Not all heroes wear capes, but some do.
NetSuite’s Superheroes of Finance(opens in new tab) celebrates both the cape-less and the caped crusaders who battle not only the forces of evil but also the everyday challenges that growing businesses face. This series is an homage to the near-heroic work that members of the finance team perform every day, bringing various business functions together to understand the past AND see into the future, readying the business to pounce on new opportunities for growth.
Captain Finance’s origin story(opens in new tab) began the series. It continues with The Silo.
Milo Slothbook was in charge of the mailroom at his father’s company for as long as anyone could remember. What they didn’t know, and what confidants close to his father stopped puzzling about long ago was that, as a child, Milo was a savant who quickly mastered anything he put his mind to.
He grasped string theory while playing Cat’s Cradle with his nanny and Mozart’s String Quartet in G Major while playing his toy Ukulele. Writing code came naturally to him. And he built complex robotics by repurposing parts from the family’s vacuum cleaner.
Yet, what Milo enjoyed most was sitting by himself, sorting his toys into different boxes. At school, during group projects, he would sit alone at his desk, separating the play-dough colors back into their respective canisters.
So, while it was odd that the son of a brilliant mind like Brady Slothbook, architect of some of the most advanced ICBM underground and shipboard silos in the world, would work in the mailroom, the job suited Milo just fine.
He enjoyed the power he gained by controlling the flow of information with the mail, interoffice memos and company-wide announcements. No one in any department could know what was happening in another without Milo’s knowledge and approval.
When the company adopted email, Milo recognized the threat quickly. He devised a scheme that overwhelmed the email system with lame jokes, fictitious Nigerian prince messages to scam employees out of their paychecks and constant requests for political donations. People quickly abandoned email and once again placed their faith in Milo and the mailroom. To celebrate, Milo ordered a decade’s worth of yellow interoffice memo envelopes, upgrading them with imported silk ties in beautifully dyed hues--a specific color dedicated to each department.
When the finance department, a frequent target of Milo’s quest for control, began using spreadsheets to share budgets, forecasts and other financial figures, Milo’s instincts took over again. Using his knowledge of string theory, he programmed a hidden code into the recesses of a popular spreadsheet program, banishing anyone who became moderately proficient with the tool to another dimension. The world lost some of its best financial minds that way.
When the company adopted enterprise Wiki software in the 1990s, he did nothing. He didn’t see it as a viable collaboration tool.
But when the company decided to implement a digital general ledger, he understood immediately that his grip on power was truly at risk. If everyone in the company could access the business’s financial data from the cloud, it wouldn’t be long before they could access supply chain, manufacturing, sales and marketing data and more. There would be no need for Milo from the mailroom, hand delivering print outs and transporting the actual ledger on the mailroom cart.
As the finance team gathered specs and issued RFPs for the digital ledger, Milo became increasingly desperate. He worked furiously to build a robotic sorting and delivery device for the mailroom, thinking that faster sorting and delivery would convince everyone they could still rely on him. Inspired by Wile E. Coyote, the device included a specialized visor that allowed him to control the arms of the sorter with movements of his eye as he skated through the halls on rollerblades. Milo synchronized the robotic sorter with the company directory and seating plan through more custom code wizardry. For kicks, he built a direct software interface with the corporate Wiki.
But when he attached the four-armed sorter to his back during a trial run, a freak nuclear plant power surge, caused by lone rogue rural utility employee attempting to tie into the grid, overloaded the sorter’s charging system, fusing the sorter to his spine and the visor to one side of his face. Streetlights throughout the region spontaneously exploded.
He spent the next two years hospitalized and in excruciating pain. He was driven mad by the constant updates to something called an enterprise social network. An enterprising intern had replaced the corporate Wiki after failing out of college. It now sent regular messages to his brain about things like the company picnic, the quilter’s club and where the softball team would go for beers after the next game.
And worst of all, none of the ingrates at his father’s company ever came to see him or even sent cards, even when his father died. Milo learned that they had even repurposed the mailroom, which now housed three side-by-side 80-inch displays of company performance data. Some of the silos became landfills for unused mail carts and interoffice memos envelopes.
Milo finally left the hospital with the mechanized sorter still fused to his back, but he found he could still control the arms using the visor and access the internal information of any company using his malicious code.
Enraged, Milo vowed that from now on he would dedicate himself to controlling and keeping all data at growing companies separated by department as THE SILO.