The cloud and the grass – a business fable
Once upon a time there was an expansive lawn that was of the lushest shade of green you can possibly imagine. It was so because it was tended by gardeners who took pride in the health and appearance of their lawn: they mowed it when it needed mowing and watered it when it needed watering. Moreover, they did so because they loved their work and got immense satisfaction out of seeing the beautiful results of their handiwork.
So spectacular was the lawn that people would come from far and wide to admire the green expanse – children would frolic on it while their parents watched indulgently as they munched their way through the huge hampers they brought to picnic on. The children would tire themselves out playing while their elders did the same eating. They would all then lay themselves out on the velvety verdant-ness and drift away into dreamland, aided by the perfect afternoon sunshine.
As they drifted away into sweet slumber, many of them would think, “If there is a paradise, this must be pretty darn close to it…”
One day the owners of the lawn, the folks who paid the gardeners a not insubstantial sum per month were looking at their monthly accounts. They realized that their financial standing was not as healthy as it was prior to the GFC (Yes alas, even owners of paradise have been affected by the mess caused by the erstwhile Masters of the Universe). Their financial advisers suggested that they outsource the tending of the lawn to professionals who were experts at that sort of thing.
“Don’t worry about a thing,” said the Adviser in Chief, “We know some consultants who are experts at this sort of thing.”
The Adviser-in-Chief was as good as his word – the next day, the owners got a visit from a guy in a suit who, for reasons of privacy, we shall call The Consultant.
The Consultant told the owners not to worry, he had just the solution to their problem. “Forget these expensive and slow gardeners,” he said, “what you need is The Cloud.”
Now anyone who is anyone at all has heard of The Cloud – and so had the owners. “The Cloud!” they exclaimed, “Yes, we have heard of The Cloud, but pray, tell us: how will it solve our problem?”
“It’s simple,” said the The Consultant, “The Cloud will water the lawn and thus tend to its wellbeing. You don’t need gardeners, The Cloud will look after your investment. But what’s really interesting for you is that The Cloud will cost you a fraction of what the gardeners cost.” Then, pulling out a slickly produced dossier, he continued, “Here’s an analysis done by an Independent Analyst.”
(As a pointless aside we note that the Independent Consultant’s name happened to rhyme with word “Gardener”).
The owners read the analysis and were duly impressed. They decided that this Cloud business was a great idea. It would help them cut costs and maintain (hey, even improve!) the quality of their lawn. It sounded like a winning proposition.
There was a downsi
ze though (editor’s note: I think he means downside):
The owners soon realized they would have to let the gardeners go. This would not be easy as the gardeners had been in their employ for many years. However, the owners prided themselves on being pragmatists – they had, after all, overseen a successful venture for many years. Now, to maintain it, they would have to change with the times. This was, after all, The Age of The Cloud.
Many Difficult Conversations ensued and eventually the gardeners were shown the gate (paradise has no doors, I’m told, but it does have a gate…of a somewhat pearly appearance.)
The Cloud thus took over the tending of the lawn. And as they say, all was well in paradise: the lawns were regularly watered and the grass grew…
…and it grew, and it grew. It grew to such an extent that visitors no longer found the lush greenness as welcoming. From kids perspective, it hard to frolic in grass that’s to tall and from a grown-up’s view, it is impossible to picnic in.
The owners complained to The Consultant. The Consultant brought along a legal expert who knew all about the services the owners had bought and (more importantly) those they had not. The expert affirmed that the package the owners had bought did not include any mowing services…only watering was included. The owners had not read the fine print.
(One can’t blame them – tell me, is it easy to read last two words of the previous line.)
Understandably, many acrimonious arguments ensued – words were said that shouldn’t have been said, things were thrown that shouldn’t have been thrown (although, at people who ought to have a few things thrown at them).
The owners thought about the good old days when the lawn was being looked after by people who had a stake in it, and who cared about it. The Cloud was an entity that was everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Why would it care for a piddly patch of green?
The owners realized that the survival of the lawn was at stake. If they wanted the lawn to return to it original state of perfection, they would have to swallow their pride and admit they had made a mistake.
The question was: would they?
…and there I have to leave the story because I know not what they did.
There is a moral to this tale, however, and it is that clouds don’t give a damn about grass.