Meet your team

We love making stuff you love to use.

Peter Presnell


IBM Champion, former director of the Atlanta User Group for IBM Collaboration, and architect of the .Domino framework on OpenNTF, Peter is a globally recognized lecturer, trainer and thought-leader within the IBM Notes community. As Red Pill Now’s CEO, Peter leads our market strategy and program management practice.

Peter Presnell

The Volcano King

The island of Tasmano’s first IBM Champion, The Volcano King has managed many the whizzes of many whizzlebies. At the ripe young age of 24, Peter oversaw the first farloon hatching, leading his kingdom to global recognition of it’s cavernous depths, and it’s proliferation of glozadils. As the elder spokesman for the volcano folk, Peter led them from fire and clay, to prosperity at breakneck speed.

Peter's Bio in the Style of Dr. Seuss
Peter Presnell’s Totally Fabricated Bio
In the style of Dr. Suess

In the uppermost up
Of the Island Tasmano
At the toppermost top
Of a fiery volcano
Where the luffernip luffs
And the whizzleby whizzes
And the hot spring of Zippula
Bubbles and fizzes
There, at the crest
Of the peakiest peaking
A boy-child was born
(In a manner of speaking.)
Not so much born,
The volcano folk say,
But more like assembled
From fire and clay
And the gribbly-soft down
Of a just-hatched farloon
And the wumpulous warbles
Of the bardabassoon.
Mixed well and salted
And brewed for a week
In the cavernous depths
Of a glozadil’s beak.

Presnell was his surname;
His first name was Peter,
And no volcano-born person
Ever was neater.
In the shade of the zoofletree
He grew strong as a melfoose
Snacking on zooflenuts
And drinking their juice.
His head filled with brains,
And his shoes filled with feet,
He explored and inquired
And became a smart Pete.

Tasmano was home,
And I’m sure you’ll believe it
When I tell you that Peter
Had no wish to leave it.
But a certain day came
With a certain feel to it
When a certain young Peter
Must certainly do it.
He’d explored to the limits,
He’d grown all he could grow
And without leaving the island,
He’d learned all he could know.

So around the caldera
The volcano folk gathered
(The aforementioned creatures,
And also the Zather,
The Mellifluous Melfoose,
The Venomous Vlex,
And of course both the Conformist
And the Contrary Crecks.)
They gathered in wonder,
They gathered with pride,
To see Peter off
And bid him goodbye.
The glozadil, in whose beak
Pete had gestated,
Was understandably fearful
That his boat might be raided,
Or tossed by a sea storm,
Or his feathered cape lost,
Or he might be captured by pirates
And served warm with a sauce.
But the other volcano folk
Soothed her with songs
That had been sung in those parts
All eternity-long.

Peter spoke a few words
And cried a few tears
And promised he’d come back
In a number of years
To tell the volcano folk
All the things he had seen,
Heard, smelled, and discovered
In the places he’d been.
So with his head filled with brains,
And his shoes filled with feet,
He waved fare-thee-well
And climbed into the seat
Of his seafaring vessel
Made of bamboo and hide
With a belching volcano
Tattooed on its side.
He unmoored his boat
And it drifted to sea
And Pete watched as the island
Shrank, small as a pea.

Peter’s seafaring vessel
Sailed far and wide
To unlikely countries
With Peter inside.
Each land where he landed
He encountered new wonders
Like the Bog of Burnandit
And the Spiralous Splunderz.
He traveled the globe
And made his own way
Keeping adrift till he came
To the land of El-Lay.
There was something about it
That Pete found intriguing
So he decided to stay
Until he found it fatiguing.
A strange place it was,
With odd-speaking folks
Who wore shoes called “sneakers”
And featherless cloaks.
Many El-Layans
Were fond of commuting
Back and forth to the hallowed
Halls of Computing.
It was in these great halls
That the El-Layans made codes
That made paper that paid
For their luxury abodes
And their featherless cloaks
And their shiny white shoes
And their meals that did not
Include zooflenut juice.

At first Peter thought it
An odd sort of system—
With so many protocols
No lister could list ‘em.
But when invited to try
His own hand at the coding
He took to it like
A vlex to its vloting.
He was fast as a flare,
And could type like the wind,
And when he’d finished
He wanted to do it again.
Pete pounded the keys
Til his fingers were sore,
Then he bandaged them gently
And pounded some more.
In no more than one year,
Six months and a day,
He became the best coder
That ever could say
He was made of farloon-down
And volcano fire
With a completely straight face
And not be a liar.

