Archive for August, 2015

Bond Villain Business Plan Reviews: Thunderball

August 25th, 2015

Business Plan Summary: Threaten to explode stolen atomic bombs in order to demand a ransom from NATO.

Founder/Leader: SPECTRE’s founder continues to prefer to not provide details on his background.

Key Personnel: Emilio Largo, Chief of Extortion Operations. Ruthless and driven, Mr Largo has shown considerable talent in blackmail. Prefers a ‘climate of fear’ approach, with no tolerance for failure with his staff.

Support Staff: Angelo Palazzi: impersonation specialist and pilot. Somewhat greedy but good at his work.

Count Lippe: Liaison. Working with Largo has encouraged a taste towards the baroque, when a simple bullet would suffice.

Fiona Volpe: Assassin. Confident and effective, although she may need further explanation of the meaning of ‘secret’ in ‘secret society’.

Technology: Extensive SCUBA equipment. Very extensive. Don’t ask them about it, they’ll show it to you for hours and hours.

Review: While the ‘steal the bombs’ step is high risk, the plan is well developed and likely to succeed. The only objection is that the ransom demanded is a bit low, and quite a bit more could easily be realised. The only way the plan could come unstuck at that point would be if someone made an idiotic mistake allowing the project to be traced, like associating with the sister of the pilot who will be replaced. But surely no one would be that stupid?

Recommendation: Strong Invest.

Bond Villain Business Plan Reviews: Goldfinger

August 22nd, 2015

Business Plan Summary: Contaminate the US gold in the US Bullion Depository and profit from the ensuing rise in gold prices.

Founder/Leader: Auric Goldfinger. A smuggler and jewellery magnate. Greedy and a megalomaniac, strong organisational abilities and a creative problem solver.

Key Personnel: No other management or coordination personnel.

Support Staff: Oddjob. Chauffeur, bodyguard and caddy. Loyal, incredibly strong and capable.

Pussy Galore. Personal pilot and head of aviation. Strong willed, a superior pilot.

Technology:Industrial laser.Can cut through any metal.

Delta 9 nerve gas. A fairly quick and effective nerve agent, but it offers few advantages over other comparable products.

‘Atomic Device’ dirty bomb. A cobalt/iodine device that will create radioactive contamination for 58 years.

Review: This plan is fundamentally stupid and won’t work at all.

As of the time the plan is expected to be implemented Fort Knox holdings are estimated at around 12,000 metric tonnes – around a third of total world reserves. These reserves are held because the United States has a gold standard. This means that the gold is mainly needed as a store of value, with a small amount needed to transact with other countries who are also maintaining gold standards.

As a result, contaminating the reserves will have no effect at all. US mining would be sufficient to cover any transaction needs, and as a ‘store of value’ it doesn’t matter if the gold is contaminated, so long as the contamination will go away reasonably soon. And 58 years is soon enough for this purpose.

There’s a small risk that a very well resourced individual could use speculative pressure to increase transaction demand to the point where mining output wouldn’t be enough. In this case the US could simply suspend convertibility, which would be a moderate and manageable economic shock.

So, in the worst case, this plan would actually result in an improvement in US economic policy.

Recommendation: Do Not Invest.

Bond Villain Business Plan Reviews: From Russia With Love

August 15th, 2015

Business Plan Summary: Create conflict between the United States and Soviet Union, allowing SPECTRE to take over the world.

Founder/Leader: No background information available.

Key Personnel: Rosa Klebb (Number 3): Chief Operations Officer. Ex-KGB, with a strong track record for delivering covert operations effectively.

Tov Kronsteen (Number 5): Chief Planning Officer. A chess grandmaster, and so has exceptional planning abilities, but also a weakness in terms of assuming that all the ‘pieces’ will move according to the rules.

Support Staff: Donald Grant. Assassin, a homicidal paranoiac with exceptional skills. But atrocious table manners. Red wine with fish, really? Also should seek some help about his monologuing habit – it’s the kind of thing that junior staff simply shouldn’t be doing.

Technology: None identified.

Review: The founder summarised the plan neatly: “Siamese fighting fish, fascinating creatures. Brave but of the whole stupid. Yes they’re stupid. Except for the occasional one such as we have here who lets the other two fight. While he waits. Waits until the survivor is so exhausted that he cannot defend himself, and then like SPECTRE… he strikes!”

The problem with the plan becomes apparent when it is realised that Siamese fighting fish is a pretty poor analogy for nuclear armed superpowers. The business plan has a very good chance to succeed in generating the desired instability. But world domination is a less profitable goal when the world in question is a nuclear wasteland.

But the personnel involved are very strong, so while the current plan is poor it’s easy to see a future iteration being much stronger.

Recommendation: Invest.

Bond Villain Business Plan Reviews: Dr. No

August 8th, 2015

Business plan summary: ‘Topple’ rockets launched from Cape Canaveral. Early stage funding through bauxite mining.

Founder/Leader: Dr. Julius No has extensive experience with organised crime, acting as Chief Financial Officer for the Chinese Tongs. Since then he has worked on research into electromagnetic radiation. Currently a member of the SPECTRE syndicate, he has a strong level of personal animus towards both the United States and Soviet Union which can affect his judgment.

Key personnel: The company was able to identify only one key staff member beyond Dr. No, suggesting a worrying level of centralisation in a single person. The one person identified, the geologist Professor Dent, is well qualified in his professional capacities, but is placed in a role extending well beyond these.

Support staff: Generally strongly motivated (several said they were ‘willing to die for’ the company), staff across several areas were generally excellent. Assassination and security departments are particularly well staffed, although the surveillance department could stand to add some more experienced staff.

Technology: The missile toppling technology demonstrated is an impressive achievement, using radio waves to disrupt a missile while launched. But applications outside the initial implementation appear limited, and the need for geographic proximity to the launch would seem to limit even this application.

Review: While the technical capability demonstrated by Dr. No is excellent, the business plan overall is weak. There is little scope for monetisation demonstrated, and the potential for blackmail seems limited when dealing with a nation-state with the simple ability to wipe the single well-known base of operations out with a single bombing campaign. The path from being able to disrupt missile launches to world domination is tenuous at best.

Recommendation: Do Not Invest.