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A modern fable

Here is a modern version of an old fable, at Microsoft’s expense:

An unemployed man was offered a job with Microsoft as a cleaner. He was asked for his email address, but had to explain that he had neither a computer nor an email address.  He was told that as email is the way Microsoft communicates with its staff, if he didn’t have it he could not have the job.

tomatos.jpgStunned, the man left.  Not knowing where to turn and having only £10.00 in his pocket, he bought a large box of tomatoes at the market and in less than two hours he had sold all the tomatoes individually at 100% profit.  Repeating the process several times that day, he ended up with almost £100.00 profit.  It dawned on him that he could quite easily make a living selling tomatoes.

By working hard, he developed his business quickly.  After a short time he bought a barrow, then replaced it with a van.  By the end of the second year, he owned a fleet of vans and had a staff of a 100 former unemployed people, all selling tomatoes.

One day, his accountant asked for the man’s email address.  When the man explained that he didn't have one, the accountant was astonished.  "You’ve managed to make all this money without the Internet, email and eCommerce?  Just imagine where you would be now if you had been connected to the Internet from the very start!" he said.

“Well," replied the tomato millionaire, "I would be a cleaner at Microsoft."

Every fable must have a moral.  This one has three: 

  • The Internet, email and eCommerce do not need to rule your life.
  • If you do not have email, but work hard, you can still become a millionaire.
  • If you do have a computer and email, Microsoft has already taken you to the cleaners.

PS I don't suppose that Microsoft are really as mean as that to their cleaners.


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Reader Comments (1)

Re the Microsoft/Tomato Tycoon story: Not so much of the "old fable" please! Don't forget Somerset Maugham thought of it first in "The Verger". Nontheless, the new version is equally entertaining.
May 27, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJudy

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