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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

March 2015



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TGR, Gutenberg, Rubric

A little dialog

Mandrina set up our thousand word challenge this week as a piece of fast-moving dialog. I sat in a meeting this afternoon with my back against the wall so no one was looking over my shoulder and clattered out my thousand words while absorbing the product and marketing data that was being presented. Somehow it took on a life of its own. Here's the result:

“There is absolutely nothing like it!” Steve exclaimed joining the others.
“I thought I would lose my mind!” Tonya joined in.
“It looked like you were going to lose something else,” chuckled Babs. “The look on your face was precious!”
“You should talk!” Tonya shot back. “Who was screaming, ‘Oh God! Please not me! Please not me!”
“You needn’t have worried,” Jack growled. “It was obviously me.”
“You were such a good sport about it.”
“Thanks for taking one for the team, champ.”
“Let’s hear it for Jack.”
“Hip, hip hooray! Hip, hip, hooray!” they all yelled.
“Really, was it that bad, Jack?”
“Well, it could have been worse.”
“Yeah, it could have been me.”
“Now that would have been poetic justice. Who was it suggested we do this anyway?” They all looked pointedly at Jennifer, who had been quiet up till now.
“Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Who would have expected them to pull a trick on us like that?”
“Probably anyone who had bothered to ask someone who’d already done it.”
“Now here is my question,” Tonya started.
“Here we go with the analysis,” Jack smirked. “Marketing takes over and we get to do a post-mortem on the whole experience. How would you improve it for others?”
“That’s not the question,” protested Tonya.
“Of course not. The real question is, ‘Could you make money on it?’ That has to be the first thing on every marketer’s mind.” Steve shot.
“Zing!” exclaimed Jack.
“Be fair, guys. Tonya has a serious question she wants to ask.” Jennifer placed a protective arm around her friend. “What was your question, sweety?”
“Well, actually,” Tonya said, “it was ‘How could you make money on it?” Everyone groaned. “Well look, we already know you can make money on it. You can make money on anything if you market it right. But how? Who do you sell it to? Is it worth our making a big investment in?”
“It always comes down to business, doesn’t it?” said Babs. “Why can’t we ever just go and have fun?”
“We did have fun!” Tonya rejoined. “Now that we’ve had it, let’s make money on it.”
“We could make a cult out of it. All we’d need is a spooky C-rated film and enough goth-kids to get it started.”
“Goth is so yesterday. What we need is an upscale advertising campaign in the big business mags and maybe the in-flight mags. Couple it with a catchy theme song on the media and we’d have an audience hooked in no time.”
“Business isn’t where it’s at. That’s like taking money out of our left pocked and putting it in our right pocket. We need a consumer campaign. Get it in the retail channel and in the home.”
“Too mature. If we put it in people’s homes we’d have to sanitize the experience so much that it wouldn’t even be fun anymore. How about public transportation? Taxi’s, busses, trains?”
“That’s still not going to monetize it. You’ve got to list a benefit for every feature you describe. What makes this killer feature a must-have. You can’t get along without it. It doesn’t really make a difference which audience we choose if we can’t paint a compelling value proposition.”
“All right, let’s cut to the chase team,” Tonya was back in charge, “did we or did we not have a good time? Steve?”
“Well, overall it was a positive experience. I’m not sure you could convince me to do it again, though.”
“I’d do it over,” said Babs. “I’ve never had such an adrenaline rush. It was non-stop. I think it was the best experience I’ve ever had.”
“I’d have to agree,” Jennifer nodded. “I’d call it a life-changing experience. How could you go through that and not be changed forever. It wasn’t just adrenaline. You had to experience the full range of emotions. I laughed, I cried, I had an orgasm.”
“That got down to the core of things, didn’t it?”
“How about you, Jack?”
“Well,” he started slowly. “I guess there is always the risk that keeps the adrenaline flowing, but if you get chosen, there’s not much you can do. You laughed, cried, and had an orgasm. I died. Now that’s a scary proposition. You don’t know how your are going to come out on the other side. With that amount of risk involved, I’m not sure we could sell it at all.”
“I was scared,” volunteered Babs in support. They all generally agreed.
“So are we saying that we don’t think this idea has viable marketability?” Tonya asked. “Are we simply dumping it?”
“I don’t think so,” Steve said after a short silence. “What could we do to upgrade it so that it is marketable. Maybe we could take the risk out entirely. It would take some serious reprogramming, but I think we could do it.”
“That would really spoil it for me,” Babs answered. “That’s sanitizing it into a children’s fun house. I mean, even the kids want a good scare now and then.”
“True,” said Jennifer, “I’d say we should stick with the risk. What else could we do to make it work?”
“There’s another side to removing the risk,” Steve said. “We could guarantee it.”
“Doesn’t that do the same thing? If you guarantee it, then it isn’t a risk.”
“Unless we could fool them into thinking it was a risk while they were on it.”
“Wait, wait. You mean they enter knowing they will come out the other side just fine, but while they are there they don’t know? I like it.”
“Jack, could we do the engineering to make it work? We’d need a memory block of some sort.”
“Yes, but we’d have to be able to make it one directional. When they come out they have to remember it all or they’ll never come back.”
“Come back?” asked Tonya. “Now you are talking. I smell repeat business. What shall we call it?”
“How about ‘Humanity.’”
“Oh, oh! ‘Humanity, The Ride.”

1005 words. *grins*


It took me a while to figure out who you are, but I should have guessed from your user-icon. :) Glad you remembered me.

I'm going to try to do Nano more seriously this year. And I think the self-publishing you and the other Microsofties are doing is a grand gesture. =)
Nice to hear from you again! Hope you will join us for some of the write-ins and all. We've had a great time with the Giving Campaign! If you are still at MS, join the Microsoft Nanowrimo Participants DL. tharyn is putting together a couple on-campus get-togethers for us.

Hope to see you there!