Monday, May 12, 2014

A Barnyard of Entrepreneurs 1: Predicting the Future

Horse sauntered across the barnyard, heading toward the pig pen.  He had a clipboard strung around his neck and a stick tucked behind an ear, just like he'd seen the farmer do with his pencil.  The three pigs were rooting around in the mud for scraps, discussing an app they'd been pitched yesterday that reminded cows to chew their cuds.

"I really liked the team's focus," Middle Pig offered.  "But is the service a must-have or only a nice-to-have?  We are talking about cows, after all."

Just then Horse swung his head over the pit.  "May I have a word?"  He was the slightest bit hesitant.  The pigs had a well-earned reputation for being difficult.

The three barely paused, obviously irritated with the interruption.  They didn't have much use for the horse, who had, in the six months they had known him, never brought them so much as a rancid corn cob, much less a killer social media app.

"This is about celebrity," Horse added.

This brought the rooting to a sudden halt.  Celebrity was one of the few things besides slop (and killer social media apps) that could get the pigs' attention.  Horse knew his business.

"What is it?" Big Pig asked.  "And this better be good."

Horse smiled.  "Oh, it is.  I'm writing an article about the future.  I want to know what you think is going to happen in the future."

Little Pig, the one with the stunted tail, smirked.  "Well, in about an hour the farmer is going to bring us a fresh load of slop for lunch."

Horse's face fell.  "That's not the future."

"It hasn't happened yet, has it?" challenged Middle Pig, triumphant in his logic.

"That's just lunch," said Horse.  "I could have predicted that.  I mean the future-future.  Interesting stuff that could happen to the barnyard or the farm."

The three pigs stared at him blankly.  Middle Pig panicked for a moment, sure that Horse had heard about the cow-cud app.  Was that damn bull shopping the thing?

Horse shifted.  Maybe he needed to prime the pump.  "I heard Farmer say that he might convert the back acreage into corn for ethanol.  For fuel."

"FUEL?" snorted Big Pig.  "That's stupid.  Everyone knows you eat corn."

Horse watched his clipboard swing back and forth in the sunshine.  "That's why it's called the future," he patiently explained.  "Cause it's a big thing and you don't expect it."

"Ohhhh," laughed Little Pig.  "I get it.  Well, then, I heard Farmer say the other day that McDonald's was planning to make Big Macs out of horse meat!"  The three pigs burst out laughing.

"And I heard that Elmer's would be opening a new glue factory next to the ethanol cornfield" added the middle pig.  At this, Big Pig laughed so hard he flopped over on his side in the mud.

Horse shrugged.  He might have guessed.  Maybe the hens would be more cooperative. "So be it," he said.  "But you're not going to be in my article.  No celebrity for you."  With that, he walked away.

For a moment the pigs felt a pang of regret.  They so loved celebrity.  

"It'll never make Huffington," Big Pig hissed.  "Or even TechCrunch."

"It's probably just going to be on his stupid blog," Middle Pig said.  "Everyone with four hooves and a clipboard has a blog these days." 

Later that day when the three pigs listened to the afternoon's pitches, however, they spent an extra hour with the two ducks seeking to launch an ethanol processing plant.  "This might be worth throwing a few bucks at," Little Pig whispered to his associates.  "Ducks who know corn?" Big Pig added.  "This fund could use a sexy investment like that."

Unfortunately, the black rat with a new app using cell towers to map d-Con trays around the barnyard barely got a nod.  "We're sorry," said Middle Pig, "but poison is so today.  Sometimes the future calls." 

Then he looked through the fence lovingly at the ducks, thinking to himself, "and it takes real talent to spot the future."  With that he stuck his nose back in the mud, certain that a little bit of the day's lunch was still awaiting discovery.