Stoke City (No, not a football post, come back)

In recent years, IIM-A has been churning out entrepreneurs after entrepreneurs, brave enough to make it on their own in the big, bad world and therefore snubbing all those companies which came for placements.

This trend reached a peak last year, probably due to recession 2009 being the Chinese Year of the Ox, a noble animal known for its many feats of bravery.

But a bunch of us, including FreeWilly, Lord Sabnis, Kuttappan et al found out that no, we just weren’t gutsy enough to take this deep plunge into waters unknown and would be much safer in healthy, corporate jobs (Which make us fat. Sob.)

And thus, we continued our peaceful existence within the confines of our respective jobs, nestled within the cocoon of multi-national corporations.

Until one day.

It was in the washroom of my office that it happened. I was staring at the mirror with the tap open and Abdul Khadar, a fellow mallu colleague, was yapping away rather agitatedly on the phone to his stockbroker, in the far corner. And all of a sudden, everything clicked into place.

I yelled, “Eurekaaaa!”

“Screw you. Your Ikka”, spat Khadar as he exited the restroom.

Excited, I ran out and immediately got hold of FreeWilly, Lord Sabnis, Kuttappan et al (on the Internet) and breathlessly told them,

“I’ve got the perfect idea! The perfect entre idea!”

“What? What?”, they all muttered (typed) with much curiosity.

“Pant…Pant..”

“Tried it. Doesn’t work”, Lord Sabnis dismissively turned his Gtalk button from green to red, “I had tried selling custom-made jeans in Borivali. Low-margin business. Quite useless.”

“I was panting, for God’s sake.. That’s not the b-idea. It is something that has not been done in a long time. Something which was quite common in ancient India, but not in recent days. Something absolutely novel, yet completely in synch with the current market trends.”

“Out with it, you bugger”, Kuttappan typed, “Is it rabbit-farming? Is it? Is it? Tell me it is.”

“No. I call it Stalk-broking.”

“Typo – you meant Stockbroking..”, FreeWilly banged away on his keyboard, “And why in the blue hell do you think that’s new?”

“It wasn’t a typo. Stalk-broking. Stalk. As in Stoke City, the football club.”

“Dude, ‘stalk’ and ‘stoke’ are pronounced differently.”

“Dude, I’m a Mallu.”

********

The days that followed saw a bout of frenzied activity from all parties involved in the above online conference, and we were all rather excited at the end of it. The basic fundamentals of the stalk-broking business had invigorated us all, and spread new hope in our monotonous existences.

Several online conferences later, we had chalked out the basic tenets of this business, unique in nature but all-encompassing in spirit. Here we go…

The Stalk-broker’s Manual

What is Stalk-Broking?

Stalk-broking is the unique and fruitful merger of stockbroking and stalking. It is the magnificent union of financial wizardry and romantic conquest. It is the profound merger of Giacomo Casanova and Rakesh Jhunjhunwala.

Right. In English now, please..

Stalk-broking is the noble art of stalking an individual through his/her online presence. The information obtained through the aforementioned stalking shall be used to broke alliances with interested clients. This shall lead to a happy and prosperous life for the Stalk and the Client. And also for the Stalker, who gets paid by the client.

Stalk?

The person being stalked by the stalker. Usually feminine.

Stalker?

Us. The Company. We do the stalking for the client. We plan to call ourselves Indian Stalk Brokers. ISB. Yes, it is a dig on the b-school.

Client?

Really? This is not the “Idiot’s Guide to English” you know..

Stalk-Market?

The virtual markets where stalks of all shapes and sizes can be found. We at ISB diligently scout such markets, and unearth facts about the stalk in question which can be used by the client to his/her advantage. Predominant stalk-markets are Facebook, Orkut and Twitter.

Now that the essential basics of Stalk-broking have been covered, we shall peruse some extremely relevant terms. The language of stalk-brokers.

Zensex – Social networking tools which are true indicators of all the stalks currently trading. The Zensex provides important hints on dealing with the ‘stalk’ in question.

– Zen – Some stalks which are not trading well should be met with a strict ‘Zen’ mentality. Wait and watch. These might bounce back. In the meantime, interaction with these ‘stalks’ should be limited, probably to the extent of a ‘Happy Birthday’. And only on the stalk’s birthday.

– Sex – These are the ‘stalks’ on the other end of the scale. Trading heavily, and ripe for some action. Analysts are crying out ‘Buy!’ All sorts of activities can be done with these stalks, starting with ‘poking’ them in Facebook.

Trust Friends – These are Facebook/Orkut users whom clients can add to their portfolio in order to gain access to prime stalks. They are almost always trusted blindly by the stalk in question and are often gay. When the stalk sees the client listed as a mutual friend of the trust friend, she/he spreads a little of the trust to the client as well.

Mergers & Acquisitions – The ultimate aim of a stalk-broking operation. A Merger would be the resultant of a successful stalk-broking exercise with a stalk of similar credit-rating as the client. While an acquisition would be the takeover of a stalk with a lower credit-rating by the client. Acquisitions are often desperate attempts by clients to gain access to stalks.

Credit-Rating – This of course, varies from A, B, C, D, DD etc. For female stalks, DD represents a higher credit-rating than D and so on. For male stalks, it is the exact opposite. DD is the worst. A client has to be really desperate to perform a DD-male acquisition. Has happened in the past though. DD-male readers, don’t worry.

