“I am going to explain how Commonwealth can become a global force in one month,” Lance said to his attentive troika, “as I imagined it would happen had I gotten to, and partnered with Branson.”
“And I can arrange a meeting, with one phone call to Richard,” Madonna said, flashing her phone.
“I assumed that would be the case, and I still think he’s the perfect person for the job, so I imagine we will be going to see him, sometime soon.”
“It can be our next stop, after Vancouver.”
“Okay, great. Imagine, if you will, that Branson announces that he has come up with a solution to the problems that have plagued artists, and newspapers since the proliferation of the Internet. He says that his new venture will wipe out Amazon, Spotify etc. He says he will reveal and launch it one week from the day he makes the announcement. That declaration will go around the world in 30 seconds.
“All eyes are on him as he pulls one of his stunts by using a jetpack to fly into his presser, and lands at a podium, grinning madly, as he does. All he needs is a second head to convince everyone that he had morphed into Zaphod Beeblebrox.”
Kitty laughed, “Zaphod Beeblebranson! Can I be his Trillian?”
Lance Lear did not like that idea, so he ignored her, and continued. “Branson explains the basics of Commonwealth, clicks an icon on his phone, and the site goes live. Understanding that Branson has just saved them, every news org in the world reports on it. Front page of every newspaper, lead story on every TV and radio newscast. Understanding that they, too, have just been saved, artists hyper-accelerate the viral story by pushing it out to their social media followers.
“Now, the average punter in China, or Lithuania may not hear of it within 24 hours of launch, but the business communities will. The smart business people will understand the magnitude of the business model of Commonwealth. And business people around the world will start trying to copycat it rigt away.
“But, if we offer business people around the world the opportunity to franchise Commonwealth, they need not bother doing all the leg work, because we will give them a turnkey operation, and a global brand name.
“Sure, some will try it on their own, but by the time they are able to do all the work, someone else will already be in business in their markets as Commonwealth franchisees. We sell the franchising as a first-to-market opportunity.
“What kind of money can we get for a Commonwealth franchise? Well, we’ll let the market decide by auctioning off the language franchises. And be clear, I am talking language franchises, not country franchises. Languages are the borders on the Internet, not the lines on maps.
“The day after we launch, we let it be known that we will be auctioning off language franchises 30 days later.
“Opening bids are $1000 for every 1 million native speakers of the language. So, for example, if you want the Commonwealth franchise for Serbo-Croatian, 15 million native speakers, the opening bid is $15,000. If no one else bids, congratulations, Borko! You just got the lion’s share of the digital download market, in your language, in perpetuity, for the price of a used car.
In the worst case scenario, we will pull in roughly $6 million in franchising fees in the first month. That more than covers what we have spent to build the platform, so Branson already has his money back. But that won’t happen, because there will be bidding wars for the franchises. We will pull in a lot more than $6 million. We add annual royalty fees to the contract, and pull in money from all around the world, in perpetuity.
“Obviously, winning bidders have to be vetted to make sure they are not scumbags, and the contracts will have to be tight.
“And here’s one for the ladies: since women around the world earn less than men, 15%ish in the West, we say that women who bid 85%, or more, of what men bid, they take the franchise.
“How much is that worth to us in publicity and good will? How many asshats will scream bloody murder over that one? More importantly, how much is that worth to the cause of women’s liberation?
“We will, of course, have to do what we can to make sure that some scumbag man isn’t just using a female puppet to save himself 15%.
“Contracts to female franchisees will have to clearly stipulate that any such schemes render the contracts null and void, with no money going back to the winning bidder. If that happens, the female former puppet gets the rigt of first refusal to purchase the franchise, for the same price it was awarded in the first place. If she doesn’t have the money, we can increase annual royalty fees until it’s paid.
“All contractual franchise disputes will have to be settled in reputable courts of our choosing, to make sure there’s no judge buying in Korea, Nigeria or wherever. All of this will make the Y chromosome miscreants of the world think long and hard about trying to put one over on us, because there will be a great deal of incentive for his female puppet to turn on him.
Madonna loved the thought Lance had put into empowering females. She laughed, “We call that the Lorena Bobbitt clause!”
King cringed, “You’ve really got a thing about castration lately.”
Madge responded immediately, “Sooner or later, every woman fantasizes about it, and for good reason. Woman have been fantasizing about castrating men as long as men have been fantasizing about raping women.”
Nodding her agreement, Kitty added “The fact that we rarely fulfill our castration fantasies, compared to how often men fulfill their rape fantasies, is just more proof that we are far more evolved than you are.”
That triggered a memory in the mind of Madonna. “I remember, in the late 90s, a big story in London, about a pack of feminists raping men. They picked up a guy in a bar, brought him to a sleazy hotel in Earl’s Court, slipped him a Viagra, bound and gagged him, had their ways with him, and then… sodomized him for hours! Then they just left him there. They called themselves the Viagra Rape Squad.”
Cringing, and fearing that this discussion was gonna get away from him, Lance asked, “Maybe we can get into that after I’m done?” No one objected, so he got back to it.
“If we want to add some more drama, and a lot more money, to the franchising of Commonwealth, we can hold poker tournaments for the Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, and Arabic language rigts. It will cost you a million bucks to get a seat at a table, and that’s what every player has to play with, a million bucks. The winners of these tournaments get the Commonwealth language franchise, plus their million bucks back, and we take the losers’ loot. We could pull a hundred million, maybe a billion, from that.”
The future King of the world asked a one word question, “Questions?”
“One,” said Kitty. “What the Hell do we do with all the money, money, money?”