’t have room for dodos. I will protect you from the storm but nobody travels for free. Any stowaways will be thrown overboard. You, furniture man, I want donations to the schools, the poor, I want employment for my constituents. I want a fucking new desk in my office!”

I interrogated others in the audience. What do you do, what can you give?

“So why not just pay the taxes?” one asked.

“Pay your taxes then, go on, get out and start doing what you haven’t been doing for years. But tell me this. Are your taxes going to get anywhere near this country’s economy, will they fix the roads and pay the teachers? No! They’ll go straight to the loan-sharks. Can you use tax contributions for advertising?” I asked. “Is paying your taxes gonna make you the most popular industrialists in the country? A beacon of light” This brought about more muttering and head-turning.

“I guess most of you know who I am now. I was… AM! A big deal back in my country.”

The WAS echoed somewhere in the room but I missed from where.

“You think I became so famous because I’m funny? You think telling a good joke about my penis got me the headlines?” This did get a laugh, maybe my penis was funnier than I gave it credit. “NO! I got there because people thought I cared! They believed in me.” Fuck! Dr. Alex would be proud of me now. All of our private sessions and now only in front of a room of hard-nosed entrepreneurs could I say it. “I fought for the common man and they took me to their hearts.”

“Are you saying we are like you? A fraud.”

Socrates was doing that slashing palm movement again at his throat. One of these days he’s gonna choke or have an embolism and I’ll just think he’s telling me to shut up.

“I’m saying we’ve all made sacrifices, ethical sacrifices to get what we wanted.” I stared them in the eyes, all of them then left the stage.

Socrates came out to talk of magic accountants and our proposed zone of protection. He knew how to say what needed to be understood without incriminating anyone. He followed with questions and answers without actually answering anyone but they understood. I heard one ask if they could trust me. His reply was curt and laconic, turning the question back on the questioner, “Could we trust him?” Putting paid to that line of inquiry.

I walked back out to wrap it up. I asked if we understood each other, if they were willing to build a mutual, symbiotic community with me. They agreed.

“BUT don’t come back when the ark has sailed.” I made to leave then stopped. “You have two days to make a proposal to the town hall detailing what you can give back to the community and we will make all you problems, little problems.” A step more and they began to realise that it was time to go. “And remember,” they stopped. “This ark is not big enough for everyone, so make it good. Make it very good!”

I left the stage exhausted but vital. I made a note to make an appointment with Dr. Alex.

We had a healthy pile of envelopes by the end of the two-day deadline, all hand delivered, no one trusts email anymore. Then a call from reception. “We have a delivery for you, Sir.”

Soon, two burly men arrived in my office with a bubble-rapped package and a clipboard. They unwrapped a new desk, maybe a little modern for my liking but well-made and taped to the top was an envelope.

The phone rang, the well-assembled secretary answered then looked to me solemnly. “For you, Sir. It’s Athens.”

“Long time, no interest!” I answered. Those fuckers only call when it’s bad news. They usually are bad news.

The voice on the other end introduced himself as the secretary to the minister of development. “Listen, we’ve been hearing about an industrial park you’re planning?”

“Yes, we are trying to alloy the town’s businesses to make them more competitive and—”

He cut me off with a deep breath and an UMM. “Yeah, sounds tremendous and all that. It’s just we’d like you to stop.”


“We think it could be bad for business!”


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Tuesday 7 July 2015

Varoufakis movie - Fiscal Fury 1

FISCAL FURY 1 (2015)






Vin Diesel stars as ex Greek special forces, Yanis Varoufakis whose passion for erratic Marxist ideologies and video games drives him to teach economics in a top US college. Tom Hardy is the democratic saviour of Greece, but his poor grasp of numbers leaves him no choice but to call on his old mentor to try to balance the books in his country's darkest hour. Anthony Hopkins is back to his creepy Dr. Hannibal Lecter form as Angela Merkel, the errant auditor who has her eyes firmly on his marbles. 
Only he can face the evil tyrants relentless attacks on his people. The film's cry of "You can have our debt but you will not take our dignity!" will have you standing in the stalls.  


