Artist Jonathon Keats is back with a new project. He's opening a business school for bacteria. More details at modernisminc.com
NEW SAN FRANCISCO CONSULTANCY ROUTS SILICON VALLEY MONOCULTURE WITH BIODIVERSITY
Microbial Associates Announces Complete Executive Training For Bacteria -- Microbes Available For Employment At October Launch Event
September 25, 2014 -- Creatively stifled by insular hiring practices, and struggling to distinguish themselves in an increasingly competitive marketplace, Silicon Valley technology companies are bracing for the first opportunity to radically diversify their executive workforce next month. On Tuesday, October 21st, approximately 100 billion bacteria will be certified in fields ranging from management to finance to product development by Microbial Associates, the only corporate consultancy in the world fostering successful business relationships between humans and prokaryotes.
"Bacteria are the most industrious organisms on the planet, and also the most creative," says experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats, founder and managing director of Microbial Associates. "Forming mountains and oxygenating the atmosphere, they literally made the world in which we live. Just imagine if Google or Facebook were to leverage that world-changing talent."
Mr. Keats is not surprised that bacteria have been overlooked by human resources departments. "Microbes are microscopic," he observes. Moreover they've never been educated for business, credentialed for employment, or prepared for recruitment. Microbial Associates will provide all three services in their offices at San Francisco's Modernism Gallery, where bacteria can be hired for as little as one billionth of a cent per hour.
Business lessons will be provided to bacterial populations in state-of-the-art Pyrex classrooms using chemotactic and galvanotactic techniques developed by Mr. Keats and piloted at Amherst College. "Chemotaxis and galvanotaxis are some of the primary ways bacteria sense their environment," Mr. Keats explains. "By modulating the flow of chemicals and electricity in vitro, we can demonstrate essential principles such as supply-and-demand and strategic planning." For instance, bacteria learn about supply curves by being pumped in and out of equilibrium, giving them the direct experience of a concept most CFOs grasp only in the abstract.
"The bacteria end up knowing more than many executives I've met," says Stanley Bing, Fortune Magazine columnist and author of The Curriculum, who serves as a Microbial Associates advisor. No special background is needed. "We can work with almost any species of bacteria," claims Mr. Keats, "even those in corporate lunchrooms."
Nor is enrollment limited. Because each bacterial cell is less than ten microns long, classroom throughput is more than a billion bacteria at a time, far surpassing the technological capacity of any MOOC. This small scale is also beneficial for employers in a highly competitive real estate market. Trillions of bacteria can fit inside a single cubicle.
Mr. Keats stresses that his biochemical curriculum -- which culminates in official certification and job placement for graduating bacteria -- is intended only to help microbes adjust to the human workplace. "They need to be familiar with how we think in order to gain acceptance as colleagues," he says. "But their real benefit to companies will derive from their innate skill set. Diversity breeds innovation, disrupting the creative monotony of the corporate monoculture. Systems evolved by bacteria can vastly enhance any startup or megacorporation."
Key examples of bacterial business savvy include quorum sensing and horizontal gene transfer. The former allows bacteria to respond dynamically to new opportunities regardless of population size, a crucial skill that most companies lose as they grow. The latter lets bacteria creatively recombine innovations in a changing environment, avoiding the gridlock of corporate patent disputes. Microbial Associates' strategic consultants can deliver these business principles to any boardroom -- from Silicon Valley to New York City --with or without a team of bacterial employees.
"We've learned from bacteria to be highly adaptive," says Mr. Keats. "Microbial Associates can accommodate the needs of any company and we're confident that all can gain from it. Bacteria are eons ahead of us in real-world experience. Perhaps they can even train us how to live and work sustainably in the world they invented."