The "Santa Claus" Memo
About the author:
Robert "Bob" Cratchett, CPA is the Chief Financial Officer for VectorInter.Net and the Vector Trust.com family of companies.
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Every holiday season we receive a few request from friends and
clients to see the "infamous" www. Santa Claus .NP memo.
It is now a permanent part of the VectorInter.Net newsletter archives .
If you are seeing it for the first time, remember this was written for the Christmas of 1997.
Santa Claus was talked into letting a group of "dot-com know-it-all's" help him streamline his business operation. It's a good thing we lost the contract before we made these improvement to Mr. Kringle's business enterprises. By the way, Bob Cratchett's e-mail address is real. Send him a blank email to "volunteer" for a job and see which assignment you receive in the "punch-line" auto-respond message that comes back. It seems that there were some less attractive jobs that needed to be dealt with at the North Pole.
All of us in the Vector Trust family of companies hope you all have a happy holidays and a safe, prosperous,and joyous New Year.
...................... and now, the www. Santa Claus .NP memo.
To: All Staff
From : Bob Cratchett
Dept: Bookkeeping Dept.
Subject: www. Santa Claus .NP project
This Email will bring you up to speed on our efforts to "dot-com Engineer" our newest client,
www.SantaClaus.np. We have brought in most of the Vector Team Leaders to have high level meetings with the company principal, a Christopher Kringle and his team. Let me summarize our progress so far.
Since our earliest discussions with the client, We've been working on the theoretical model for converting "SantaClaus Inc" into an Internet based E-commerce model. It will be based at the domain name www.SantaClaus.np (Note: "dot.np" is the North Pole’s internet domain, of course). Off the record, These folks need to seriously update and modernize the enterprise. Fixing the supply-chain delivery/distribution model by itself is going to be a huge task. Christopher Kringle, the CEO, has mandated a zero-defect scenario, which we can handle. Later in this summary, we will talk about the very tight, minimum delivery time-frame. It appears this will be our "big issue" on which there is NO latitude.
Man-power is a non-issue, as the work force is highly motivated to support the goals of
the company founder. This is ideal on several fronts, not the least of which is the
labor-cost numbers. We have been informed that the budget line for wages doesn't even
exist on the annual reports. Since Santa Claus Inc. is a privately held enterprise we can
find no regulatory fillings to dispute this. How this happens under local labor laws is not
our concern. Since Mr. Kringle is the ONLY employer in the area, you would expect staff
loyalty, but this place is amazing. As an aside, Let's keep this Mr. Kringle away from Bill
Gates. "Mr. Microsoft" still thinks that he's gotten a deal with his "part-time" contract software
engineers, receiving no benefits or stock-options.
Santa Claus Inc does have "casual day" down to an art.
Mr. Kringle is universally
referred to as "the big guy", "Santa"
or occasionally "St Nick". When addressing the client, any of these "nom de plume" are acceptable.
I am embarrassed to say I missed the full and correct names of the two "second-in-command" during our site visit earlier this week. It
appears OK to call the manufacturing plant VP, "Sparkle". The distribution/logistics chief
is a fellow called "Glitter". This must be an odd "corporate culture" thing with these
people, but it seems to work for them. By the way, we make fun of our software
engineers at VectorInter.Net, by called them "propeller-heads" and "elves". I will Email
you a photo of Mr. Kringle's "elves". No amount of stereotyping computer geeks,
( i.e. pocket-protectors, bad clothes, social ineptness, etc... ) can prepare you for the "elves" up
here. They all look alike. I don't mean they dress alike, speak in the same slang...etc, I
mean, they look alike. This must be the most closed, homogeneous society I have ever
seen. Not only are they loyal and hard working, but just incredibly cheerful too. When
you are around them, you can't help smiling. My cheek muscles hurt from grinning like
an idiot, since the moment I got off the plane up here. Let me state right now, there will
be absolutely no giggles or snickering about staff "nicknames" or local dress codes. You
will be asked to wear a "Santa cap" when you arrive. Remember "When in Rome..." and just go with it, OK.
Vector management needs your input on several areas of discussion. Our current thinking is:
1) There are 2 billion children in the world (persons under 18). But since
www.SantaClaus.np doesn't (at first look) handle Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist
children, that reduces the workload by 83% of the total, leaving 378 million children,
according to the U.N. Population Reference Bureau.
