The wind howls like a bear trying to rip its leg from a trap. It’s cold and gloomy and so am I. I light a cigarette and inhale deeply. The premium increase notification from my health insurance provider arrives instantaneously. Damn those embedded sensors!
It’s only 6 hours before my customers come on-line and I’m 40% below the contracted capacity floor. I call the bottom feeders (wannabes that manage the non-captive compute assets of SMEs and educational establishments), their service levels suck but having crappy capacity is better than having no capacity I guess. They whine about continuity of business and berate me for treating them as an afterthought. But that’s their problem, not mine. My customers demand better performance than they can deliver and the customer is always right. They’re not of course but that’s what I tell the wannabes. I’m about to tell them to stuff their capacity where the sun don’t shine when I remember my predicament. Damn, how I hate having to deal with these people. I take an option on a billion E-class cycle hours just in case. I have 4 hours to confirm, hopefully I won’t need them. Something will come along. It may be good or bad, but something always comes along. I need a drink. It’s only 6:00 am so I decide not to have my usual bourbon and opt for a coffee.
Walking to the coffee shop the wind chills me. As I enter, the overly perky barista asks me if I want my usual as he offers me my pre-prepared coffee in his outstretched hand. Remembering the days before predictive proximity based customer service, I nod, smiling to myself wondering if they’d be a market for coffee shops that sell a cup of joe with a shot. The analytics are good but they only know what I want them to know. At least I thought they did. The fact they offered me anything at all tells me that I need to recalibrate my personality and preference obfuscation firewall. Thought privacy is the only thing of value we have any more. Protecting it to protect ourselves is becoming an increasing challenge.
The coffee is black and bitter like my mood. I sip the hot concentration giving elixir as I look around the dingy establishment. It’s a relic from the great coffee shop rebellion of 2015 and well overdue a refurb but it’s busy anyhow. Suddenly the news report on the screen in the corner catches my eye. There’s been an earthquake in somewhere called Muldovia. Thousands dead. Devastation everywhere. Downer.
As I ponder the fragility of life and the awesome destructive power of nature, it hits me. It hits me with the force of an articulated truck’s wind-shield colliding with a bug. Where does Muldovia get its compute from? It certainly isn’t going to be needing it anytime soon. Fantastic! As the thought forms in my mind, I’ve already opened a voice session with Chuck. Chuck knows all that’s worth knowing. “Who’s on the hook for Muldovia’s compute capacity?” I ask urgently. “Wha?” Chuck moans. “Do you know what time it is?”. “Yeah, yeah, yeah. Enough of the whining. Who covers them?” “Erm… Stacey Wong, I think. Why? Do you know what time it is?” “Stop being such a baby Chuck. No one likes a whinger. A window of opportunity has just opened. And I’m going through it bro”.
Just then, a call comes through. It’s Alice from Mega Corp, “I need an extra 12% at business open for 2 hours”. Alice never bothered with pleasantries. She wasn’t into “nice”. She was into “delivery”. “Sure.” I hear myself saying, “that’ll be price band C”. “C? C?? Rick, you’re a profiteering swine!” Alice protested. “Yeah, Yeah, Yeah… That’s the price, you want it or not?” “You’re killing me – C it is. Just don’t mess up or it’ll be both our asses.” “Pleasure doing business with you Alice” and with that, the trade confirmation arrival alert coincides with the click as Alice hangs up. 20 million credits closed in 15 seconds. Joy. Unless I can’t deliver. In which case, it’s unlimited liability and the very very real risk of bankruptcy, jail and an intimate relationship with a bad ass from the block called ‘Bruiser’.
Back to Chuck. “Hook me up with Stacey. Remember you owe me bro”. I pull her profile and scan her stats. Stacey’s kudos rating is good. Although by the looks of things she is having a bad run. A poor month had turned into a bad quarter and her regulars are starting to drift away. People are fickle. Customer loyalty is an outmoded concept of the past. I begin to smile as I read her recent trading reviews. She’s got the types of issues that no-one in our line of work wants. She needs to score big and bank some reputation credits pronto. But that is her problem, not mine…
I place the call. “Rick. I see that you’re an acquaintance of Chuck’s. What can I do for you today?” Suzy asks. My audible virtual reality augmentation software tells me that my intonation analysis module thinks that Suzy is stressed out and concerned. That said, any idiot looking at the display would be able to tell that from her pallid complexion, thinning lip line and overly forced smile as she joined the call. “Let’s cut to the chase Suzy” I say in my best ‘I’m not you friend yet but I want to be’ way. “You have some capacity and I have a requirement. What can you do for me?”. She smiles again. A little more convincingly this time. She’s going to try and play me. They always try and play you. Why we have to dance the dance is beyond me but I let the charade begin. “How much do you want Rick?” she starts. “How much have you got?” I reply, knowing full well that she is in it up to her neck. We do the dance. She pushes. I push back harder. She feigns indifference. I walk away. It was ever thus.
23 seconds later she calls me back. A further 56 seconds and the deal is done. I have what I need and some options on some top grade capacity for the next week whilst the Moldovian’s get their stuff back to together. I have 6 hours to find a buyer. But there’s no rush. I may as well have the Danish that the perky barista keeps offering me whilst I work out my plan of attack… ACME Inc has some drug sequencing work that they’re always looking for good capacity at the right price for. Yes. I’ll call them first. As soon as I’ve had my breakfast and another cup of coffee. Maybe today won’t turn out so bad after all…