Monday, January 25, 2010

The Very Lucky Executive

There was this man named Hova. Jeremy. He was a remarkably lucky guy.

First, he was lucky enough to get a job in awful times. Second, despite lacking any ability, he was lucky enough to be promoted quickly, eventually becoming president of the company. That’s not unusual. It’s even fairly common. Some people just seem to make a good impression. But Jerry wasn’t particularly intelligent or good looking. He lacked charisma and, truth be told, was often unpleasant to be around. He was just lucky.

But all of that’s nothing compared to the run of luck Jerry had next.

Jerry chose a seaside location for his company’s new factory and the adjacent giant apartment complex housing the workers. He was warned that the site was on an active earthquake fault and next to an active volcano, but he brushed that aside. A year later, the factory was up and running and the apartment complex was filled with the workers and their families. Pats on the back from the Board of Directors for Jerry, plus a bonus. Then a massive earthquake struck. And a huge volcanic eruption. Followed by a tsunami. The factory was eliminated. Coincidentally, so were the workers and their families.

The Board met in emergency session to praise Jerry and beg him to save the company. Utterly irrational of them, of course, but I told you he was a lucky guy. The Board was convinced that what had happened was part of some large, brilliant plan of Jerry’s, and they were sure that they simply weren’t intelligent enough to understand what he was doing. It was best to let him press on and not interfere with him.

Jerry decided to shift the company’s emphasis to agribusiness. He had his eye on vast tracts of land in a third-world country that would be perfect. Unfortunately, the land was already occupied by some peasants who refused to move. So Jerry used corporate funds to set up and arm a fake rebel movement that drove the peasants away. Well, the few who survived were driven away. The others became involuntary fertilizer for the company’s new agricultural products. The Board applauded Jerry for his innovative thinking and awarded him another bonus. Crops were bountiful, and soon company-branded edibles were flooding markets in the developed world. Unfortunately, previously unknown deadly viruses and bacteria and parasites flooded in with them. Soon bodies filled the streets and highrises of London, Paris, New York, etc.

Once again, the Board met in emergency session to praise Jerry and beg him to save them. If anything, they admired the opacity of his brilliance all the more.

And so it went, year after year, decade after decade. Board members came and went, but Jerry stayed on, constantly making dreadful mistakes that cost huge numbers of lives, constantly being praised and rewarded for his work. It was a wonder that the company survived, and yet in fact it thrived. It became the largest, richest, most powerful corporation on Earth, possibly the most powerful entity of any kind. Jerry’s judgment and wisdom and foresight became the stuff of legends. Sometimes, one person or one small piece of equipment managed to survive one of these Jerry-induced disasters. This was seen as all the proof anyone needed of Jerry’s careful planning and deep compassion.

The next step was obvious: President of the World. Jerry’s making plans for that right now.

What a lucky guy! Wouldn’t you like to be as lucky as J. Hova?


TGirsch said...

I like what you're trying to get at, but this one came across as a little overwrought.

TGirsch said...

Though you've given me a chuckle by reminding me of this:

Anonymous said...

Cool story as for me. I'd like to read more concerning that theme. Thnx for sharing that data.