Vin Diesel
Yanis Varoufakis

Tom Hardy
Alexis Tsipras

Helen Mirren
Christine Lagarde

Jason Statham
Wolfgang Schaeuble

Anthony Hopkins
Angela Merkel

Rating:R (adult situations/language)
Genre:Mystery & Suspense with Cheese
Directed By:David Fincher and Yanis Varoufakis
Written By:Yanis Varoufakis
In Theaters:
On DVD:very soon after

Monday 29 June 2015

Episode 30: Potatoes

From Under Dark Clouds: The story of a burnt-out British celebrity who, after scandal and disgrace runs away to a little village in Greece to seek asylum and get his head together. All he needs to do is keep his head down until the clouds blow over and on no account get elected!

A fable about potatoes follows
Autumn is closing to winter and the clouds are moving in again. I’ve started taking off my sunglasses and realised that I can’t see as well as I could. I visited an eye doctor, first time I’ve seen a doctor for anything other than my sanity. He said that I needed glasses, and not just to make me look cool.

I really expected this business proposition to be irresistible but it seems we haven’t fallen low enough yet, Dear blogees. The Chinese, Bulgarians and Indians are cheaper and better equipped than us. I’ve approached a number of struggling businesses in the city but just being in Greece is becoming a non-viable proposition. The only export market that is booming is money, it’s leaving the country quicker than it can be taxed and the banks have the runs like a dog with distemper.

I offered rent-free premises, subsidised workforce and concessions on utilities but no-one seems interested. You just can’t give Greece away these days. We had Makis on the hook but until we have him in the net it is just hot air and big talk. Maybe my negotiation skills just aren’t doing the business and we needed to get the constituency doing business. 

I needed Socrates’ counsel. He began with an anecdote. When potatoes first arrived in Greece, an enterprising merchant rubbed his hands together in glee. He had exclusive rights to the next big thing in staple foods. He imported hundreds of tonnes of the nutritious tuber expecting them to sell like heroin on a council estate. However, his initial exuberant forays into the market met with apathy and derision. Understanding the market as he did, he realised that maybe he had priced them too high and began discounting to build a consumer-base. After dropping the price to below cost, he still had no interest at all, while his shipment sat on the quayside rotting. Eventually, resigned to defeat he opened the doors to give the stuff away. At least, he would be doing the community some service and he would not have the clean-up bill for the disposal of the rotten produce. Still no takers. Then, either by guile or fortune he put a twenty-four hour guard on the warehouse. Within three days the entire shipment was gone.

It took me a while to understand the meaning of this fable but the sun rose like thunder. There was something in what he had told Makis that had swung the deal and it was not based in orthodox business practice. 

“What did you tell Makis?” I asked.

“Son,” he said. “China will build him new premises. Bulgaria will give him third-world labour costs. But, I offered him something irresistible.”

Words bounced through my head like Porsche Cayenne, child prostitutes and even some position in the government but nothing I could put voice to.

“I offered him a tax haven here in Greece.”

“Profit?” I offered.

“No, you fool! Outsmarting the government! Did you understand nothing from the story?”

Clearly, I missed the crux.

Things had gotten a little difficult with hacking the tax department. Mike the IT guy is setting up a worldwide network of servers to hide his entry but he’s hit upon some other opportunities. He can generate paperwork that would show that produce from Greece was shipped to China, re-invoiced then shipped back to Europe at a huge loss. We could make Greece into an off-shore market.

“But, is that legal?” I asked.

“It’s saved the Irish,” he said. “With the difference being that we actually get to employ Greeks to do the work.”

Mike the IT guy was sitting in his dark room surrounded by screens and blinking lights jabbing at the keyboard. I asked him to explain the progress he had made. After what seemed like an hour, I asked him to explain it in English.

“Since this whole Silk Road business, the dark web has really upped its game. Porn was always the leader in IP cloaking but since drugs got in on the game, it’s gone in leaps,” he said pointing to things on the screens that just reminded me of The Matrix.

