One day, long ago, when people still lived in caves…
There was a lazy human called Edward.
His Mum was always trying to make him take out the trash and he just wouldn’t.
When Edward grew up, his Dad insisted that he help him gather food for the family or else he would stop feeding the spoiled son.
Edward was angry. He yelled at his dad and swore that he would NEVER work a day in his life again.
He stormed out of the cave and immediately found some douchebag friends of his. He created a clever little story about an idea for a game they could play.
The game was not important, but take it from me, he eventually became very skilled at getting others to get and make food for him. Quite simply, he learned about “favours” and how to exchange them.
Edward didn’t just exchange any favours though. He made a point that whatever he swapped with someone it was some sort of a “thing”, an empty promise, a fantasy, or an idea…never anything that required physical doing. And for a while, that plan seemed to work.
He grew lazier and since he didn’t have to spend time looking for food any more, he was bored.
He thought to himself, “I have all the time in the world,” . “But i’m only eating a small variety of its food.”
There had to be at least a million different foods. That day, Edward decided, “I will try them ALL”.
Edward thought and thought. And suddenly, he had an idea.
Whenever someone came over to visit, he’d ask them to “help” him chop one tree outside his cave as a favour. Many of them politely obliged. It seemed a quick thing.
In only a few days, he had a pretty decent spot cleared outside his place. A nice little “gardening” area.
And he never once lifted an ax.
At this point, he knew that if he wanted more work done, he couldn’t keep hustling others for favours.
After all, many of his neighbours had been asked many favours…and they were starting to feel bitter and avoid him.
For the first time, he realised if he wanted people to do things for him, he’d have to actually give them something they believed worth their time.
So he started offering to his guests a piece of fruit. An apple today, an orange tomorrow…
Pretty soon word got out that Edward was giving out food. Exciting new fruits with tastes their tongues had never felt. There was sweet, there was sour, there was salty, and bitter. Foods that were mixed together, foods that were hot and foods that were cold.
Some solid, some squishy, some chunky.
Some red, some orange, some with colour bursts inside and out.
Many, many things. Where did he get them from? Everybody wondered.
Almost everyone was curious and wanted to try. Every time someone ventured over to see if Edward would give them some fruit, he’d ask them a little favour. And if they accepted to do it, he’d hand them a piece of fruit as they said goodbye outside his cave.
This went on for years.
Finally all the land around Edward’s home, for miles, was cleared of trees and plowed and was making every kind of food in the world.
Pretty soon, Edward was lazing about, bored again. All the food of the world at his fingertips. He enjoyed that part of his life a lot…but he needed a new hobby.
Perhaps he should get a friend. But this didn’t prove to be easy. Every time he lingered a little in conversation with a neighbour, they almost rushed him off to get back to their food gathering.
“Everyone’s TOO BUSY trying to get food either for me or for themselves!” he cried in frustration.
Edward got angry again. Why does everyone have to be busy getting food? Why don’t they get other people to get them food and hang out with me instead?
Suddenly, Edward had the BEST idea ever.
He decided to find a “friend” and teach him to get others to bring him food so they can hang out together all day. Eating the world’s best food and talking about how smart they were and how dumb everyone else was.
Several weeks pass because Edward wants to pick the perfect friend. And that’s when he met Mr. Hill. A real cool guy who was funny and hated looking for food too.
Edward taught him how to setup his own place the same way.
And as time went by, Edward and Mr. Hill had a lot more friends. And each of their friends had the entire neighborhood working for them and bringing them food.
Oh, and the neighbours who worked for them…
They got to try a tiny sample of less exotic foods that Edward and Mr. Hill and Mrs. Gate and the pastor’s daughter Delilah were getting every day. But it was sure better than what they had back at the cave (probably a very occasional rat or possum)
In fact, the neighbours had little time to find their own food any more. But that too was ok, because Edward and his friends were getting enough food to feed everyone…a little.
As time went by, we noticed that Mr. Hill, Edward’s first friend had changed.
He liked to eat ALL the time. He loved the slimiest, the saltiest, and the sweetest of foods. He enjoyed them mixed with lots and lots of other types of food. And i swear that we once heard that his favourite meat sandwich had piece of rocks and sand broken into tiny pieces and sprinkled on top of it.
But Mr. Hill didn’t seem to care either way. He LOVED that sandwich. And he ate it all the time with its yellow slimy fluids dripping down his arms. With each bite, it seemed he got bigger and bigger.
