M-Theory: St. Nick and the Christmas tech crisis Melanie Baker December 21, 2017 Columns, Communitech, Featured, M-Theory ’Twas days before Christmas, when all through downtown. A commotion was brewing, and rumours swirled ’round. Tech firms had partied and toasted good cheer, And prepared to wind down at the end of the year. But as they were pouring that last glass of ’nog, They started to notice that something was wrong. Websites stopped working; code wouldn’t compile, No e-commerce transactions rang through for a while. Everything had gone missing, an enormous heist. The victims? The naughty, but also the nice. Dozr – no ’dozers, and Kiite couldn’t fly. Axonify – no axons. Bartesian ran dry. Alas, Plum was fruitless, and Bridgit builds halted. The Vids, they were Yardless, and Big Road unsalted. Iain and Berry consulted with Dave, Then they called up Larkin, hoping for a save. They hunted for fingerprints, offline and on. Scoured logins and checked code – where had it all gone? Then Iain’s phone rang, and they paused their opines. T’was a break in the case – it was Claus on the line! The call went on speaker, the mayors came ’round. The news St. Nick shared quickly brought frowns. The tale Santa told, scarce could it be believed. He was scared and confused and most grievously peeved. Earlier in the year Santa had been approached. An acquisitive deal to Clauses was broached. He’d wanted none of it; Mrs. Claus had concurred. They’d taken the meeting but then had demurred. Amazon was the suitor and feeling acquisitive. They wanted the “Ho Ho Ho!, red suit, and wizzywigs. But their reps quickly learned that it was a dud mission. Santa was Christmas and stood for tradition. But most of the elves, they had wanted to sell. The toy-making grind had become their own hell. The kids nowadays, they just wanted their screens. From wee drooly toddlers right up to the teens. The elves wanted retirement, to relax in the sun. But obstinate Nick threw a wrench in their fun. And so they decided to hatch a new plan. The elves and the reindeer ’gainst one jolly man. They worked with great silence; they worked with great stealth. They’d strike at the heart of this new threat’s great wealth. They stole Santa’s sack and rode off in his sleigh. And stripped all the world of its tech in a day. While we drank and sang carols and nibbled on cheese. They flew through the night, bold guffaws on the breeze. No one knew where it was hid all away. Then they informed Santa: no jingles today. The assembled fell silent with thoughts of the cost But just when the tech biz seemed fa-la-la-lost The boardroom door crashed ajar with a bang. Into the room hustled a helluva gang. “We came right away and we know what went down. We gathered our team from abroad and in town. We’ve a plan and we’re gonna make this go away. We’ll need coffee and chargers and keys to the sleigh.” And Iain’s heart lightened with sparks of good cheer. This could work – they’re awesome. Fierce Founders were here! They split into teams and set up their command. They needed more whiteboards and faster broadband. The Founders got root and took systems back. They busted down doors and refilled Santa’s sack. They fixed wayward elves with their dark, steely glares. Recovered tech’s treasures from remote secret lairs. Websites came online and transactions did flow. Founders hopped in the sleigh and away they did go. They returned all the tech ’round the world in one night. In the end the elves didn’t give much of a fight. Santa was grateful that Yule hadn’t tanked. He asked all the Founders how they could be thanked. And I heard them exclaim as they drove out of sight, More diversity! More funding! And to all a good night! (With thanks and apologies to Clement Clarke Moore. Additional thanks to Mike Farwell for inspiration stemming from the argument about whether Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and Andy Weir for Artemis, which put me in the mood for a good heist. If you celebrate this season, may it be merry and bright.) M-Theory is an opinion column by Melanie Baker. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Communitech. Melle can be reached @melle or firstname.lastname@example.org.