I told him what Socrates had said about China.

“Yeah, China was a challenge. You know they don’t connect to the web like the rest of the world. Facebook and Twitter are blocked but I got into a server in Taiwan and bounced through. I even routed through North Korea.” His eyes lit up. “Some mad shit there!”

I really wanted to understand what was going on but I just couldn't get how sending stuff half-way across the world and back again would benefit our people here. Wouldn't it cost a fortune in shipping?

“We don’t actually ship the stuff. We just generate the invoices so by the time it gets back to Europe, it’s cost more than it does to produce and everything is sold through stock houses at a loss.”

“But don’t you need to speak Chinese?” I asked.

“Remember the start-up team with the fruit porn? Well the girl really does know Chinese, she’s a qualified linguist. Very lingual too!” he smiled.

Now armed with how the process worked and the wisdom of Socrates’ anecdote, I went back out to build a business park.

I popped into the supermarket to buy some time with Spyros the supermarketer. He was in the back office but came out to greet me with some complaints and misery.

“How’s business, Spyro?” I enquired.

He began with his woes. He followed me as I put my milk back in the fridge. His bile would have turned it to yoghurt otherwise.

Eventually, I seized on a pause in his protestation. “We’re building a business park over in the abandoned warehouses on the edge of town.”

“Fucking waste of time!” He gurned disapproval. “Everyone I know is moving to China or Bulgaria, thick as shit but they work like slaves.” You know, I’m really getting sick of hearing that. “Or India, they work for a dollar a week there. Wouldn’t get these lazy bastards doing that!” I heard his checkout girl’s teeth grind.

I moved closer and reminded him that we had a trump up our sleeve; magic accountants. He smiled, only slightly and tapped his nose. I nodded confirmation.

As I left I turned and tapped my nose. “Spyro, this is between us, right! Not a word to anyone.”

He bowed his head and patted his chest. Then, looking up, “Hey, did you pay for the milk?”

Finally, it was time to get back to the town hall for some signing and stamping. I pulled a bottle of wine from the bag of incidental purchases made on my visits to our other special partners in the community and presented it to the well-assembled secretary. I kept the set of spanners. She beamed and held her bosom in surprise. My knees went a little weak.

“Oh! You have some messages on your desk, sir.” AND she calls me Sir!

On the blotter laid a perfectly ordered list of names and contacts, maybe twenty or so. At the top of the sheet was the title Enquiries for new business park.

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Monday 22 June 2015

Episode 29: Jaguar

From Under Dark Clouds: The story of a burnt-out British celebrity who, after scandal and disgrace runs away to a little village in Greece to seek asylum and get his head together. All he needs to do is keep his head down until the clouds blow over and on no account get elected!

Jaguar - When you absolutely, positively gotta get away
from the cops with your business rival in the boot - accept
no substitute.
Since this whole enterprise thing started I have been run off my feet, my dear blogees. I've barely had time to shit or wipe, but NOT both. I've hardly seen the wife, and the kids only when they're sleeping.

I must confess, the Pitch and Putt had left me a little disappointed if the future rested on porn and olive oil. Jude had found the whole experience quite risible but after speaking to Aris, I explained that it was a move in the right direction and it was a mindset of creative solutions to the problem that was important and not the ventures themselves. We should take heart in the changing Greek paradigm.

Aris and the Shedders had selected eight teams from the prospects including the cyber-school, some of the apps and a couple of the better olive oil and feta cheese ideas. They would be taken to the next level through their mentorage. He warned that fundamental flaws in their business plans may emerge during the incubation process but they may be able to pivot before the end. The ventures would be taken through a lean development program to arrive at a minimal viable product or MVP. The jargon is quite contagious.

What I am left with is the feeling that entrepreneurism is the key to the future and I have to get on board. The government, of which I play a minor role, is becoming the enemy of the future. The country is haemorrhaging bright young graduates, mostly to my country, and what we have left is, well, porn and olive oil. I have spent my career ridiculing authority and now life was beginning to imitate humour.

