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Crisis on Asimov:
Analysis & Commentary by Dr. Sheila Ronis

page 3 of 3 | previous

"The Chairman of the SSEC, today, is Boris Chin. He wants the exemptions to go to CIMMCO (the China Motors and Manufacturing Company); not IBM, and, I believe he knows about the bribe of his predecessor, the late, Martin Garcia. Even though he knows the best technology for this project in the entire system now belongs to IBM, we have reason to believe he plans to use the bribery situation against us to help CIMMCO, as you Americans would say, 'kill two birds with one stone.' CIMMCO does not have the necessary technology. Why they want to punish us for the sins of a prior generation is beyond me, except for the politics, of course…and the profits."

"The SSEC is meeting on this issue, tomorrow, on Asimov. I am so sorry to interrupt your family's vacation, but, you are already there, and we need your help. We need to keep this out of the press, and we need you to talk to Chin and talk him out of this action before too much damage is done. Chin is an honorable man which is why I am puzzled. I think his actions may be out of fear of some of the Chinese organized crime figures, who hold stock in CIMMCO. They may have tried to persuade him to go with CIMMCO, to increase the value of their holdings. Perhaps, if we can find a way for him to do the right thing, and save face with his peers? I'm counting on you. If I come to Asimov, it will draw too much attention to this situation. Please call me in the morning on private holo and we can plan our strategy. Thank you, Chadwick-san."

Benson was stunned. How could he possibly convince Chin? He was so tired from the full day, he knew he'd better get some sleep. He would break the bad news tomorrow morning to Yoshiko and the kids. And, then, he would call Kunisada.

After breakfast, Yoshiko took the children to visit Mickey. "Good luck, Sweetheart. We're all counting on you," she said, as they waved good-bye.

Now, he was alone. It was time to call Kunisada.

"Kunisada-san. I received your message last night. Do you have any ideas or a plan?" Benson asked.

"Not really, Chadwick-san. Only what I suggested in my holo. What about you?" Kunisada answered.

"Well, sir, I think I may have the answer. But, only because it is CIMMCO who is our major competition. If we were up against Toyota or the Ford Sony Boeing Group, we wouldn't have a prayer."

Benson continued.

"You know our technology is far superior to CIMMCO's. We could make a major issue of this if they choose CIMMCO, especially since it is our safety and environmental technology that are the best in the world. Toyota and Ford have better technology in other areas, but when people are on vacations, they are concerned about safety and the environment -- the strengths of IBM. CIMMCO is still catching up in all these areas. I promise you, Kunisada-san. We have a chance."

"Good luck, my friend. Let me know how things are going. Sayanara, Chadwick-san."

Benson asked the resort's computer how to reach and leave a message for Mr. Chin, Chairman of the SSEC. It said,

"Chairman Chin. I am Benson Chadwick. I have been asked by Yukio Kunisada, Chairman of IBM to speak with you about a matter that is most urgent. Please contact me, here, at the resort. Thank you for your kind consideration in this matter."

Within an hour, Benson received a response. Chin would see him in one hour.

The two met in Chin's suite.

"Mr. Chin, I am so pleased that you would take the time to meet with me," Benson said, as he walked into the suite, and shook Chin's hand.

"I am delighted, Mr. Chadwick. To what do I owe this honor?"

"I will not mince words," said Benson. "IBM, as you know, would like to receive both the exemption, and the contract to produce a generation of PTVs which can be driven on Asimov's surface. We believe we have the best technology available, and we are prepared to do whatever is necessary to convince whomever we need to that we should receive this contract."

"We are also familiar with the political pressure on you to award CIMMCO this contract by using the situation of our former Chairman's wrongdoing, though that is ancient history, and no one alive today, was even involved. Please understand, sir, that if CIMMCO were to be awarded this contract, IBM will have to call for a formal investigation of the SSEC, and I believe this could negatively reflect on you and your honorable Council. Perhaps, those putting pressure on you would understand how much damage this could cause them, as well? IBM wants to see the right thing done, and you are an honorable man. Is there anything we can do to help?"

Benson was trying to minimize the effect of the Sands issue. He needed to make Chin aware that giving CIMMCO the contract would not be viewed favorably by anyone in the system. They just did not have the appropriate technology.

Chin was surprised at how much Benson knew. He was not aware that IBM knew he knew about the Sands situation, and he was shocked that they knew about the syndicate. He was totally unprepared, though he was relieved. Now, he could do the right thing for safety and the environment without causing any negative consequences. He also had what he needed to convince the syndicate that they would be in trouble if CIMMCO got the contract.

"Why, Mr. Chadwick. What makes you think there is a problem with the SSEC awarding the contract to IBM? We intend to give IBM the award today. I am so pleased you will be here to tell your chairman of our findings. Please come to our meeting. It is at 1400 this afternoon, here at the resort. Will you join me and some of the other Council members for some lunch?"

Benson smiled. His approach worked. Chin was an honorable man. The Council would give IBM the exemptions and contract they needed with no problems, and Chin would let the Chinese syndicate know the damage he was able to avoid on their behalf. It was truly the win-win situation Benson and Chin had hoped for.

After the meeting, Benson sent his holomessage.

"Kunisada-san. IBM has received the exemptions and contracts to prepare drivable PTVs on Asimov. All problems were averted.

"How did you persuade him, Chadwick-san?" Kunisada asked.

"Chin is an honorable gentleman." Benson explained. "I have learned in my studies of many cultures and organizations that the secret of diplomacy is making everyone satisfied with the final agreements.

"More than 2600 years ago, a Chinese philosopher Sun Tzu, wrote in a book called, The Art of War, 'If you know the enemy and you know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy for every victory gained, you will suffer a defeat. But, if you know neither yourself, nor your enemy, you will succumb in every battle.'

"I knew about all the parties involved. And, I knew us. Perhaps, today, we should call Sun Tzu's philosophies, the art of peace."

"Chadwick-san," said Kunisada. You have a wonderful vacation with your family. I want you to know that this situation could have been catastrophic to the company. Your courage and knowledge will not go unrewarded. When you return to work, you will find you have been promoted to Vice President. On behalf of the company, I congratulate you."

Benson knew it would be a great holiday!

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