Devil's Den

Bobby had lived in Lucerne for six months. It was in truth as beautiful as when he’d first seen it – those stunning black and white mountains at opposite ends of the valley, with forests, lakes and rivers between – but its sheen had worn off somewhat. Just because a place is beautiful, he’d realized, doesn’t mean that you can find work there. He was fed up with selling muffins and pumping gas. He needed to start his own business; he had some ideas but no clue what to do with them.

He was delighted to hear that their glassy community centre, commonly called the Transparent Temple, was hosting a New Ideas Show. This was a forum for business start-ups, and those providing ancillary services, to promote themselves in a community-minded atmosphere. He saw many trucks coming on Friday, setting up for the weekend show.

On Saturday morning Bobby entered the Great Hall, which was full of bright stalls and banners. There were sandwich and massage franchises, internet hosting and search engine optimisation services, all competing for your attention. There were also branding and shipping specialists, designers, printers, accountants and lawyers. They all introduced themselves, presented data, gave you their cards, and wanted yours – to receive special offers and enter prize draws, they said. Their chatter was overwhelming.

Bobby came to a quieter area set with chairs, and joined the audience there in expectation of something interesting. The scheduled event soon started. He recognized the host, Collette Vapinski, a glamorous lady famous for being famous. She said, “Hello everyone! Welcome to Devils’ Den, a place where our panel of expert investors quizzes amateur entrepreneurs about their business proposals, and if they are impressed, offer funding in exchange for shares.”

“Without further ado, I will introduce our expert panel. First we have Amisha Jordan, known for her faith in traditional and low-tech technologies. She is quoted as saying, “When the world runs out of fuel and you’re living back in the Stone Age, I will be dancing with Leonardo in the Renaissance.” There were boos from the crowd.

“Next we have Arthur Choo, once chief economist of the Bank of Canadia, now author of the bestselling book, “POP: Principle of Profit”, which promotes the open market as the most rational medium of exchange.” There was polite applause.

“Finally there is Juno Osh, founder of Farmbook, who believes that open source technology and social media not only build healthier communities, but will actually save the world.” People cheered wildly.

“Okay, who is brave enough to be the first to enter the Devils’ Den?” She looked around before her eyes settled on Bobby.

Was this his moment? he wondered.

In business isn’t it now or never?

He recalled the term prime mover advantage from a business book he’d browsed at the library. This is where initiative meets opportunity and the winner takes all.

He waited too long though. Collette Vapinski’s gaze moved on. She pointed to a tall guy with glasses, who got up and walked to the stage.

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