Walker was always last. When he was a schoolboy, when the teacher called class attendance he was always at the end. On sports teams he was last on the roster. When he went away to camp they were usually out of supplies when they arrived at his name. This continued into his college years and and faded soon after.
He opened a business many years later and that letter Z haunted him once again. Zimmerman Consulting Services seemed to be at the bottom of Yellow Page listings. He reasoned that his business would be better if he changed the name. His reputation was tepid at best, so a re-branding would probably be a boost to the business.
Good old yankee ingenuity goes a long way in a capitalistic system. Those skill sets include lobbying, economies of scale and the low bar when it comes to valuing people and the environment. I digress, as Walker had none of these skills or attributes at his disposal so he relied on being clever, smart and idealistic. His goal was to find his niche and exploit it to the fullest.
He formed a focus group to study the problem which consisted of his neighbor Ned, his girlfriend Mary and two people from his Civil War re-enactment group. Zeek and Alyosha just treated it as just another re-enactment of life.
He invited them over to his office for a focus group session where he provided assorted food and liquid refreshment. Unbeknownst to them he arranged the food on the table in alphabetical order starting with the artichokes, beets, celery, donuts and on the other end of the table Xnipec. Yams and bottles of Zima. The later had sat dusty in his basement for years. If you’re a fan of spicy food, then xnipec is for you! Xnipec is a fresh salsa made with fresh habanero peppers, tomato, onion, sour orange juice and more.
I am not sure what the more was, as the focus group was rather focused on being unfocused. And they had a really good time. For you anti-capitalists out there there is plenty to be said for loving what you are doing while you conduct your business. They sampled all the foods, drinks and assorted treats that were presented without any nudging from Walker. Actually the Xnipec was a huge hit but they were satiated before they made it to the end of the alphabet. There were no leftover artichokes, beets celery and most of eggplant was consumed.
Alyosha was especially enamored with the Xnipec, even going as far as wanting to serve it at the Russian deli he owned.
Walker was convinced that order mattered and contributed to success in a way he could not explain. This idea of order nagged at him as his phone was not exactly ringing off the hook.
It was then and there he decided to rename his business and the new name came quite easily. He changed the name of his business to Aardvark Consulting hoping order could be restored. He thought it had a certain verve, a certain coolness which he wanted to project. Also whatever business list he would become part of , his business would be first.
And magically, activity did pick up. He get calls from John Irving fans looking to improve their writing skills to prospective customers wanting ants removed from their basements. They usually apologized for mixing up aardvarks and anteaters. He also had to explain that anteaters were not all that efficient at eating ants. And no matter how obscure he tried to drum up some business. He was a consultant and that is what a consultant does. They helped people. He was courteous, he listened well and pointed them in the right direction. He did not strike it rich, but he did okay just having a name that wasn’t last.
You know who ended up doing really well? Alyosha’s restaurant became a happening place to be. The Xnipec dish was a bit of a local cult classic, especially with the reenactment crowd, with roasted artichokes on the side. And they served Zima.