Friday, July 11, 2014

When Fiction Is Not An Option

Who wouldn't like free wi-fi?

We're all addicted to our little electronic devices that keep us in touch at every second. There is nothing that cannot be found when you have a smart device and a connection to the internet, and if you can get that connection for free, you won't hesitate to Google some question that must be answered at once.
Something for nothing? Now that's fiction

Of course, nothing is actually free. Someone has to pay, and if it isn't the end user, then it's got to be the advertiser.

Gowex entered the world of free wi-fi hot spots with all the enthusiasm that techies could muster. Founder Jenaro Garcia was quite the entrepreneur over there in Madrid, where he managed to convince enough money holders to give him the means to launch a new wi-fi network that would eventually grow big enough to be supported entirely by advertising revenue which would then pay for the system. He marketed an opportunity to reach countless eyeballs with the advertiser's message, every time a user went online using the Gowex system.

The pitch worked so well that Mr. Garcia was able to expand his network to other major cities. He needed investors to stretch out across the globe, and investors like to know that they can expect a return on their investment, so he switched careers and took to writing fiction.

Revenues? Sure, here's the perfect revenues in a perfect world and the investors suspended disbelief. They put their money behind Gowex, the great fiction work of 2014. The bubble has just been burst. Mr. Garcia was rumbled and his imaginary revenues have been exposed as false. This being the business world, his attempt to craft a piece of fiction has not been well received. It's all non-fiction, all the time, on Wall Street.

Gotham City Research LLC did some due diligence in regard to Gowex's financial statements, not unlike someone who reads a piece of historical fiction and then digs into the archives to see if certain events really did happen when the novel's author says they happened. Except in this case, there was real money involved, and someone at the research firm just wasn't buying the world that Mr. Garcia built.

As it turned out, he overstated revenues. He lied about the number of hotspots in the New York City network, exaggerating the number so that things looked good. He made up a figure for the amount that the city was paying Gowex for the wi-fi system, and then shrank the figure a little when Gotham City Research started asking questions, but even that was fiction.

The rosy projections and sales figures were pure fiction, and it did not take long for Gotham City Research to raze the imaginary world that Jenaro Garcia had created in his head and then put down on paper.

Gowex has filed for bankruptcy, the fiction so shot full of holes that no one would believe the story and if no one believes, the story won't sell.

Mr. Jenaro has been relieved of his duties as CEO while the company's remaining executives try to salvage what they can. The idea is still viable, but whether or not free wi-fi hotspots can really be provided without cost to the user remains to be seen. And since investors have been stung already, they may not be all that interested in putting even more into Gowex, with or without the firm's founder.

It's disappointing to a reader when the fiction world that an author has tried to build doesn't hold up throughout the novel. Especially when you've invested your money in the book and there are no refunds.

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