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Pen-ultimate: CRUSTY on aliens, humans, and exoskeletons how to punch above your weight without really trying.

Mrs CRUSTY and I watched a film the other day. (No! Really, we did--we are still THAT friendly.) It was the sequel to Independence Day (but please--no Scottish Referendum jokes). In the film, the aliens were portrayed as weird giant Gremlin-looking things with tentacles squirming out of their backs. (As tentacles tend to do!) But that was just an organic mechanism for the real creature inside, which was much smaller.

Aficionados of sci-fi, such as me and Mrs C, will recall that we have already had similar 'Russian Doll' type aliens before. The tiny creature within the dog in Men in Black springs to mind. However, the long-running Doctor Who series by the UK's BBC, features a similar alien construct. Within the mechanical Dalek aliens, sits a much smaller, much uglier, and less-threatening alien at the controls of its mechanical exoskeleton. Star Wars and Avatar, are amongst the many movies to feature exoskeleton contraptions housing humans. (I understand the armies of this world are experimenting with exoskeletons to add to their infantry cannon-fodder so they fare better in combat.)

The driving-force behind all these aliens, and the human-driven contraptions, is simple. It allows the occupant to 'punch above their own weight'. We all do it from time to time, some of us more than others. Setting aside any chips on any shoulders, or side-stepping cultural, ethical, religious or physical abilities/disabilities, there is sense in not remaining at a specific level. The Human Condition dictates that as a species, we will advance. (Although watching CNN or BBC News these days--I do wonder!) An exoskeleton is just one of those tools to allow advancement to happen faster than otherwise might be.

Take Rupert Murdoch as an example. There is hardly a business quarter goes by without one or more announcements that the media mogul is looking to take over another competitor. Often blocked by legislation, lest there is a monopoly, organic growth is not enough for RM. For him, acquisition is the speediest route to a larger and/or more diverse market. The original RM company is probably so small it is almost insignificant, or perhaps it is an umbrella or holding company for the entire empire. As we know from our history books, Empires have a habit of Striking Back!

I suppose looking back at my life, and when working part time at college and university, I punched above my weight. Back in those days, I could waffle my way into a much better job than I was qualified to do, but only because I had performed my research and built my own 'exoskeleton of knowledge'. Today, the equivalent proprietors of the corner-shop businesses I used to work for, are more wary, and much more street-savvy. Within companies, it is the HR 'expert' or HR Department, that will rip apart your background and interrogate you under the hot lights in the basement, until they find out why there was a six-month gap back in the 1980's. (They are looking for prison stretches, psych-ward stays, rehab, and any other unsavoury goings-on. It may be easier to fess-up and just tell them the truth, that you were holed-up on a Greek Island that summer, with your best friend's mother. (Purely as an example you understand!)

When running your own company, you will want to build it ASAP. Branch out. Expand The Empire. You will take on more than you can cope with for sure. That is the entrepreneurial nature of things. Building your company's own exoskeleton will ALLOW you to punch above your weight. If you feel the part, look the part, and walk and talk the part - you will become 'the part', and be accepted as a company of reputation. Shabby-chic may be OK on a modern-day beach, but potential corporate partners will want to see you and your organisation as a suited, booted, clean, smart, efficient organisation. The way you dress is STILL an important factor. They (the corporates,) will most likely not do business with a ramshackle, untidy company, with cheap and inefficient written all over it. Neither will they do business with you if you look cheap and ramshackle and inefficient. (If you are not a 'morning' person, make the appointment for the afternoon. Simple!)

Once you have decided to build your exoskeleton, you should decide which type you want. Theoretically there is an infinite mix of styles, but think of it as the following 3, with your own variations to suit. (Pun intended!)

The 'Cardboard' Exoskeleton

Pros: Low cost, fast development, easily discarded/altered, adaptable, not a burden, can be coloured-in on quiet days. Cons: Looks cheap, will not carry any great weight, is not fire-proof. Closest analogies: The 'wobbly' set in a cheap film or TV series, early Daleks, Fireball XL5.

The 'Plastic & Metal' Exoskeleton

Pros: Medium cost, looks much better than cardboard, fast to develop, easily discarded, easily altered, adaptable, medium weight of burden.

Cons: Costs more than cardboard, carries only medium weight, most of the components melt under heat, not rust-proof, cannot be coloured-in on quiet days.

Closest analogies: 1990's Daleks, Men in Black monsters. The 'Platinum' Exoskeleton

Pros: Virtually bomb-proof, looks the part, modular construction, can carry a massive weight, corporate-friendly, easily dis-assembled or right-sized, can be coloured in using spray paint, (a.k.a. 'vandalism'.)

Cons: Expensive (start small - grow from there), noticable difference if suddenly removed, costly to maintain over time, not infallible. Closest analogies: AMP (Amplified Mobility Platform) in Avatar, latest versions of Doctor Who Daleks, Star Wars AT-PT, (The real one, not the LegoTM one), military wearable tech.

How will yours look?

CRUSTY crusty@idmionline.com

Caption: You don't need to be from Skaros to build your own Exoskeleton. You just need to want to grow! [c]BBC
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Publication:IDMi (Information & Document Management International)
Date:Jul 27, 2017
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