Mr. Kringle, ( excuse me "Santa")
informs us that at the last minute this number can swell dramatically. As the
delivery-window approaches, He says quite a few names migrate from something called
the "naughty" list and will be added to our delivery schedule. We are using the
preliminary numbers for now. At an average rate of 2.4 children per household, that's
91.8 million homes. One presumes there is at least one "good" child per house. Additional
units delivered per stop would be part of our "scale-ability" discussion, but incremental
additional cost can probably be kept in line..
In preparation for the "big day", as many of you will remember from your youth, the Santa Claus brand-name is merchandised by a cliché' kiosk display booth in every shopping mall, strip center and retail location possible. The Santa Organization has allowed us to attempt this parallel work assignment,
by including VectorDisplays.com in our pitch meeting proposal. The Santa Claus Inc operations manual insist that these retail "point-of-contact" locations be "up and running" for about 30 days, prior to Christmas. In the USA only, the start day is adjusted to begin the Friday after Thanksgiving. We have tried to dissuade Mr. Kringle from spending valuable executive planning time, sitting in these kiosks, greeting fans and recruiting new "believers". Much like the "delivery chore", I'll mention below, our client feels compelled to take on this task personally.
John Monteith at the VectorDisplays.com office in Atlanta, is the point-man and will coordinate "appearance times" with Santa's scheduler, named "Misty Toe". She's a lovely lass, with the blondest hair you ever saw......
.. any way, we're was I .... Oh, Yes. "JM" tells me that the trade show exhibit builders are looking forward to the challenge, and view this contract as an opportunity to out-do the Macy's people. The CAD/CAM machines are already whizzing and whirring I'm told. John says his team can easily handle the design and construction of the exhibit space and crowd control tools. He's thinking of three standard units to replicate in volume. Local teams will then selectively choose the "footprint" that fits the available space.
Santa's photography "helper", is named "Snap". [ Trust me. You just can't make this stuff up. That's really His name.] Any way, "Snap" tell us that most retail malls allow up to 30x40 size footprint, but some of the children's hospitals and shelters won't have space for anything, but a large chair and a sack of candy canes.
I have confidence that the Atlanta team is up to the job.
We have begun discussions with Mr Kringle about some creative self-funding options these kiosk's might present. Our discussions of options available to off-set the cost involved in this annual contact with fans, was met with less than positive reactions by Mr. Kringle.
Any suggestion of a "cover-charge" or a multi-tiered ticketing scenario were immediately dismissed, without consideration. Evidently Santa isn't swayed by the argument that "everyone" from the Rolling Stones to U2,Madonna and Garth Brooks are using this model to maximize revenue. As we'll mention elsewhere, discussions of "profits" are not met with any interest, by anyone within the management structure of the Santa Claus Inc enterprise.
There was one non-intrusive suggestion that our VectorInter.Net CTO thought we could use to recover a portion of this annual cost. I personally thought it was a very creative opportunity to capture the e-mail addresses of each visitor to the Kiosk, for later use. [You're going to love the simple elegance of this idea.]
CTO is fairly confident that Frosty the Snowman, the Easter Bunny, or those pesky
Leprechauns might be a source of dependable and recurring revenue, as they could "rent" this huge "opt-in" e-mail marketing list, to build thier own brand ID. We'll need to prepare a presentation for Santa and gather some preliminary numbers to show how much revenue he is dismissing with his "Ho Ho Ho, No No No" remark.
has 31 hours of Christmas to work within, thanks to the time zones and the rotation of the
earth. Now get this, They don’t out-source delivery!!
Mr.Kringle says he never has ....a
quality control issue we believe. The complete enterprise uses one delivery vehicle,
called "the sleigh" .
We will try to talk him out of continuing this "tradition". The early
look at the existing work-flow model has us assuming that the delivery module travels
east to west (to maximize the time window). This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with "X number" of good children,
"Santa" has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney,
fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks
have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next
house. We must assume that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed
through the time zones. We know this to be false, but for the purposes of our calculations
we will accept it. Another "fuzzy" calculation is 00.28 miles between households, for a
total trip of 75.5 million miles. That means that "Santa's" delivery module is moving at
650 miles per second, 3000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, a
conventional reindeer can run, at tops 15 miles per hour. I am told that the fastest
man-made vehicle, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a slow-poky 27.4 miles per second.
