Floating City

Bobby was at the New Ideas Show in Lucerne. It was a great opportunity to do some research for his new business. He’d grown tired of salesmen chattering though and slipped into the audience for Devils’ Den. The first amateur entrepreneur brave enough to face the panel of expert investors was a tall nerdish looking boy.

“Come on up!” said the host, Collette Vapinski, a lady famous for being famous. The boy began walking swiftly but slowed down as he approached the stage. “Come on! Let’s speed it up! We’re in the age of global business. There’s no time to hang about!” The audience laughed. “Woo! There goes an Indian company spicing up your code! Choo! There goes a Chinese company copying your product and shipping it before you do!” Arthur Choo, ex-chief economist of the Bank of Canadia, looked up at her, annoyed. She mouthed, “Sorry.”

The boy had reached the stage. “Please introduce yourself and tell us about your idea.”

“Hello everybody,” said the boy. “My name is Cedric and I’d like to tell you about my idea for a floating city. It is one kilometre wide and houses up to a million citizens in high-density housing. There is large-scale vertical gardening, and a one hundred percent recycling facility that…”

“Wait a minute!” called Amisha Jordan, a promoter of traditional and low-tech technologies. “A floating city? You mean in the sea? No? In the air! How will you do that? It sounds ridiculous!”

The boy was scared by her interruption, but recovered and continued. “It will be built of a mixture of carbon alloys and holograms. All heating will be solar, cooling will be by winds, and it will levitate by means of electromagnetism. It will be useful for inhospitable regions of earth. One kilometre above the earth’s surface there are fewer noxious gases, and cleaner air to breathe…”

“Excuse me,” said Arthur Choo. “Are we speaking of the near future or several centuries yet? What’s your timeline?” It was not a hostile question.

“I’m thinking two hundred years in the future, the same time frame as Sony’s futurists.”

Someone in the audience called out “Two hundred years!” and Cedric hesitated, but Arthur Choo nodded and said, “Go on.”

Cedric was encouraged by this and spoke rapidly. “It will be an entirely independent entity, and can move with the seasons to optimise energy production and resident comfort. It will have fully secure access and good immigration controls. Of course tourism will be a major…”

Social media pioneer June Osh interrupted. “What about using these cities on other planets. Have you thought of that?”

“Yes, it is certainly a possibility for…”

“How much do you need?” she said.

Cedric answered immediately, “I’m looking for five hundred billion dollars for half of the company.”

“I’m in!” said June Osh. There was a gasp from the crowd. “But I don’t have the funds available yet so will only act as an advisor. My website Farmbook is not yet profitable, but it does have one billion members. We could try crowd funding…”

Good luck to you both, thought Bobby. Maybe he didn’t have the right frame of mind to be an entrepreneur.

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