Mr Hill also hated to move. We often left him passed out in one of Edward’s caves and he wouldn’t move from that spot for weeks. But Edward loved him, he was his best friend and never said a thing.
One morning, a group of us came to Edward’s hang-out cave, and found Mr. Hill dead.
A sandwich was half eaten and gingerly balanced on his stomach. His stiff motionless body was on the floor. And no one could explain it.
There was no clear reason why he died. We looked over his body for holes and found none. He had all his bits and pieces in tact. And although he was an older man, he was by no means an OLD man.
Why he died, beats me. But as time went by, our group got bigger, friends of ours were dying right left and center. Many of them were far too young!
Edward was torn up by Mr. Hill’s death. And he was never the same after it. He became obsessed with finding someone who knew how to make him live longer.
Edward was afraid of dying. He didn’t want the fun to end. So he kept searching and searching.
Until one day, he heard about a man who seemed to know some secrets about why people died and how to fix them. In fact, he had fixed a lot of people. This mysterious man was known only as Dr. White.
Edward had one of his people go find this strange “doctor”.
When Dr. White arrived at Edward’s cave on horseback, he looked very wise. His beard was white and it swayed over the white robe he wore. Now his name made sense.
The doctor squinted into the sun as he dismounted his steed and the skin around his eyes was loose and pressed a little into deep wrinkled lines.
Edward ran to him and greeted him excitedly almost dragging him inside.
He had so many questions and was eager to start.
I will never forget that night, because the conversation went long into the night. And it was the first time i had seen so many grown men and women cry.
Edward began to ask his first question before the Doctor was offered something to drink:
“Why do people die?”
Dr. White responded, “Well, Edward, people are meant to die eventually. This is how the world was made.”
“No! This is different. People are dying left and right. Mr Hill wasnt meant to. What is going on?”
“My son,” said the doctor. “When you mess with the natural order of things, this happens. The world is meant to work without interference. You can modify parts of it to work how you want…as long as they’re small changes. But you did too much. And the world had to react to protect itself.
“Every action has a consequence. This is only the beginning of your consequence. People weren’t designed to eat so much with so little effort as you do.”
“Wait, wait, wait!” piped up Edward. “Warning signs? What warning signs? I never got a warning that Mr. Hill would die, so his death is a mistake!”
“How unfortunate that you were never warned about Mr. Hill’s upcoming death.” said the doctor.
“Just bring Mr. Hill back for us…we miss him and he was a good friend.”
The Doctor shook his head.
“It doesn’t work that way. Mr. Hill’s death is a warning to you. His death is a consequence of what you’ve done. Hill’s actions were different and he had his own warnings leading up to his death.
“This little arrangement here that you have for getting all this food… It has a price.
“You, your friends in this room, and the people you have slaving outside for you may have to suffer the consequences of what you’ve together masterminded into existence. You planned to eat all the world’s food and it would have been fine if just one of you was doing it. The effect on the world would have been too small to notice. But you didn’t know that it would amplify thousands of times over with every new worker or partner that joined you.
“You thought you had a free ride. But now you know the rest of the story.
“If you continue down this path, my friends, you could ultimately break the world.
“These people dying young all around you are warning signs. Heed the signs or it will get worse.”
Dr. White’s speech ended abruptly. Sniffles could be heard in the room throughout. One by one, the people who had come to hear the doctor knew their role in the mess at hand.
Edward had been silent for some time. But as the doctor’s last words echoed hauntingly in the cave, a single wet teardrop rolled down his face. And he breathed slowly.
No one broke the silence. Besides a few whimpers from the women in our crowd.
Edward finally spoke. And his voice came out a little hoarse, he asked:
“Doctor White. I heard you fix people who are going to die. Can you fix people already dead?”
“No. Dead people can’t be fixed. They’re beyond help. I can only try to fix them when they’re alive,” responded the doctor.
A woman wailed in the back of the cave as he said this. But some of us were suddenly filled with hope.
Edward was infuriated. “Mr Hill did not have a warning sign! FIX HIM THIS INSTANT!”
We were certain the doctor would leave right away. Each of us held our breath and waited for the doctor’s reaction.
“I can’t fix your friend, Edward. But I assure you, he had warning…they are different for everyone. Perhaps he grew too quickly from the food he was eating. Or maybe he had bouts of dizziness throughout the day. He may have had migranes. Or maybe inside his body he had lumps or blocks and damage that no one could see. But he probably felt the warnings.
