WordBowl Word-of-the-Day: “stump” courtesy of New Yorker-by-way-of-Baltimore,
fearless actor/daredevil surfer Edelen McWilliams
She lives breathing recycled air: plane, hotel, convention center. Walking on, sleeping in, sitting on unnatural fibers, lurid patterned fabrics designed to mask high-volume human traffic, bodily stains, personal detritus. She swipes hand sanitizer over most of her exposed skin, still, her nostrils are raw, eyes red-rimmed, ears metaphorically cotton-stuffed, her head, too, she notices, in rare moments of response, as a flight taxis the runway, devices off at the demand of disgruntled flight attendants.
“Not Forever” the mantra at these moments, repeated to her husband, to their basset hound whose mournful expression predated her decision to bootstrap a startup.
She is frequently introduced on daises as a “futurist”, a misnomer, as the future is here, now, as immediate and tangible as the devices in hand, the devices upon which all is explored, consumed, shared. Paradigm Shift. Fundamental disruption of the consumer product construct, the creator/manufacturer/producer to consumer/audience/buyer relationship. Hell, there are no buyers anymore. Subscription access, Freemium app models, the New Economy.
“Data (you fuckers)”, she wants to shout, but refrains. She wraps her simple message in a calculated mix of flattery and forewarning. “Actionable knowledge” she says, in venture capital boardrooms sipping designer coffee with two hands, not trusting a solo hand, a quivery hand betraying the disparity of her food-to-coffee-ratio. They get it, conceptually, these VCs, the questions lobbed back focus on market size, penetration, scale.
The market, the market. This Little Piggy went to market.
She needs a fucking major market player on board, just one, the first one, to establish consumer traction, define the market. The rest will follow. The significant players in this legacy space, they scrabble, scratch for second-mover status. The go gung-ho for silver, settle for bronze.
The seed money will last, cutting it close, it will last. Or she can dip into the last 401K from her single days, an account from a short-lived stint nearly forgotten. Found money.
Living on the cusp, every hour a new idea, iteration. Not monetizing, but. Exhilarating. The business model is somewhere, close, she will pivot until she nails it. She may lose some of her people in the process.
A ponytailed Millennial offers a bottled water, eyes shining, mouth gushing, the future, the now future, running roughshod over all that came before.
She strides up to the stage, nimble, like her hanging-by-a-thread company, greeted with thunder, applause, for the briefest of moments she is Jobs-meets-Wozniack, Garage Google.
She will convince them all, this roomful of men in casual wear and determined women, and their bosses and the ultimate decision makers and the real money guys, because DATA will shape their future, shore up their investments, provide a path to profitability.
She has thousands of digital followers who believe. Conceptually.
She positions the microphone, tests a breath. The audience shifts, prepares to embrace, tweet, disseminate. She dials up the smile. She speaks.
She will figure out the money. In the future.
Post written with a “Picnic” cocktail at Brasalina hell’s kitchen, nyc
Post re-written with a crisp white at Drunken Horse (ha!) chelsea, nyc
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