Simon Carr: The Kitchen Capitalist

A few technical hitches on the way to a fortune...
Click to follow
The Independent Online

The story so far: the author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune to finance his old age.

The story so far: the author has sold his house to finance a manufacturing project in the hope of making a small fortune to finance his old age.

We were sending a parcel to China, last week. We haven't finished. We won't finish this week either. Deadlines loom ever closer. I've got to get this clever little model to China to get a second prototype made, and get the demo board installed with the new voice, so the storage chips can be bought and programmed and sent from Japan to be made into the integrated circuit and ... I'm getting ahead of myself. We have to get the model, already picked up by our foremost international freight company, to Taiwan. I'm pretty sure I've suffered more than one embolism in this gruelling process.

Lucy has sent through a two-page fax. The first page says the fax consists of a covering sheet and an invoice. But only the covering sheet arrives. "Hello, this is Sherrie, thank you for calling TNT, how can I help you?" I ask for Lucy and am transferred. "Hello, this is Debby, thank you for ringing TNT, how can I help?" I ask for Lucy again. I am transferred again. "Hello, this is Lucy, thank you for ringing TNT, how can I help?"

"Only one page of the two-page fax arrived, Lucy."

"The confirmation slip says it went through?" she says doubtfully. "Is it something at your end, perhaps?" That's very clever. It's my fault. Actually it is my fault, the paper tray is producing an error message. While I struggle with myself she gives news of the Global Gold quote. Great! Progress! She's got the quote! "We're unable to give you a Global Gold quote because the zip number you provided isn't actually correct."

"But the number comes from their website."

"It doesn't have enough digits."

How do I get the right number of digits? I haven't got their address on me. I Google Guten. The company is called Guten. I get German Guten. I go through Global Sources. Get Guten in Taiwan. Get Guten entry. There's no zip code at all. Then the computer freezes. The fax still hasn't arrived. The machine offers a new error code: check paper size. Lucy is engaged. But my call is important to them. So I hold. I have difficulty breathing. This has taken 45 minutes so far. They could have launched a missile strike in this time.

I go to that place we entrepreneurs have in our heads. Everything is calm and full of people doing what you want them to. You press a button and a secretary takes your parcel to China, herself, if necessary. You sit at your desk and a brand extension occurs to you that will sell a million units a year. You wonder whether you'd trigger your options at £12m or complete the two-year earn out that would value your shares at £15m. People in Broadmoor have the same sort of refuge. Maybe that's where I'll end up because the model still hasn't gone.

simoncarr75@hotmail.com

Comments