Socrates has a friend who makes children’s clothes. He has been finding it difficult to make ends meet and is considering moving production to Bulgaria or China. This struck me as madness, we have vacant buildings that could accommodate his production and more unemployed than you could shake a stick at. Socrates arranged a meeting.

Makis turned up in a new Jaguar, always a sign of style in my opinion. He squeezed himself out of the driver's seat, puffed a little and I offered my hand, he grunted and took it. Socrates and I took him into one of the prospective premises.

He shuffled around the bare open space kicking pipes and grunting. I tried to engage him about his business but it obviously troubled him too much. I looked for signs of him imaging his business buzzing out dungarees and cutesy frocks but after kicking around he just said, “Next!”

After the third, an ex national insurance office that had been vacated due to the downsizing of both the nation and its insurance. Socrates asked him to make a choice.

"The Chinese are offering a purpose-built factory," he snorted.

"But here you'll have Greek workers, experienced and hardworking," I countered.

He snorted again, "lazy fuckers! Always wanting time off and more money!"

"Maki, you know how important it is to have your business close, where you can keep an eye on it. Just think how long it would take to deal with the Chinese," Socrates said.

"You think I wanna spend time here? I'm in London most of the time running my lets. Fantastic place, London, so civil and organised." He coughed and hocked a Loogie in the dusty corner. “And! You can rent a wardrobe out for a grand a week.”

I explained our vision; to breathe life back into community, to utilise the rich resources of the town and its surrounding villages, to rebuild the working community, give the working man, and woman their dignity back, to be a shining beacon to the rest of the nation, to put hope back on the horizon. He looked at me. I offered him the premises for the first year without rent.


I laughed, he didn't.

I told him that we wanted him to employ sixty percent local people rising to ninety within three years. Now he laughed. I said we could subsidise salaries for the first six months until the new staff were trained.

"Subsidise, How much?"

I had his attention now.

"Thirty percent!"

Now he laughed and hocked another Loogie. "Those Bulgarians have to fucking sue me to get paid!" He kicked out his cigar and made for the door. "And I get a kick-back from the lawyer!" He was still making for the door. "listen, boys you're fucking amateurs. Call me when you get something juicy." I think I heard him mumble something about high-school girls.

Socrates looked at me, I don't think I've ever seen that look in his eyes before. "Maki, I've got an accountant who can do magic!"

He stopped, "How magic?"

"David fucking Copperfield magic!" Socrates fanned his fingers in the air. He approached the man by the door and turned away from me. Sun poured in through the open door and maybe it brought with it the heat that I was feeling. Socrates' lithe figure vanished in the shade of the business man. After a few minutes they turned and Makis was smiling, I think I preferred him grunting, it seemed more in keeping.

He held out his hand and made three steps toward me, I made up the rest of the distance.

"Well done, my boy! I think we can work with that." He pumped my palm.

We walked out to the Jaguar together in much lighter mood. Makis lit another cigar before sliding himself behind the wheel. "Listen, my boy, I'll be back from London in ten days. You know they still talk about you there.”


“Better off here!” his face assumed sympathy. “We'll make arrangements then. You want me to bring you something back?" He pumped a cloud from the window. "From home."

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Wednesday 17 June 2015

And the band played on.

and the band played on
Fresh calls for capital controls in Greece have met with frantic activity in the markets. As the game of brinkmanship plays out between the Euro 'institutions' and Alexis Tsipras' SYRIZA government, the only certainty in Greece today is the weather. So much money has left the country's banks over the last few years that they are only being maintained by emergency liquidity assistance, which itself is reliant on compliance to the ECB's terms. The country has already defaulted on one payment to the IMF under the guise of a forgotten clause in the loan agreement. The only question is whether the next will have any disguise or not.

A queue of bleary-eyed commuters wait at the bus stop to make their way to school or work. A car horn vents frustration at a driver taking a slim opening in the traffic.