The Vector team in Florida/USA have already been brought in to get a look at this
"sleigh". Glen is the Team Leader. Their experience on that NASA subcontract may
provide some assistance here, as you will soon see. Mr. Kringle is emphatic that his
"elves" have been able to maintain the vehicle speeds. "Glitter" will be providing the
engineering specs on this delivery vehicle, so that Leslie and the people in Amsterdam at
Vector Design can "tweak" and "optimize" it, before Glen's team assembles it in Florida.
Lets see if we can show this guy "Santa" what our "elves" can do, OK!
We are unable to dissuade Mr Kringle of the notion that he must do each delivery
personally. I have never seen a CEO with more resolve to "carry the ball" personally like
this guy. We must account for stops to do what most of us do at least once every 31
hours. Without getting graphic, We are told the delivery tradition includes drinking milk, various fruit juices, some holiday punch and a large quantity of rich, thick egg nog. You would think
Mr. Kringle would be ready to accept the help. This item appears to be a "corporate tradition"
issue, and a touchy subject. I'll see if I can bring that item up again in a casual social
setting. We have scheduled Mr. Kringle, plus Sparkle and Glitter to tour the Vector
Group Australia logistics facility, this Saturday. Maybe we can talk them him into a more
practical distribution model. We understand his hesitancy to sub-contract delivery, but if
we could get 15-18 of these "sleighs" in the air during the delivery window, the "critical
failure" point wouldn't be 100% dependant on "Santa" .
I mentioned reindeer earlier. We need to set up a logistics support system to feed these
"flying reindeer". Sparkle tells me that these animals train for years to handle this trip.
He told us some long story about "reindeer games" and how Santa picks the harness
team. It all sounded like a cross between Olympic try-outs and 5th grade Boys soccer
practice too me. We have done some checking. No known species of reindeer can fly,
but this does not completely rule out "flying reindeer". Kringle's chief elf Sparkle told
me that we "should not stay up late" thinking about this one. He said that he's personally
never seen reindeer fly, but "knows" that they do. The engineering guys at Vector/Florida
tell me that conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that
these "flying reindeer" can pull TEN TIMES the normal amount, we cannot do the job
with eight, or even nine. We will need 214,204 reindeer. Any volunteers to help find
these extra reindeer? We need to figure out "how to" and "what to" feed them. Another
concern is, how do I put this nicely, We will need to maintain a clean work area under
foot, OK. If you have expertise in this area, Email me at BobC@VectorTrust.com.
The logistics team at Vector Group/Australia has figured the payload on the sleigh. Not
counting the weight of the sleigh itself, we are up to 5,353,430 metric tons. You heard
right. That is the number they get. This is assuming each child gets nothing more than a
medium sized Lego set (2 pounds), the sleigh is an engineering nightmare to configure.
For comparison purposes, 5,353,430 metric tons is four times the weight of the QE2. I
have had a preliminary conference call with the team at Vector Design in Amsterdam and
Vector Resource Management in Florida. We agree that 5,353,430 metric tons traveling
at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance. As if we didn’t have enough
problems, this atmospheric effect will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as the
space shuttle re-entering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair will absorb 14.3 quintillion
joules of energy per second each. In short, they will burst into flames almost
instantaneously, exposing the reindeer pair behind the leaders. The sequential destruction
of each pair of propulsion units will continue in a chain-reaction. This will create a
deafening sonic boom in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within
4.26 thousandths of a second. I don't want to read about our new client being "boycotted"
by the animal rights groups. One little TV news clip and the client is going to be in big
trouble. Randy and the folks in media relations at VectorRMG / Atlanta are ready to deal with it, if need be.
There must be a "build around", if we can come up with one. On a personal note, my tiny son; Tim really
loves Christmas. I don't want a situation to develop that requires me to go
home and explain how "Daddy killed the reindeer", or worse... our client. Let's make sure this doesn't happen. That brings me directly to the next issue.
Mr. Kringle, ( sorry, I mean "Santa" ) presents another engineering issue.
We must come up with a protection module of some sort.
The early trajectory numbers show that he will be subject to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity.
At 250-pounds, (to be charitable), Mr. Kringle would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by a 4,315,015 f t / pounds of force.
