Reg: “Certainly not, Syd. Not enough profit anywhere in the food sector to hold my interest. Too many people thinking that food is some sort of God-given ‘right’, they get in the way of making money. That might be changing, but I’ll wait to see how Jeff’s play pans out before I get my toes wet. That does look like an interesting marketing strategy, though.”
Syd: “‘Interesting’ is one way to put it. I showed it to the chief science officer of one of my biotech companies, and she …”
Reg: “I’m afraid I can’t congratulate you on your fascination with the biotech sector and the scientists you have to put up with to drive it. All those companies seem to me to be holes in the economy into which one uselessly throws money.”
Syd: “They said the same thing about Jeff’s fascination with IT, all these many years ago. Now, he’s got whole cities doing his bidding, or else.”
Reg: “No place more deserving than the city he lives in. The ‘fake news’ that emerald citizens accuse Donald of pales in comparison with the lefty prattle that they spout – and then ignore when it actually means them. If I mismanaged an airline the way they bungle their public transportation systems …!”
Syd: “All marketing, Reg. It’s not what you stand for, it’s what you can make people believe that you stand for. Which is what had that CSO rolling around on the floor of my office, busting a gut.
“‘Nature has nothing to hide?!?’, she gasped when she could finally get her breath. ‘Nature has everything to hide! It’s a jungle out there, full of lies and deceit, where almost nothing can be taken at face value!’
“She told me about the frangipani flower – you know, the one that winds up in all the leis in Hawai‘i, and over the ears of all the girls there? Lovely flower to look at and smell, and the color and scent attracts these moths, which the plant needs to pollinate the flowers, so they can make seeds and propagate the plant. But the moths need nectar to feed themselves. And the frangipani flowers have none! They dupe the moths into trying to feed on the flowers, getting their pollination service without paying for it!
“The moths retaliate by laying their eggs on the frangipani tree so their caterpillars can eat the leaves. The plants try to prevent this by producing a poison sap – which the caterpillars have ‘figured out’ how to detoxify! For now … because the plant is always trying out new poisons, which the caterpillars need to deal with, or be gone. Rinse and repeat.
“‘And, that graphic!’, she squealed. ‘Pastures with cows!! A picture of the New York City skyline would be less unnatural than that!’”
Reg: “I understand that this, ah, frangipani tree is common?”
Syd: “Common and widespread. Worldwide distribution.”
Reg: “Then, it appears to be a perfect example of the principle that you do not allow facts to interfere with the execution of a sound business plan. One that is based on what customers actually do instead of what you think they should do. A principle that scientists seem to have great trouble getting into their swelled heads.”
Syd: “The ones in my employ get this, or are afforded the opportunity to join their university colleagues who are living out of their cars. But they have their uses, these scientists, and, when I can get them isolated from the rest of the employees of the companies for which they work, I try not to fetter their ideas or control their prejudices. Because of this ‘free information exchange’ ethic that they persist in having despite all my warnings to the contrary, I can often learn from them which of the hands of our competitors holds the knife, while I still have time to enact countermeasures. And one of those crazy notions, placed in the hands of those who can properly get them executed, just might pay off big time. I certainly wouldn’t mind having a whole city do my bidding.”
Reg: “Ah, Sydney, Sydney.”
Reg: “Why are you settling?”