Many years passed
And Peter grew older
With the bright El-Lay sun
Shining down on his shoulders.
And one day it struck him
Amid strings of code
That he missed dear Tasman-o
And he really must go
Back to the island--
For a promise he owed,
and there’s no telling when
Volcanos might explode.

He stood up from the keyboard
And stretched all his limbs
And dusted the dust
Off his boat made of skins.
And wishing his friends
A fantastulous day,
He departed the sunny, strange
Land of El-Lay.
He sailed round the globe
Towards the home he was seeking—
He didn’t stop ’til he spied
The peakiest peaking
Of the toppermost top
Of the Island Tasman-o
And the uppermost up
Of its fiery volcano.

An ecstatic reunion
Took place at the shore
With the Zather, the Melfoose,
The Farloon, and more.
The glozadil wept tears of delight
And even the Vlexes were glad
To see Peter alight.
To this very day,
Peter Presnell remains
At the toppermost top
Of the Island Tasmane.
But though you look far,
And though you peer wide,
You won’t find the volcano
Where Peter resides.
More About Peter
  • Captained the Tasmanian track & field team at the Australian High School championships
  • Purchased his first personal computer (Apple 2C) for BP Australia to help forecast demand for petroleum products
  • Moved his family from Los Angeles to Atlanta for the opportunity to work alongside Lotus Legends Nathan T Freeman, Tim Tripcony, Keith Strickland, Chris Toohey, Paul Calhoun, Devin Olson, Chris Whisonant, and Brad Balassaitis at GBS
  • Sat on a plane alongside Bob and Sandy Kadrie, and Keith Strickland while the Brussels Airport bombing of 2015 unfolded
  • Gave up a career as a LotusScript (Notes) developer for the chance to be the conductor of an orchestra of highly talented people at Red Pill Now who have taught me more about myself than I have ever learned before

Nathan T. Freeman


Three-time IBM Champion, co-founder and director emeritus of OpenNTF, Nathan is well-known for his energetic and thought-provoking presentations, and his deep knowledge of Domino and Graph databases. Nathan is Red Pill Now’s chief software architect and leads our development team.

Nathan T. Freeman

Master Defiantist

Completely non-plussed by others’ expectations that he do absolutely nothing anyone else demands, the Master Defiantist is, unsurprisingly, also the founder and first practitioner of Defiantics—an art which seeks only to have its practitioners do precisely and exclusively as they wish. Even the longest and most egregiously run-on sentences written to describe his accomplishments render the Master Defiantist unflapped, largely because he has bigger fish to fry than grammar and semantics, and fry these bigger fish he most certainly and routinely does.

Nathan's Bio in the Style of Terry Pratchett
There are many names that the “T” In “Nathan T. Freeman” could stand for. A good, upstanding name like Terry would ring nicely. Thomas or Timothy would raise no eyebrows. However, Nathan T. Freeman is cursed with a perpetual shortage of fucks to give for the relative positions of people’s eyebrows. For a man like this, a more… unconventional middle name is required. If you wanted to go for something more unique, Tarachand or Tarlo would suit. But even such exotic names as these lack a certain contumaciousness. The man behind the name, you see, is a Master Defiantist. He is, in fact, the world’s foremost authority on anti-authoritarian magic. Therefore, it is only right that the “T” in question should stand for “The”. And so it does.

Nathan The Freeman began his illustrious career in the mystical arts of anti-authoritarianism early in life when, at the appointed hour, he obstinately refused to exit his mother’s womb. Labor had begun in earnest and all of the required paperwork had already been signed and notarized, and still, Nathan neglected to emerge. Days passed, along with a law or two regarding the need for a firm governmental response to the rising problem of prenatal dissidence. Nathan completely disregarded the mandates and continued to cling to the uterine walls in a contemptible display of disobedience. The delivery nurses threatened to strike and several powerful men in Washington were quite displeased. Finally, after he’d achieved notoriety as a dangerous anarchist-type and the president had declared him an Enemy of the State, Nathan leisurely made his way down the birth canal and, demonstrating incredible small-motor control for a newborn infant, proceeded to flip off everyone in the delivery room. Except for his mother, for whom he naturally felt a loving fondness.