I already have Glen at Vector/Florida, talking to NASA about a "bunny suit" for this scenario. I'm told by the engineers that we're bumping up against the laws of physics here.
As a side note, Mr. Kringle’s personal weight is another issue we've been warned to avoid in discussions with "the big guy".
Mr. Kringle’s only comment was that "Santa" is invariably described as overweight, and as the personification of the corporate logo, he wants to fit that visual image.
I must admit he is the swiftest moving "jolly, old fat guy" that I have ever seen. (This reference is "OK", since it's his "PR image")
Our friend, Randy at Cypress Media Group/Atlanta tried to explain that the Coca-Cola company created that visual image for an early ad campaign. No one really expected the look to last, as it has. We think a little "media work" could "fix it" and evolve into a more youthful, healthy, athletic image.
Katherine's suggestion to "buff up" the Santa image didn't go over well with Santa himself, but Mrs. Clause did volunteer to
audition models for the prototype posters and artwork, after "New Years".
Please address your input to the team leader of each project area.
On another topic, We are addressing an unfortunate "situation" here at the North Pole. It has come to managements attention that some of you are in direct contact
with the project leaders of the "database" team at VectorInterNet Software Gmbh / Bonn. Please refrain from calling them concerning which "list" you are on. Henrich's team is managing the "Naughty list", while Gilda’s team has responsibility for the "Nice list".
Trying to find out which "list" you are on, is now officially against company policy. Mr. Kringle assigns positions on one list or the other, not Vector Staff.
Any attempts to move yourself or others from one list to the other is grounds for immediate dismissal.
There seems to be a lot of gossip about the "incident" here last week. These are the facts, as we attempt to "put this behind us".
One of your co-workers attempted to move a personal aqaintence from the "Naughty list" to the "Nice list". This person was identified only as "Bill C" from Washington DC, USA.
Any further communication from this individual should be immediately reported to your supervisor.
Santa has disclosed to the Vector management team, in no uncertain terms, that he is well-aware of this "Bill C" person and knows exactly in-which white, house he resides.
Evidently, this individual is a long time member of the "Naughty list". Mr. Kringle, wanted you all to know his official position on the "list" issue. His statement is :
Every year I am asked, "What can I do to assure that I am on the "nice list"? The question shows a loss of child-like innocence, recognition of unsavory behaviors during the past year, and a less than charitable heart. If you practice a Christian love of your fellow man through the year, you won’t need to be concerned with which "list" you are on, just prior to the holiday. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night. .... and by the way, somebody tell "Bill C" that I really can "see you when you’re sleeping, and when you are awake". The Supreme Court may not be able to see what you do in the kitchenette outside your home-office, but I can. "Grow up", Bill. You are supposed to be setting a good example.
Vector management feels those words speak for themselves. The full transcript of the meeting is available in the "employee policies" section of the web site.
Finally, Kudos to the sales team at Vector Resource Management Group in Florida.
They took the lead in closing this deal. Now that we've seen the operation analysis of
Santa Clause Inc., we know that we can bring incremental efficiency to this business model, by using the latest management expertise, E-commerce tools, database management, supply logistics and retail exhibit space tools available from the
Vector Trust family of companies. The profit participation "clause" ( Clause ! and Santa Claus ...... get it !! I crack myself up with this stuff.)
As I said, The profit participation clause in this contract should bring nice revenue flows straight to the bottom line here at the Vector Group of companies
for many years to come. It is the general feeling of those of us on site, that we are amazed that this "old family tradition" has lasted this long.
We feel that the client has an enterprise worth saving, and with your input; we can rise to the challenge, and bring
Mr. Kringle's operational structure and "bookkeeping" into the 21st century.
He also very open-minded about the "brand awareness" and new customer growth we can build with www.SantaClause.np
Thanks in advance for your help. Please feel free to offer your input to the team through my office here.
Robert "Bob" Cratchet, CFO
Finance, Accounting, & "Bookkeeping" Dept.
A member of the Vector Trust family of companies
Vector Resource Management Group - Tampa, FL. USA
Vector Group Australia Plc - Sydney, NSW Australia
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VectorInter.Net Software - Bonn, Germany
Vector Displays.com Trade Show Exhibits, Convention Booths or retail Kiosk spaces
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Vector RMG Financial - Atlanta, GA. USA
Vector Design NL - Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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