The Greek economy has been in a shit blizzard for years now. A raft of new, often backdated, taxes and seemingly daily revisions to existing ones has made financial planning almost impossible for all but the biggest enterprises. In an attempt to extract blood from a stone, the government has raised VAT, imposed 'objective' taxes on the self-employed's receipt books and levied new taxes through energy bills.

A group of teenagers chat nervously as they walk into school for their final exams while another hits 'pay' to book his ticket to the UK to study advanced mathematics.

Tsipras has stood firm against the Eurogroup negotiators, refusing to cross the red lines of his mandate from the people to ease austerity. His economists recently presented a new set of proposals in order to release bailout payments, borrowed money that will go straight back to the creditors without touching the Greek economy.

A mother phones round her friends to reschedule her son's birthday garden party after hearing the weather forecast. Another packs her kids up for a day at the beach, now that they are on summer break.

According to Paul Mason, there is an option whereby the situation is put on suspension for nine months during which the IMF/ECB pay themselves, yet another default by another name. This may, however give time to work out a more tenable and long term solution or maybe give Tsipras time to prove his commitment to making reforms. But as GDP shrinks quicker than Levi's on a boil wash, there really isn't much more to tax. Greek HNWI have been squirrelling their assets far away from the greek economy for years now. VSBs and one-man-band enterprises have faced such aggressive taxation in a shrinking market that many just cover costs hoping against hope for things to change.

The owner of a car dealership goes through the week's sale figures. He is focused on improving turnover. He has a sizeable nest-egg in a foreign bank. He calls in his sales team, who do not. 

The high drama being played out in Brussels and the telephone-number sized debts have ceased to have any relevance to the Greek people. They know that nothing will change, the fear of falling has long passed. The colour of the notes in their pockets has lost any bearing on reality. Parents hope for a better future for their kids while their eye darts to this week's deals on the supermarket shelf. Few talk about it anymore, life has no penalty time, each day lost fretting over it will not be added to the end.

A man digs coins from his pocket to pay for his tobacco. Some teachers sit restlessly through a seminar on bullying in a stuffy school hall.

Greek capital will return home, when falling asset prices make Greece the biggest church bazaar in Europe. When land and real estate and any surviving businesses can be bought up and new empires built.

The Greeks are now the refugees with nowhere to go. They are already in Europe, they have no hazardous journey across the Mediterranean and no one to ask for asylum.

...and the band played on.

Monday 8 June 2015

Episode 28: Building a brighter future

From Under Dark Clouds is the story of a burnt-out British celebrity who, after scandal and disgrace, runs away to a little Greek village to seek asylum. All he had to do was keep his head down until the clouds passed. He couldn't even get that right, he got himself elected.

The future stars of business
Me and The Start-up Shed crew bowled through the teams of hopefuls. Aris high-fived and smiled, waving at those who couldn’t reach as we made our way to the entrance of the new accelerator facilities branded with Start-up Shed banners and a single poster with my cheery mug on it. The day had come for The Great Rookie Pitch and Putt, Dear Blogees and Aris had invited me to sit on the selection board. He’s a pretty smart guy, as it turns out, he’s got an MBA and everything. I really wanted to be an active member so I had done my homework. I tried to read the FT but watching Dragon’s Den and Shark Tank on YouTube had really whetted my appetite. We would be taking a risk on these ventures and I intended to test their mettle.

A girl shout from behind us. I looked round, my hand raised in recognition. “Danny!” My fat doppelganger turned and smiled at a young thing in a… well, it doesn’t matter. This guy has a big idea of himself, we may have grown up in the same area but we have nothing in common.

The venue for the First-Steps pre-seed incubator and accelerator programme is the new health centre that the previous mayor built. It was one of the few projects on the council’s balance sheet that ever really got built, needless to say it has never seen a white coat. At least now it would be used to do some service for the community.

We took our places at the top table with Aris at the centre and me to his right. He’d allocated Nigel a place at the end, he’d gone to cover some fracas in England but he promised to be back for today, he was cutting it fine. I could have given him some advice about schmoozing with the press but he’d have to learn his own way and I’m sure he knows what he’s doing, as I said, he’s pretty smart.

