Baby Bong #businessmodel is my PRIDE and JOY
I'm incubating the next generation - LITERALLY
By Steve Bong • In Bootnotes • At 15:48 GMT 30th November 2012
"In the Soviet suburbs of Hell and the blasted avenues of Mogadishu, I saw what our society could become"
- Peter Hitchens, The Daily Mail
The Bongster is summoned to a crisis meeting at No.10. Britain's skills shortage is top of the agenda. I enter the room, but I haven't even had time to place the large crate of one-litre bottles of Puyehue water (which my tiny assistant มาลัย - which means 'Garland of Flowers' in Thai) has been carrying down on the nearest sofa, when I sense something is wrong. Very wrong.
I have never seen George [Osborne] and Rohan [Silva] looking so worried.
They are clustered around the No.10 Digital Dashboard app, running on an Apple iPad. In the darkness, the razor sharp Retina Display casts an eerie light onto their anxious faces.
"What is it? Has Spain finally defaulted?" I ask.
There are more frowns, and pursed lips. And silence.
"Er. France has defaulted? We've nuked Iran?"
I can tell it's worse than that.
It is the Chancellor of the Exchequer who finally breaks the frosty silence.
"It's the New Transport font chosen the Cabinet Office to relaunch GOV.UK. I just don't think the GOV.UK relaunch is working as well as it should. And it's key to our ambition to be Digital By Design."
"We've tried rapid prototyping the pages with both font weights," Rohan chips in. "And while Transport has a lovely symmetry, it's bossy."
"1950s," says the Chancellor. "And you know what that means."
"The Ford Anglia 100 series," says one voice from nearby in the darkness.
"Harold Macmillan opening another council estate," groans Rohan.
"Jimmy Savile at the Leeds Mecca Locarno ballroom," I say. "One shilling only."
The PM swings round in his chair, and snaps his fingers. He unplugs his Monster Beats by Dr Dre Headphones from his iPad, and the faint tinkling sound of Del Amitri's classic third album stops dead.
DC now has the room's full attention.
"Steve, can I call you Steve?" he asks.
"Everyone calls me the Bongst…" I begin to reply, but DC cuts me short.
"Steve, we're in a crisis. As you know, we're pivoting the UK economy on entirely new digital lines, using Shoreditch as the model. Those awful profit-making physical industrial companies of our past will soon be swept away by weightless digital internet startups made of bits and electrons. All our hopes ride on this. Our hopes, really, ride on you, Steve."
I sense that this is no time to remind the others in the room of my legendary investment history, and imagineering skills [subs, please double-check - Ed]. I allow the PM to continue.
"You, and Ben Hammersley."
"As Ben tells me, anything that can be turned into a flow chart can be turned into a computer program, which can be turned into a service, which can be digital rather than human.”
"Exactly," explains Rohan. "And none of these companies will ever make a profit. We've solved the crisis of capitalism, by removing the profit factor entirely."
"So what's the problem?" I ask, nervously.
"We simply can't get this through to the youngsters, brilliant youngsters," says the PM, "brilliant enterprising youngsters, who need financing."
"The mindset is all wrong. They want to make profits, and grow their businesses. They don't GET IT," explains Rohan. "I've even met one guy who turned down a social meet-up to stay late at the office."
"You can take a horse to a Community Investment Catapult," Osborne groans, "but you can't make it drink."
"What we need," the PM summarises, "is an entirely new mindset, but they don't seem to want to learn. I'm not even sure the digital-by-default post-profit mindset can even be taught."
The PM buries his head in his hands.
"Steve. What are we to do?" he asks.
There is a silence, which I extend for dramatic effect.
"I have what you need PM," I say, and turn to my assistant, มาลัย.
"Bring him in", I say.
A minute passes. Then five. Then, ten more. And just as the silence is starting to become awkward, there is a commotion outside the room, and three assistants enter, carrying a large basket, and place it in the centre of the room.
The crying of an infant boy can be heard.
"This, gentlemen," I say. "This is the future." I point at the cradle.
I have long sought after a brood of my own - and dreamed that my minimalistic East London loft space would one day be alive with the sound of tiny Bongs. I have long wanted to start a Bong Dynasty.
However, owing to a crippling social condition that is very common amongst our greatest entrepreneurs and venture capitalists, I am unable to talk to a woman without first paying them to listen to me, unless they too are a fellow entrepreneur. And even then, I still have to pay them anyway.
So in recent months I have travelled the world in the footsteps of Brangelina [so that's where you've been - Ed], looking for ethnic babies to liberate. My journey has taken me from Mogadishu to Malawi, from to Ulan Bator to Uaxactun. Finally I found a family whose parents could settle for a reasonable price.
And here he is.
"Gentlemen, this is the future of the British economy. It is children just like #businessmodel, here. We can rapid prototype them - to whatever we want them to be."
"I chose the name #businessmodel because it sums up so much of what we stand for. Our hopes. Our dreams. Our refusal to play by the old economic rules of profit and loss, markets and capital. Our belief that real change can be effected not by doing, but by endlessly talking about things using euphemisms."
There is an electric silence. Then the room spontaneously breaks into applause. Cameron swivels back - I can see that DC is sending an urgent DM to Hammersley. And is that a tear I see in the corner of George's eye?
"Right. What's that bloody awful smell?" I snap.
"Now get him out. I don't want to see that ball of puke again until he's old enough to sign a term sheet. Anyone for a sip of Puyehue? And open these bloody curtains." ®
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Steve Bong is the founder of Bong Ventures, an early stage investor and incubator focussing on innovative new technology startups based in Shoreditch, London. He enjoys parties, foreign travel, Open Data and draws his inspiration from Ayn Rand and His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. He advises No.10 policy guru Rahul Sativa on mindfulness and innovation, Mark Zuckerberg on the Perfect IPO, LOCOG on brand enforcement, and imagineered the Olympic Opening Ceremony with Danny Boyle. He wants to pivot the BBC into the 22nd Century, and favours Small Government but Large Catapults.