Archive for speed networking

Five Flag Theory

Posted in Infinite City, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , on July 10, 2012 by javedbabar

Bobby hadn’t enjoyed his first session of Speed Networking at the New Ideas Show. The lawyer had been a parasite, wanting to target victims of large-scale disasters. The term “climate sucker” sprung to mind. Bobby wondered if he had invented it.

The next person to sit opposite him for a two minute session – a minute each to introduce themselves and their ideas – seemed a curious fellow. He was a middle aged man in bright yellow blazer, blue trousers and green hat, with a black and red flower in his buttonhole. The bell rang as soon as he sat down, and they began conversing. “Can you guess my profession?” said the man. “Go on! I bet you can’t!”

“Are you a professional clown?” said Bobby.

“Professional clown! Ha! Ha! Many people say that. Actually I’m the opposite – most unprofessional! Ha! Ha! And most sober. I’m an accountant.”

He performed some hat tricks, rapidly swapping his green hat for a bronze hat, then silver hat, then golden hat, before returning the green hat. “I’m trying to attract new clients. Do you find me amusing?”

Before Bobby could answer, he produced five flags and waved them around his head. “I wish to create a more colourful image for my profession. We get unfair press. It can be stifling for one’s creativity!”

“But you need to have a reason for what you’re doing,” said Bobby. “If there isn’t a purpose behind your display, people won’t take you seriously.”

The accountant was taken aback by this. He stopped waving the flags.

“Sir, I was only jesting when I stated I was unprofessional.  I am highly proficient and most professional. My flower, for example, symbolizes the state of your bank account: in the black or in the red. My hats show the stages of an ideal investment career: from being a green investor, to earning bronze, silver, and ultimately golden returns.”

Bobby wasn’t convinced. “Then what’s with the flags? They are just distracting people.”

“Five flag theory is a valuable tax strategy. For an individual to retain sovereignty over his affairs, he should have his citizenship, residence, business, assets, and playground all in different countries, with appropriate structural advantages. I am promoting the concept of world citizenry, rather than narrow affiliations to the present paradigm of nation-states.

“When you create an us, you also create a them. I am for global equality in all matters – especially financial ones. Anyway, can’t a man have some fun at work?”

The accountant seemed like a nice fellow. Bobby had upset him and he was keen to make amends. He restarted the conversation and asked, “And where have you planted your five flags?”

He said, “Here in Lucerne of course. Five different countries? No thanks! The truth be told, I am a rather conventional fellow.”



Posted in Infinite City, Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , , , on July 9, 2012 by javedbabar

Because of a no-show, Bobby had managed to get a spot at the Speed Networking event. He was more comfortable at these side events, than being jostled on the main floor of the New Ideas Show. He was given a name badge and asked to sit in the inner circle of thirty chairs.

Each person seated there would have two minutes with each of the thirty participants in the outer circle. They had a minute to expound their professional backgrounds and business goals, and then switch roles, before the outer circle rotated. The first man sitting opposite him looked very serious indeed. He wore a grey suit, affixed with his badge but without completed name.

The host of the event, a bald man in a blue blazer and red cravat, rang a dinner bell and conversations began. The nameless fellow said to Bobby, “Hello, I’m Jonathon Andrew, legal professional. Shall I start?”

“Sure, go ahead,” said Bobby.

“There is a distrust of lawyers among the general public.” The man licked his lips too many times for Bobby’s liking. “It’s a long-term issue, going back to medieval Europe, even Biblical times, accusing us of false and frivolous litigation, false documentation, deception, procrastination, even excessive fees! Can you believe that, men of our learning and talents? In current times this distrust is growing, leading to a significant drop in business.”

He’s very frank, thought Bobby; I wonder if he’s like that in court. Bobby knew what he meant though. When a dispute with his ex-wife had arisen, he had himself bought a legal self-help book rather than consult a lawyer. The dispute cost $7.99+tax to resolve, rather than $300+ each.

Jonathon Andrew continued. “To increase demand I am looking for people who are able to travel at short notice. Ideally single males, with good communication and survival skills.”

“What for?” said Bobby, unconsciously licking his lips.

“I’ll admit I was a sceptic at first. I thought it was just green hogwash, but after seeing so many hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunamis and floods in recent years, I believe in the reality of climate change. There are sure to be more large-scale disasters like these. The poor victims must be helped to recover and rebuild their lives.”

“I’ve always wanted to do be involved in foreign aid work,” said Bobby. “What a great way to promote what you stand for.”

“That’s the spirit, boy! You’ve got the idea exactly.” He gave him a big wink. “And if we make some money in the process, why not? There’s always someone to blame for every disaster, regardless of whether it’s natural or man-made.” He licked his lips again. “The deal would be one-third to me, one-third to you, and one-third to the victim, minus fees of course.”

The bell rang indicating that the lawyer had massively overrun. There was no time for Bobby to talk about himself. He was in truth glad it was time for his next date.

Speed Networking

Posted in Lucerne Village with tags , , , , , , , on July 8, 2012 by javedbabar

The New Ideas Show was not what Bobby had expected. He’d imagined a wild bunch of inventors with lab coats and wild hair, making robots bleep and crystals glow. The village’s glassy community centre – known as the Transparent Temple – was instead filled with slick suited and booted individuals constantly tapping screens and talking – to you or someone else, you couldn’t always say – promoting their internet hosting and search optimisation services, and generally giving you a headache.

He’d found respite in the audience of Devils’ Den, a show where amateur entrepreneurs sought to impress expert investors, but now that was over, he was back in the melee.

Bobby noticed a new group forming in an offset area; maybe another event offering haven. He strolled towards it but was stopped by a bald man in a blue blazer and red cravat, who said, “Have you booked?”

“Booked what?” said Bobby. “Isn’t this a free event?”

“Yes, it is. I meant have you booked your spot for Speed Networking?”

“Erm, no… I haven’t.”

“Well, I’m sorry, all the spots are taken. Business people’s time is precious; it must be used profitably. They booked their spots online. Since the economic downturn, these events are very popular.”

“I’m sorry, I’ve heard of Speed Dating but…”

“Speed Networking is a way to accelerate your business contacts; for business people to share their backgrounds and goals, and gain exposure to new markets and vendors. It’s a structured environment where pairs of people each speak for one minute, and then change partner.”

“Oh, so you meet here, and if you like each other, then you make a date – I mean a meeting.”

“Yes, but there’s an important difference between the two. Speed Daters try to narrow their choices; Speed Networkers wish to broaden their connections.”

More people approached. “Excuse me,” said the bald man and welcomed them in. The Speed Networkers began open mingling, and made small talk, while being served bright canapés, cheeses and wines. Were these the kind of people he wished to mix with, thought Danny. Such serious people.

He decided that you never know. Any one of them could give him a break. He may as well give it a go. “When is the next one?” he asked the bald man.

He said, “Actually we’ve had a no-show. The group is unbalanced now.  Do you want to join now?”

As the chairs were arranged in two circles of thirty chairs each, Danny wondered what he should talk about. The only ideas he had right now were for a “spice cream” van and an African sandwich shop. Who would be interested in those? But then he saw that a few people ahead there was a man with a beard and turban, and beyond him a woman in a bigger, multicoloured turban, and matching kaftan. Today may be his day.