Hostel Takeover – A planned, large-scale operation to gain access to prime stalks, residing in Private Hostels. Involves carefully done schedules, bribery of stalkwatchmen and scaling of Chinese walls. The result of this shall most often be mass screaming by the stalks, but there is always a very small chance of acceptance. Recommended for veteran traders who are mostly shameless.

Hostel Teqover – The above, when performed after 7 shots of Tequila.

Chinese Wall – The thin wall separating stalks operating in the public domain and those operating in the private. Public stalks are also termed Professional Stalks or ProStis. There is an implicit understanding that private stalkers such as ourselves would never recommend a public stalk for the client.

Bonds – A type of stalk to which the client shall be indebted to as long as the bonding continues. Bonds have a fixed tenure, after which the client must forfeit all rights to the bond. Bonds are often male, and female clients are well-advised not to have a long-term view in mind while establishing relations with a Bond. An extremely famous Bond goes by the name James and carries a gun. Be careful.

Initial Public Offering – A recent phenomenon which has become common after the advent of Facebook. An IPO happens when a particular stalk decides to dip his/her feet in the market and form a merger with an interested client. This is often signified by the stalk changing his/her Facebook status to ‘Single’ from ‘In a relationship’ or a blank state. An IPO results in heavy scrapping on the stalk’s wall by clients desperately seeking an alliance, and the number of scraps determine whether the IPO is oversubscribed or undersubscribed (Undersubscription leads to much shame for the stalk). We promise our clients hourly updates on available IPOs in the market.

Arbitrage – A devious practice carried out by certain stalk-brokers. This involves stalking person A for person B, and simultaneously stalking person B for person A. The stalk-broker takes advantage of the information asymmetry between the two parties involved and stalks them for each other, getting broking fees from both parties. We at ISB would never even contemplate doing this. If your stalk ever approaches us to stalk you, you shall be the first to know.

Beta – A measure of the variability of return of a stalk compared to that of the whole stalk-market. A high beta signifies an alpha girl or an alpha man. Beta is not to be pronounced like the Anil Kapoor movie.

Twitter – A stalk-market exclusively for female clients and homosexuals. Because there are hardly any girls in there. Female clients looking for brevity as a necessary quality in men would particularly be interested in this market. They all speak in 140 characters or less.

Long Position – A physical position taken up by the stalker representing a client, when the stalker has extremely high hopes on the stalk’s performance. Experienced stalkers such as ourselves are very careful not to let the long position affect our concentration while stalking the stalk.

Short Position – Stalkers do not have much hope on the stalk outperforming the market. Therefore, we remain ‘meh’ as we perform the necessary stalking to unite the stalk and the client.

Leveraged Buyout* – A special and extremely attractive service offered by ISB to its clients. We understand that the client might not be very attractive to the stalk in which the client is interested in, especially if the stalk’s credit-rating is higher. In such cases, we build up the client’s portfolio as well, complete with professionally morphed pictures and carefully recommended status updates for the client. Thus, leveraged with our additional awesomeness, the client stands a better chance with the stalk.

Case Study – We have had a client Jignesh, whose usual Facebook updates had included “Jignesh is about to sleep”, “Jignesh is thinking how good MNIK was” and “Jignesh is wanting badly to have coffee with Genelia” before he hired us.

We recommended suitable status updates to him (Such as “What does not kill me makes me stronger – Nietzsche”) and subsequently the several stalks in his radar had all started commenting on those updates. One even went back to “Jignesh is thinking how good MNIK was” and commented “Awwww, so cute”. Jignesh is now happy.

* In the event of a Leveraged Buyout, we dissociate ourselves from any consequence that shall arise after the merger with the stalk is carried out.

“Stalker brought you to me, baby” – An often misinterpreted ancient expression which a client makes upon delivery of the stalk, by the stalker. This expression originated from the following anecdote.

The ancient Indian stalk-broker, Tenali Rama, had successfully delivered an 18-year old stalk to his client, the king Krishnadevaraya, upon which the king told the stalk, “Stalker brought you to me, baby”.

A visiting minister from Iran, confusing the stalk to be the middle-aged king’s daughter and ‘stalker’ to be ‘storks’, spread the story in his country that storks deliver babies to couples in India. Such ignorance.

Stalkastic Process – After years of study by experts, it has been determined that Indian stalk-markets are indeterministic and unpredictable. Therefore, our stalking operations represent a stalkastic process.

For instance, let us consider a medium such as Orkut. A stalker might work carefully, unearthing information about the stalk from his/her testimonials, scraps and photos and then send the same to client. The client, armed with the information, might still completely fail in his quest to conquer the stalk.

Say, we find out that the stalk is obsessed about men who can play the guitar. The client might casually post a video of himself strumming a classic guitar piece by Bach and yet fail to elicit a response from the stalk. At the same time, a casual “Hai. Wanna make frenz?” by a rival on the stalk’s wall might well work.

So to sum up, stalk-broking is a stalkastic process, quite unpredictable and just like mutual funds, is subject to substantial market risk.

But do hire us.

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8 responses to “Stoke City (No, not a football post, come back)

  1. Good one!

  2. ROTFL on extending the credit-rating concept to male stalks! 😀

  3. Coming up. Part 2. Guhahahahahahaha!

  4. So you’ve converted an average Indian (single) male’s hobby to a business idea. kewl 🙂

  5. Bakwaas! 😛

  6. Thanks everyone!

    @Varsha – Far from bakwaas – better ensure ur FB is private enough before ISB strikes..

    @Gingerjoos – Not just (single) brother, not just (single) 😛

  7. Whatay lovely blogpost! 🙂
    The terminologies are too good.

  8. Hey thanks man 🙂

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