Are you sitting comfortably…..?

Then I’ll begin…!

A modern fairy tale….

A long time ago in a land far far away, there lived a Queen and her faithful subjects. Their land was hailed far and wide for its creativity and industry, the Queen was wealthy beyond dreams and on the whole was benevolent to her subjects, and they loved her. The Queen’s wizards and necromancers were highly sought and prized by lands and empires far beyond her borders.

Time passed by.

The Queen had many palaces up and down the land, estates, farms and all sorts of buildings and things, which were costly to run, but provided gainful employment for many of her subjects in all sorts of ways. Subjects who worked for her in this way, were known as Lix. The Lix garnered all sorts of benefits as well, sometimes the Queen allowed them to live in her properties, and saw to it that they were looked after when they could no longer work.

People who didn’t work for the Queen were known as the Privs. There were good Privs and bad Privs. Generally Privs worked outside of the Queen’s estates, using their enterprise and ingenuity to eke out a living. Good Privs generally worked for the common good when they could. Bad Privs were out for themselves…always.

Time passed by.

The Queen’s wealth and well being were entirely dependent on magical creatures and/or things called Kwims. Opinions varied on what they were or how they worked but they could be created, grown, and produced, traded, shared, and bartered. Her wealth and indeed that of her land was entirely dependent on the Kwims. Kwims were made and traded abroad too and came in many different forms and types.

Time kept on passing by.

One day some wizards arrived at the Queen’s court from far lands way beyond her borders, telling of amazing things. They had Kwims that were far superior to anything she or her subjects had experienced. The wizards showed demonstrations and spell books of many kinds of Kwim that could do all sorts of things far above the Queen’s imaginations or expectations.

“Aha” thought the Queen. “I must become an intelligent user of Kwims. This will help me to run my palaces and estates better, as well as looking after my subjects……and myself….” she thought, rubbing her hands. “Maybe I will be able to afford that new Lambo 6 horse 4 wheel drive turbo charged chariot after all! Bright red? …Leather seats?…8 cup holders…..?”

So time passed by.

The Queen’s word was sent far and wide. Wizards, sorcerers and necromancers were assembled into the Queen’s court to look at how they could improve, use and deploy these superior Kwims to the benefit of the land, but especially for the Queen. Days passed, the wizards worked very hard. Some of the wizards  joined the court – they were known as the Sibs.

The wizards travelled the land talking to everyone involved with Kwims, whether it was growing, producing, sharing or trading. Even to those who were outside the “Kwim economy” as it was known, just to get their views and ideas.

The time came.

And announcements were made.

Up and down the land, wizards met with the people involved in the Kwim economy. All Kwims were to be radically improved and also graded from now on, as Grade 0 to Grade 3. There were even plans for Grade 4 and beyond, but “we had to learn to walk before we could run” so the wizards said.

The Queen’s edict went out to all the Lix. Within one leap cycle all of the Queen’s Kwims had to be of Grade 2 quality. Otherwise no more Kwim trading or production for you! The wizards produced copious spell books, charts and diagrams to show everyone what this was all about. This edict didn’t apply to the Privs. But many of them traded with the Lix so they knew they would have to change in time too. The bad Privs looked for ways to exploit the changes for their own benefit. The good Privs just wanted to see how they could help and stay in business long enough to see it happen, and hopefully turn a profit.

But the key message from the Sibs was – “We’re not going to tell you HOW to do this. We are just telling WHAT the Queen wants. It’s up to you Privs and Lix to come up with the solutions if you want to stay in the Kwim economy. The Queen wants to become an intelligent user of Kwims, so that her palaces can be run more efficiently, you can reap the benefits too…..(and also so that her wealth and success can grow….)...”

Time passed, brain cogs whirred, questions came back, and the muttering began.

“Who owns the Kwims?

“Who manages the Kwim production process?”

“How will these Grade 2 Kwims be produced, shared and traded?”

“Who’s paying for this?”

“What’s in it for me? I can see what’s in it for the Queen!”

“Where can I get Kwim Grade 2  training and support?”

“How will the Kwims be certified and quality controlled?”

“Who certifies the certifier, who checks the checker?”

“These spell  books don’t work – can we write our own?”

“Can our Kwims talk to each other properly at Grade 2?” (No one would admit that they didn’t communicate properly at the moment anyway!)

“This will never catch on…..we’re doomed to fail!”

More time passed by….

The wizards continued their work, meeting often, making more announcements and providing more spell books and charts.

A few things became clear…

The Queen was not going to pay for anything to support this out of her own pocket. She refused to help the Kwim economy financially to change Kwim production, even though deep down, she and her wizards knew that in time she would be the prime beneficiary of these changes.

She knew it would take much time effort and cost for all the stakeholders in the Kwim economy to change but was not concerned that people would have to find the money and time  to invest in new Kwim equipment, training and support before they even began to reap the benefits. For those involved in the early stages of the Kwim production process, the transition costs were substantial. Whilst many saw the benefits of working in this way, the lack of tangible support was not popular in some quarters, and for some was to become a real problem and barrier to making the changes – and for some this was to have dire consequences.

