A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of a dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leans out the window and asks the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?”
The shepherd looks at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looks at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answers, “Sure. Why not?”
The yuppie parks his car, whips out his Dell notebook computer, connects it to his 4G mobile phone, surfs to a NASA page on the internet, where he calls up a GPS satellite navigation system to get an exact fix on his location which he then feeds to another NASA satellite that scans the area in an ultra-high-resolution photo. The young man then opens the digital photo in Adobe Photoshop and exports it to an image processing facility in Hamburg, Germany. Within seconds, he receives an email on his Palm Pilot that the image has been processed and the data stored.
He then accesses a MS-SQL database through an ODBC connected Excel spreadsheet with hundreds of complex formulas. He uploads all of this data via an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, receives a response. Finally, he prints out a full-color, 150-page report on his hi-tech, miniaturised HP LaserJet printer and finally turns to the shepherd and says, “You have exactly 1586 sheep.”
“That’s right. Well, I guess you can take one of my sheep” says the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and looks on amused as the young man stuffs it into the boot of his car.
Then the shepherd says to the young man, “Hey, if I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my animal?” The young man thinks about it for a second and then says, “Okay, why not?”
“You’re a consultant” says the shepherd. “Wow! That’s correct,” says the yuppie, “but how did you guess that?”
“No guessing required” answered the shepherd. “You showed up here even though nobody called you; you want to get paid for an answer I already knew to a question I never asked; and you don’t know anything about my business.”
“Now give me back my dog.”