Dear Dr Tinman: I’m bankrupt, what should I do?
Welcome to the fourth edition of Dr Tinman’s Ignorant Remedies for the Aching Soul.
I am Dr Tinman, life-doctor and former explorer of worlds beyond the edges of time.
Before I present you with this week’s Tanzanite fragment of wisdom (pearls are for fools and molluscs), I’d like to take the time to answer a few of your emails regarding my previous advice column.
Jack from Broome writes:
“How is your monocle staying attached to your face even though you don’t appear to be squinting or contorting your face in any way?”
Jack, I wish I could explain basic monocle physics (a field my pioneered by my late grandfather) to you, but I don’t want to.
Margaret from Dalby writes:
“I have been following your advice column with much interest. It has proven to be a testament to your lack of advice-giving skills and your penchant for throwing out worthless, dangerous and irresponsible pieces of “advice”.
How do you live with yourself?”
My dear Margaret, does the badger question the fly? Does the moon doubt the sea otter? I hope this clears up any confusion.
And finally, my phone provider writes:
“Your current bill of $576.89 is ready for viewing online. Please refer to the BPAY billing code on your statement to pay the full amount.”
And now, onto this week’s burning, fiery, volcanic, inferno of a question.
Dear Dr Tinman,
I want to start a business, but I have no idea how to get things moving. I don’t even know what type of business I want to run yet. I saw your book, “Cha-Ching! Dr Tinman’s Guide to Pyramid Schemes and Firebombing Competitors”, in my mother-in-law’s bathroom and thought you might be able to help me out.
Your question takes me back to my youth (which I tend to place at around three decades before the car accident that temporarily granted me superhuman strength and night vision). As a plucky five-year-old, I opened a homemade chemical and household cleaning stand on our front lawn.
My mother tells me it was a very cute sight. There I was, waist-high with a perfectly-trimmed moustache, selling my five-cent bottles of powerful detergents and combustible wares to complete strangers and representatives for the local mafia.
It was there that I learned the value of knowing your market. I had heard, through my sources, that the Don’s consigliere was having concerns about the sloppy and haphazard manner in which his button men were disposing of bodies. Other children ignored this valuable intelligence and instead poured hours into crafting sickly-sweet volumes of lemonade.
But I chose to seize the opportunity and began concocting my own potent mixtures of bleach. I walked away with a cool $25,000, which I promptly invested in a little company called IBM – International Batman Miniatures. As it turned out, the directors of said company severely misjudged the demand for Batman miniatures and I lost close to the entire amount.
The point of that cheerful anecdote, Bankrupt, is to avoid investing in companies that deal exclusively in tiny, inferior plastic figurines of popular pop culture icons. Aside from that, I would almost suggest that the nature of your business is irrelevant.
These days, it’s all about creating a work culture volatile and outlandish enough to secure a reality television show deal with an American-based network.
Take, for instance, the success of “Cake Boss” – a program about a group of people talking loudly and shouting things like “And then she tells me she actually wanted the dinosaur to be made of a chocolate base! Pretty crazy, right!”, while making comically-exaggerated facial expressions and moving their hands and forearms in a wild and rapid manner. Also, every time a character’s wife criticises a defective product or burnt item, that character is required by contract to roll their eyes and make a sort of “What a nightmare!” gesture (or, for added nuance, throw in a “You gotta be kiddin’!” gesture).
Consider, also, the show “Hardcore Pawn” – which follows a family running a pawn shop and also utilises cunning word-play that references hardcore pornography. In this particular program, a man with a moustache tricks people living below the poverty line into thinking that their items are worth $12 and a condescending tone. The person will then attempt to beg, claiming the sale of their beloved item is required to pay off urgent debts/feed their children. They then compromise and sell for $4.53. Moustache man then turns to the camera and says something along the lines of: “This fur coat is worth $3,000 on eBay!”
If you want your business to make you obscene amounts of wealth, you will need to do the following:
1. Stop speaking at normal, socially-acceptable volumes. Shout at all times and speak as though every sentence is ended with an exclamation mark.
2. Hire a motley group of people that includes:
- The loud, constantly bickering siblings
- The rotund, funny guy who is actually really sweet
- The guy who brings his baby to work all the time for no discernable reason other than to attract viewers who like babies
- The lady with the weird hobby who always manages to find situations where that thing ends up being somehow relevant and useful.
- The person with heaps of tattoos who is actually the nice one
- The good-looking young hipster guy who hangs out with 40-year-olds because of course he does
- The twenty-something buff guy or hot girl who is tangentially related to one of the other staff and obligated to work in the shop – even though all they do is spill vodka on things and cry hysterically.
- And the tough-as-nails man or woman with the beard who always clashes with the boss even though they’re clearly the least competent and easiest to replace.
I hope this helps, Bankrupt. If you follow these easy steps, you will have a profitable “business” in no time! I look forward to viewing your inevitable nude public meltdown on the Internet.
Kindest of warm regards,
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