“He got the warnings, he just ignored them.
“I can’t fix the dead. I can try to fix the living, but i too would be messing with the world. I may discover there is a price to pay for that…some day…”
When the doctor left, the laziest of us, Edward…he felt worst.
I don’t really know the full story of how Google came about. But we could all agree on one thing…if Online Marketers and website owners didn’t mess with it, Google would go on working the way it’s supposed to. That’s how it was designed.
But website owners ultimately came to be.
One day, a few years ago, there lived a lazy human. His name was Edward, Jr.
All he wanted to do in life was to try every food in the world. Edward engineered a way to get lots of people seeing his website and buying his stuff. Then he’d take that money and get food with it.
He was really enjoying this for a while….till he found himself bored and in need of company.
Since everyone else was working for food, Edward found a friend named Mr. Hill. He taught him a trick to using Google for lots of website traffic. Together, they went on to dominate the internet. Others came into the group every day.
Word got out that you can use Google in this way to get lots of traffic and money. Edward’s idea, his little modification…it soon became the accepted way of using Google for web traffic.
Edward’s first friend, Mr. Hill…he started making a lot of money at one point. We knew he was doing some questionable things but who were we to talk. Edward would be furious if ever someone got the balls to breathe something about Mr. hill to him.
One day, we walked in on Mr. Hill on the floor blowing his nose into 100 dollar bills and staring blankly at his computer screen. His account had been banned from Google Adwords. And his websites stopped getting traffic.
We looked over his account and it looked like up until yesterday, he’d been getting traffic and converting sales really well. There was no obvious reason why it would stop.
For a while Edward and Mr. Hill looked for answers on how to get his account back up. Edward loaned him some money in the meantime…but eventually Mr. Hill had to give up and went back to working to get food. Which he absolutely hated. And what saddened Edward most, was that he lost his best friend.
Little by little, members of our group fell away. More accounts were banned and no one knew why.
Edward became obsessed with reaching someone who could fix a banned account. Eventually, he found out about a Google “expert” who supposedly could bring back websites from the dead.
The rep’s name was “White”. We all gathered to hear what this expert had to say…
Edward began, “I heard you can put banned websites back on Google! Can you get Mr. Hill’s website back on?”
The expert responded, “No, Edward. Mr Hill’s account is dead because that’s what the system does.
“He messed with the natural order of things on Google, he received the warning signs, he chose to ignore them and this is the consequence of his actions.
Edward became excited:
“Wait wait wait! There’s been a mistake. we weren’t warned about Mr. Hill’s account! His website made lots of money and he misses the traffic. Re-enable his account this instant!”
The expert shook his head as he replied,
“I am sorry that you weren’t warned about your friend’s account. But Mr. Hill was surely warned.
“He may have been `slapped` or had an ad or two not approved. Maybe he got a bad response to his offer or perhaps it was all the returns he didn’t think would catch up to him. He might have had a cancer inside his website, something a little unethical, a little white lie, a little promise that went undelivered.
“One thing you can count on is that he was warned.
“Because a good system like Google wants to work indefinitely. So they need to have a way to preserve themselves from breaking down or becoming obsolete if changes happen in or out of the system.
“You and your group, Edward are making the system work for you and no one else. And you’re being warned. These dead accounts all around you are the feedback, the consequence of having created a movement to use the system differently from its current design.
“Had you used Google your way but kept your methods discrete and secret, you might have been fine.
“Had you phased the changes into the system slowly enough that it could adapt, you might have been fine.
“But what you and your friends did is change how every website owner uses Google to advertise… You did it too quickly, too dramatically. And you, the architects of this plan are responsible. You threaten the system’s existence (which affects everyone who uses Google to advertise or search).
“The system sacrificed your friends’ accounts, all of them, out of necessity. To ensure its own survival for generations to come.
“Every one of you is responsible for what happens next. If you don’t heed the warning signs, you will see much more of this death and destruction. And choose your next actions carefully because not only could you find your own accounts dead, but you may also break the system for ever.”
That night, when we went home and the Google rep flew back…many of us felt guilty.
But the one who felt worst of all…were the laziest.
I sure enjoy reading a good email. But I have to admit, much of my inspiration these days for writing emails comes NOT from being