The saga of Hedger Corp, told in weekly installments. Catch up here.
When we last left off, Hedger Corp had agreed to produce the Cone of Solitude, a duct-tape inspired product that Ted accidentally invented.
As you may recall, Ted had NO intention of creating a new product. He was just trying to recreate the peaceful, closed-in feeling that he had enjoyed when he was trapped in a block of ice a few weeks ago.
Nonetheless, Hedger Corp was now on the hook to mass produce the Cone of Solitude. The investors were expecting a business plan. The employees weren’t sure what a business plan was exactly, but it sounded pretty official. In fact, it sounded like real work. Something that didn’t play to our strengths.
The staff gathered in the breakroom and assigned some roles. Bob would be in charge of Manufacturing. Ann would be in charge of Marketing. Sue would be in charge of Operational Excellence and Other Related Corporate Buzzwords. And Derek would have one of the most important jobs: Whiteboard eraser. Scoff if you will, but we learned the hard way that if no one is in charge of erasing the whiteboard, meetings spiral OUT OF CONTROL. Trust me.
So everyone had an official role! They waited to see if this would lead to the business plan…
It did not.
It was clear they would need to take some other type of action.
Sue suggested brainstorming, so they gathered around and began to freely brainstorm.
After a while it occurred to them that they should have focused their brainstorming on the product. That would have been more productive. But still, they got some ideas for future products, so it wasn’t a total waste.
Then they waited to see if the brainstorming would lead to the business plan…
It did not.
Ann wondered if they should make some type of flowchart. That sounded good to everyone, so she stepped up to the whiteboard. Then Derek screamed “Wait!!” He dove in to erase what was there, so Ann wouldn’t be writing directly over all the brainstorming notes. (See what I mean about the whole whiteboard-eraser job? It’s important.)
Once the board had been wiped clean, Ann got to work – and her flow chart was brilliant.
Everyone felt good. But somehow the flowchart didn’t seem comprehensive enough. Would the investors be expecting more?
After some discussion, the employees decided they should probably buy some duct tape and try to figure out how to mass-produce the Cone of Solitude. That part of the plan seemed like it needed more detail. Bob set off to get the tape.
While all this was going on, Ted was doing something he should have done a while ago: visiting a therapist.
She was a bit of an odd duck. But maybe he shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, he had gotten her name from a flier that was left on his car in a 7-Eleven parking lot. And in her waiting room he had seen a bowl of matchboxes with her logo printed on them. Was that normal, for a therapist to market herself on a box of matches? He wasn’t sure.
“You have problems,” she said in a soft, silky voice. A creepy voice.
“It’s not normal to want to live in a block of ice,” she whispered.
Then a long silence.
Finally she whispered, “Very, very abnormal.”
Ted spoke, mainly just to stop her from her freaky whispering. He told her that every time he closed his eyes frightening images flashed through his head. Images that involved his evil twin brother Jenkins and the events a few weeks ago. And now the therapist was part of the scary visions, though he left that part out.
Meanwhile, back at Hedger Corp the duct tape had been procured.
The employees were trying to figure out how to recreate Ted’s product. Unfortunately for Sue, they learned the hard way that if you wrapped the tape too tightly it was next to impossible to remove.
After some tinkering, they figured out how to make Cones of Solitude one at a time. But they still had no idea how to mass-produce the thing. And the investors were due within the hour review the business plan. The employees were beginning to freak out. Then Ted walked in, followed by his therapist. Fantastic! Maybe they would have some ideas!
Uh… not quite. The therapist announced that the Cone of Solitude project must end immediately! She insisted it was not in the best interest of Ted’s mental health, it was slowing his recovery, blah, blah.
The employees knew they couldn’t have this naysayer around when the investors came. No way. Thinking fast, Derek and Ann used some of the tape to immobilize the therapist in a Cone of Solitude. When Ted began to protest, they wrapped him up too.
Then they stashed the two of them in Grandma Bernice’s cubicle.
The employees had eliminated two issues, but had not solved their main problem: The business plan. Panic was beginning to take hold. Then the investors walked in.
The employees looked at each other. They knew what they had to do.
The wrapping process was lightening fast. Before the investors even knew what was happening, they were ensconced in tape.
The employees stuck the investors in Grandma Bernice’s cube, along with Ted and his therapist.
Hmm. Perhaps the Cone of Solitude should actually be called the Eliminator of Problems.
Alas, our problems weren’t gone for good. They were just temporarily contained in the cones.
The employees looked at each other. Technically, they couldn’t be sure that Sue was looking at anyone, but they felt like she was.
They had no plan. Cones of Solitude were piling up in Grandma Bernice’s office. Derek couldn’t find the whiteboard eraser. What were they going to do now?
Next week: Is there a way out of this mess? Yes… but no one likes the solution. Not at all. Stay tuned.