Aris looked to each of the members of the board, I clapped my hands and told him to bring it on. “Let the future begin!”

The first candidates came in and introduced themselves and set up at the easel.

“So, tell us about your business model,” Aris said in English. He spoke to everyone in English, especially the Greeks.

They looked to each other and one began. “Everyone knows that Greek food is the best in the world!” Obviously. “What is lacking is an international brand that stands for quality nutritious products such as olives, olive oil, yoghurt and feta cheese.” They proposed to build a brand name that would use the best Greek produce and market it worldwide. The other member rolled a poster down the easel with a very nice logo on some mock-ups of the bottles and packaging.

Aris grilled them on their SWOT matrix analysis, revenue streams and marketing strategy.

One of the Shedders asked about supply. They had been negotiating with some producers in Crete. What guarantees had they that once the brand expanded and with it, turnover that they could satisfy demand. They smiled and high-fived each other. We will continue to build a network of producers.

I shuffled the papers in front of me and cleared my throat. “And if your supplier gets greedy before you gain real traction?” Traction, eh?

They both chuckled, “He’s our uncle!”

The next team were two guys, with a video streaming service.

“Have you ever been out with you company, trying to decide which club to go to only to find that after you paid your entrance that it’s empty and you have a boring night?” he asked.

They had an app called iNight. They proposed to use camera feeds from a number of nightclubs throughout the city and users could get to see inside before they chose a club.

“What are your revenue streams?” Aris asked.

Clubs would pay to be featured. It would be free to users but there could be secondary revenue from beer and spirit companies.

Then another involving olives and feta cheese.

We had a another team who proposed a satellite system that took metrics of agricultural land to save farmers money with over watering and unnecessary over-use of fertilisers.

Aris went through the regular questions; revenue streams, competition, scalability. They passed on all points.

I decided to jump in, “So, very impressive!” They smiled gratitude. “Do you have the intellectual property on this technology?”

“Yes, of course, no-one else has this, yet.”

Aris, nudged me, this was exactly what we were looking for. To bring new technology from Greece that would change the paradigm of agriculture, worldwide.

“Could you give us a demonstration?” Aris asked.

“Well, no. But we are sure it can be done!”

Another with olive oil.

After that, things took a turn for the better, if only Jude had been there to see it. A cyber English school on Second Life. Students could have a classroom experience from the safety of their PC. I often see the kids coming home from English night-classes at the most unearthly hours. The streets are not as safe as they were in my day.

Another social network app proposed to help young people get the look they wanted by taking pictures of well-dressed bystanders then asking others to tag the pictures with opinions and where they could get the same clothes.

My phone buzzed, it was Jude. He was on his way from the airport.

More feta cheese and olives.

The last on our list was a brother and sister team with a video streaming service. It was the striking girl who’d called out to Danny on our way in. They exchanged smiles.

Subscribers would pay for personalised content including a gifting service to send the content to a friend on birthdays and special events.

“What is the scalability of your service?”

The young man explained that his sister was fluent in five languages including English and Russian. She said, “Hi!” and waved. Another member who couldn’t make it today spoke Chinese.

“Do you have any secondary revenue streams?” Aris asked.

Jude peeped round the door and slipped into his place on the board. Aris leaned round me and shook his hand.

“We are hoping to secure sponsorship from international agricultural producers for content marketing purposes.” He seemed to know his shit.

“Now, the internet is saturated with video content providers. How do you intend to differentiate your service?” Aris had assumed a stoney face but the team were unphased.

Jude opened his laptop and began tapping.

“Let me demonstrate,” said the guy. He reached into a bag and pulled a length of agricultural produce and passed it to the girl who made it disappear up to the Chiquita sticker. I crossed my legs tightly.

We all sat silent until Jude stopped tapping and leaned back. “So, is this the future?”

Photo Credit: S. Nirza via Compfight cc

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From Under Dark Clouds

The Century of DIY