Sorry Santa
November 25, 2021

Sorry Santa, it’s time for a Christmas reset – a story for our times

By Tony Boobier

Well, I did ask my guest bloggers for a bit of festive fun, so settle back and enjoy “Sorry Santa”. This Christmas story is brought to us by Tony Boobier.

By way of background, Tony is a mentor, consultant & author focusing on the future of AI & Analytics to transform organisations, especially insurance. He has shared with us before on topics as diverse as data literacy, Shakespearean leadership & presentations.

I’ve also previously reviewed two of Tony’s books on this topic. In “Advanced Analytics and AI” Tony reviewed the future of work across many sectors. In “AT and the future of Banking” he focussed on that sector & revealed some important trends. So, he has thought a lot about our AI shaped future. But for now, let’s just enjoy a Christmas story…

The Sorry Santa conversation in his latest meeting with HR

“Sorry Santa, I know that no-one likes to get news like this, but I’m afraid that you’ve been made redundant.” It was a tough message for any person to receive, especially one who had been in the job for so long. “It’s like this, I’m afraid that you’ve been replaced by technology.”

There wasn’t much for Santa to say. “Oh”, he said.

He had seen the day coming for a while. Visits to the grotto had increasingly been replaced with Zoom calls. 

What’s been happening to Santa’s sector?

Kids had stopped writing to him, and clever algorithms had started to predict what most the most appropriate present for any individual child. Automatic decision engines not only considered their age and digital preferences but also what was being most actively marketed on TV and other media. It was a sort of seasonal ‘gift management’ approach so that every child would be delighted with whatever they received.

Then it was robotically labelled and wrapped in the warehouse and then delivered by one of the courier companies that were even busier than usual at this time of year. No need for elves either, it seemed. Their numbers had reduced over the years through natural wastage or they had decided to pursue new careers elsewhere mainly in the high-end footwear sector.

The reindeers had also been replaced with an autonomous sledge system which was called ‘Antler Intelligence’ and was undoubtedly very clever. This new approach to Christmas had certainly solved some challenges. The traditional run on buying mince pies had become almost as bad as that of panic buying toilet paper, and in fairness it was time for a change.

Hakuna matata Santa looks on the bright side

“You don’t seem too concerned”, said the person from HR, who seemed perturbed.

“No.”

“No?”

“It’s like this” Santa offered to explain. And then he did. “It’s not about the presents, or carrots or mince pies, or stockings – or even about me,” he said. “It’s about the spirit of Christmas, and that’s all about thinking about other people. And after all”  he continued, “I was never happy with that red jacket and hat. It was more of a corporate advertising sort of thing. You know, those guys in Atlanta were very generous with their sponsorship. And that Rudolf red nose thing was just a song written 70 years ago to support a Hollywood movie. By the way, did you know that ‘White Christmas’ was written a long time ago for some guy called Harry, but everyone called him Bing?”

“Oh” said HR. 

“Not to worry,” said Santa. “I’m sure I’ll be back. I didn’t mind the jabs but those PCR tests before I travelled last year were a real nuisance. And all that paperwork! But it’ll all be back to normal one of these days and, until then, I’m happy just to be taking a bit of time out.”

Santa’s third age

“But don’t worry, I’m always here for when you need me. You’ll find that my consultancy rates are very competitive.” 

He walked towards the door, humming a Christmas carol to himself. “Dum-di-dum-di”, the tune went.

Then he stopped and turned back. “Maybe it’s time for a bit of a Christmas Reset?”

“Perhaps I should get my green Santa suit out of the wardrobe, like I always used to wear. I look better in green, don’t you think? And only handwritten letters considered, none of that email stuff. We can even get the old ‘team’ out of retirement, Rudolph isn’t as quick as he used to be but he still knows the way.”

“And that sherry and mince pie stuff? Well maybe there it’s time for a change. You know you can make carrot wine nowadays, and now that sounds a much better option.” 

Ho ho ho

Thanks for that story, Tony & I hope you enjoyed that but of Christmas fun. Have a great time preparing for the festive season. Plus, I’ll soon return to business with a useful book review on another book to help data & analytics leaders.

Until then, enjoy looking on the bright side of life like Santa. More opportunities await, ho ho ho.