Time passed by, the wizards went into a huddle.

They came up with a with a new plan.They would form Kwim groups, “KwimKlubs”, up and down the land. These would be led and populated by Lix and good Privs who were for the changes and were enthusiastic about improving Kwim production. The only problem was the Queen wouldn’t support these either. She expected her devoted subjects to champion this cause from their own time and resources. She would not bend or give way on this, in spite of protestations.

Nevertheless, many grasped the vision, and accepted the constraints anyway, and carried on – the Klubs met and experienced some success but with dwindling resources and strained enthusiasm, struggled to maintain progress. There was much frustration, as much more could have been achieved with just a little more help.

More time passed, more muttering.

Halfway through the Leap cycle, things began to change dramatically. The Queen’s Grade 2 target was no more than 2 years away. Some of the larger Kwim producers had invested, retooled, trained and supported. After some initial mistakes, things had begun to get better. Their quality and speed of Kwim production was accelerating, with decreasing costs. And these Grade 2 Kwims were much more versatile and had all sorts of different uses and applications built in, which had been previously unimaginable.

So the larger Kwim operators became more convinced and supportive about the Queen’s plans. It was not so easy for the smaller stakeholders in the Kwim economy, as they had fewer resources to cope with the needs, and the Kwim market was very competitive. This meant that a Kwim gap developed between the larger traders who had the resources and the smaller traders who didn’t. Times were hard and unforgiving. Some went out of business, some went to other industries, and some stayed the course and eventually succeeded. They continued to ask the Queen for help, but it didn’t come.

Time passed by, and Grade 2 day arrived.

More time passed by and the next leap cycle started.

The Queen reflected on the progress her wizards had made, as she looked out from the big ivory shining tower across her land, sipping a glass of Prosecci as the sun went down. She was so high up she could just make out the details of some of the roads, and the gleaming buildings of some Kwim farms in the distance, through the clouds……

The Grade 2 project had indeed worked. The Wizards had produced “A one cycle on report” which showed that the improved and better Kwims had had all sorts of positive impacts across the land, some that her Wizards could not have predicted or foreseen. The Queen’s coffers told their their own story – her resources were controlled better, her palaces were in better shape, her finances were better than they’d ever been.

There was a downside though. The Kwim industry had changed beyond recognition. The larger traders had continued to succeed, retooling early, getting some benefits from the new Kwims and acquiring other traders in the process.  Kwim traders had entered from other lands and shores to compete on Kwim production, and in some ways they were significantly better than the home based traders. They took control of a significant share of the Kwim market. Some smaller traders were not so successful. Families that the Queen had known for generations in the Kwim economy simply disappeared, in some cases literally over night. The groups her Wizards had set up, the KwimKlubs,  struggled on for some time with limited resources. Enthusiasm ran out, and in time they were swept away. The Queen was genuinely sad about this, perhaps she should have done more she thought, when they were asking for help. “No matter, the big picture all turned out well in the end… didn’t it… for me anyway!” Her wealth was at record levels, and her wizards and necromancers were even more highly prized and were in much demand. Strangely, some of the larger traders had disappeared too. They hadn’t made the required changes fast enough for various reasons, and as the Kwim market was so competitive, they eventually couldn’t keep up with their rivals, and so just faded away into oblivion…

Epilogue

Time passed by.

The Queen got fat and lived to a ripe old age.

Grade 5 Kwims were now history. Her wizards were revered far and wide. All was well. Or was it?

One day some very powerful Sorcerers marched in to her court. They were from a land far away called Nicha.

“O great Queen, we have travelled many days from afar to greet you this day, to make you an offer ( an ultimatum ) you cannot refuse.

We have followed your progress on your Kwim journey. You have done very well and are to be congratulated. We have followed your every step. We have replicated everything your Wizards and Traders have done and achieved. Now we can produce all the Kwims you could ever need in less time, cheaper, and far better than anything you can even dream of producing. We are so many that to us, resources, time, cost, commitment, investment are of no importance, we will do whatever it takes to achieve nothing less than absolute dominion and success, however long it takes.

So we are here to buy you and your little land out, and today are installing our man KaiKwim as regional overlord in your place. Your land will become our Kwim spare parts production facility. You have one hour to pack your bags and board the Lambo parked outside to take you away to a peaceful and blissful retirement.”

They turned and left. In the allotted time the Queen left too.

Time passed by.

The Nicha’s eventually took over everything.

They awarded themselves prizes, because they were that good, and there was nobody else to do it.

Time passed by.

 

o-O-O-O-O-O-O-O-o

Footnote – This is a different tack and I realise that this post might not be everyone’s cup of tea….so thank you if  you have made it to the end. Of course, this is a fairy tale intended for some amusement, and maybe just a thought prodded here and there. 

Any similarity to any situation or people you think you might know is absolutely purely coincidental – naturally…..

Cheers :o)

J.

 

 

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