Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Summer Stroll #8 -- Wall Street Comes to the Farm

The young man wandering around in the front yard turns out to be an investment banker from Wall Street. He comes right to the point. "I am here to make you a wealthy man. I have studied your goose. She produces 20 eggs per month. I have consulted experts at Purdue University who say that she can easily produce 30 eggs per month. In addition, if we take her out of the barn yard and put her in a place with proper sanitation and purified air, she can live 7 years instead of 5 years. Futhermore, golden eggs are becoming a hot item. I think we can expect their price to grow at double the rate of inflation. When I add it all up, I think your goose may be worth a million dollars." "Are you offering me a million dollars for the goose?" (remember my calculation said the goose was worth about $417,000) "No, a big part of the higher value of the goose that I project is dependent upon you staying on as the manager of the operation. But, a golden goose like yours needs a golden strategy to maximize its value. My strategy is to sell 49% of the goose to East and West coast investors. As I said your golden goose is getting a lot of attention, and the novelty of it is really creating a buzz. The bottom line is you can pull out $500,000 in cash, less my commission of $50,000, and still control over 50% of a million dollar goose." "Can you really do this?" "This is my business. I do it everyday. I have documents here for you to sign, and a check for $50,000 as a down payment on the deal. I can have the whole transaction done in 30 days. You will just need to work with my experts from Purdue on producing more eggs and constructing a more environment controlled facility for the goose." "Purdue, there's a fine institution. That's where I was going before this goose started laying the golden eggs. I like those Purdue people. They seem more, well, down to earth than some other college types. But, if those people from Purdue, are telling you that this "golden strategy" of yours will work on my goose, they are as crazy as those guys from Indiana University who told me I could reap a fortune by just killing the goose and taking out all the eggs at once, instead of getting only one per day. I don't need Purdue to tell me that my goose can lay 30 eggs per month. She did that for years, but she kept coming down with about every disease in the book, which would put her out of the egg-laying business for long periods of time. I purposely keep her production at 20 eggs per month because I find with the additional rest she actually produces more eggs per year." "You mean you would turn down the opportunity to pocket $500,000 and still control the goose. I don't think you understand what you are doing." "No, I understand exactly what I am doing. I am in the golden egg business. Experience has taught me that to maximize profits in my business, the single most important thing I can do is to do right by the goose. Your "golden strategy" will kill the goose just as surely as cutting it open. I know what the goose is worth, and sooner or later your East and West coast clients will find out that they have overpaid, and they will come out here in big cars and start to tell their "partner" how to run their business. All the extra money you say would come my way would ultimately bring me nothing but misery. I would get to know my attorney better as we make the acquaintances of the attorneys of your clients, who will conveniently forget all the places they signed saying they understood that they were taking a risk. I think its best that you keep your golden strategy and I'll keep my million dollar golden goose.