East and West wage productivity war as the party goes on forever

Do you remember a time when sleep was ‘necessary’ and ‘good for you’? You also can’t remember a world without always-on smart phones!

Last night, PerkBon, the blockbuster ‘no-sleep’ drug, celebrated its tenth birthday at a spectacular press event hosted by Millennium Pharmaceuticals around the Statue of Liberty.

Amongst the back-slapping executives and investors were a plethora of posters spreading the now-familiar advertising slogans:

Liberate yourself from sleep! Be PerkBon alert! Sleep, I just don’t need it. I can work whenever I want to and stop only when I choose to. I can party till I choose to drop! Double your output and your earnings with PerkBon. A PerkBon employee never rests!

While PerkBon has been a massive commercial success and a massive productivity boost, the personal and social implications are what have been making headlines in the past years.

Consumer demand has been relentless even in the face of increasing protests against Millennium’s new strategy to follow PerkBon with even more contentious mood-enhancers and performance-altering products.

We understand the party isn’t over yet – and no-one will admit to being tired.

ANALYSIS >> SYNTHESIS: How this scenario came to be

2006: Breakthroughs focus on sleep-deprivation
Neurobiologists at Wake Forest University and Cortex Pharmaceuticals expand on their 2005 discovery that a chemical called CX717 has unique properties when applied to sleep-deprivation.
Their new experiments extend research from animal into human applications. After keeping subjects awake from 30 to 50 hours through the application of music, treats and other stimuli, they discovered that, after the application of the chemical drug, the subjects’ mental capability returned to that of their normal resting state.
CX717 is also said to increase the performance of subjects at normal levels of activity by 15% to 30%.

2007: Millennium establishes Russian subsidiary to launch PerkBon
Millennium Pharmaceutical acquires all rights to the chemical compound CX717 from Cortex Pharmaceuticals and hires the team of academics who developed it. They state that they will launch a commercial product internationally within six months.

Millennium Pharmaceutical’s additional acquisition of two fringe R&D outfits in Korea and Brazil would have been enough to shut down their business in the US, but by distancing themselves from direct links through a new Russian business, they have been able to exploit Russia’s new national strategy to create a bold new bio-pharmaceutical industry.

PerkBon is launched in November 2007 in St. Petersburg.

2009: PerkBon applications stray from original intent
Originally intended to help military personnel, health professionals, shift workers and others who must function at top performance in spite of sleep deficits, the new drugs are now becoming popular to enhance work contribution and as social amplifiers.
Millennium’s Russian arm has set up a web site selling PerkBon to customers world-wide.
Some of the rather unusual applications have included prostitutes in Amsterdam’s Red Light district and New York advertising executives. An executive who did not want to be identified commented: “Deadlines are no longer that scary. A big dose of PerkBon and we can work to deliver against all odds. It’s the biggest competitive weapon we have ever had!”
European and US workers see this as a major competitive weapon against increased outsourcing to the East. Unions urge governments to let their members use PerkBon to enhance productivity.

2012: PerkBon becomes the new Viagra
Sales of PerkBon have outstripped all industry expectations. It becomes the consumer drug of choice in the USA and Europe as users delight in its effects on their personal performance.
US government’s attempts to outlaw the drug are met with massive voter backlash. Business and communities see PerkBon as a possible salvation to the country’s global competitiveness.
Industry sources announce that India and China are set to become the biggest PerkBon markets by 2013 – potentially leveling the productivity playing field once more.
A US senator suggests that, as PerkBon is eventually owned by a US conglomerate, that its distribution should be restricted to “friendly nations” and that doing so is in “US national strategic interest”.

Warning: Hazardous thinking at work

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