From his origin story one can see clearly that Nathan was destined for greatness, though perhaps not the sort of greatness that gets people put in history books, and certainly not the sort that rulers hand out medals for. No, the greatness of Nathan The Freeman skipped the socially acceptable path of development entirely, forging its own course, thumbing its nose at the opinions of anyone who was not Nathan The Freeman. When, at the age of ten, he showed a promising capacity for magic, society urged him to try his hand at the art of soothsaying. After all, the priests and presidents of the world badly needed talented young diviners to assist them in their quests for domination, and the pay was quite lucrative indeed. Or, failing that, society suggested, he might look into bureaumancy. The job security couldn’t be beat. Society had rather a long list of ideas for how Nathan’s magical gifts ought to be applied. There was conjury and alchemics, bewitchery and curatives. But Nathan had no interest in any of these areas of expertise, and so he just made up his own. Thus he became the founder and first practitioner of defiantics.

Defiantics is an art in which the goal is to get the object of the magical experiment to behave as it wishes, rather than as society, physics or the defiantist wish it to behave. It is therefore a rather imprecise magic, and there is no way of predicting the results of a defiantist enchantment. While an ordinary magician might command an apple to change into a tortoise, the defiantist simply asks the apple what it wants to be. More often than not, the apple remains an apple, though it may be seen to expel a worm or to change its skin from red to green. But every once in awhile, the apple completely and unapologetically throws off the yoke of oppression and decides instead to be an intergalactic spaceship. This has caused some problems, as intergalactic spaceships are not supposed to exist, as such.

The prevailing opinion among experts is that defiantics is a useless and dangerous magic, and that such unruliness should not be tolerated in the magical arts. The academicians have succeeded in wiping the method out of the textbooks and barring entry for would-be defiantists to the most prestigious institutions of magical instruction. However, a few vocal iconoclasts claim that defiantics is far superior to the conventional schools. These rogue professors have been accused by the establishment of being themselves victims of defiantist spells and charms, to which the rogues have responded that even if it were so, it would only serve to prove their point.

Nathan himself remains silent on the controversy, saying that he is too busy being a badass to pay much attention to establishmentarian quibbles.
Nathan's Career Highlights
To come.

Keith Strickland


IBM Champion, prolific blogger, speaker and trainer, Keith is the creator of the Open NTF XBlog and XPages Calendar projects, He is a recognized expert on Dojo, XPages, SCM, Javascript, and Polymer Web Components. Keith is an avid woodworker, and leads Red Pill Now’s front-end development team.

Keith Strickland

Director of The Shadow Arm (but you didn’t hear that from us)

As is the case with most clandestine operatives, little can be shared publicly about the Director of The Shadow Arm or, in fact, the existence of The Shadow Arm at all. But just between us, what differentiates The Shadow Arm from all other counterterrorism units is, beyond its fully private-sector independence, its unique ability to eliminate terrorists without incidentally creating them. And what differentiates its Director from all other counterterrorism unit directors is his uncanny ability to access the most talented young programmers for his Network Infiltration Team using Red Pill Now as a front organization for his operations. They don’t refer to him in the counterterrorism world as the Down Lowest by happenstance.

Keith's Bio in the Style of Tom Clancy
Keith Strickland was always glad to get back to his wood shop after a long assignment. In his line of work, he never knew when he’d be called away or for how long, and the nature of his assignments took a toll on him. It was never easy knowing that the fate of civilization rested in his calloused hands. And the risk factor kept him hyper-alert at all times, each muscle in his body poised to react to a sudden threat, his mind constantly evaluating situations from every possible angle.

So when he was home, he made sure to take full advantage of the lull. Just as he carefully strategized his missions, he also had a practical strategy for respite. Eat three squares. Sleep a full eight hours. Spend quality time with the wife and kids. And build something in the shop. There was something incomparably soothing about being surrounded by the sweet, earthy smell of sawdust, feeling the smooth wood grain under his fingers. There were no problems in the wood shop. No geopolitical strife, no secret identities, no global threats. When he was there, it was as if the rest of the world just went away.

Officially, Strickland was the co-founder of Red Pill Now, a tech solutions firm servicing top tier corporate clientele. Unofficially, he served as director and senior field agent of the world’s only fully private sector counterterrorism unit, The Shadow Arm, for which RPN was a front. In that clandestine capacity, Strickland’s unique skill set found its real world application.

Ever since he was a child, he’d been something of an anomaly. At five years old, every boy wants to fight bad guys, as cop or cowboy or soldier. And five-year-old Kieth was no exception, but unlike the other boys, he really meant it. In school, he’d excelled equally well in academics and athletics, and had taken up a varied range of hobbies. From martial arts to financial investments, theater to chess, computer science to sharpshooting, no field was outside of his purview. By the time he graduated high school, he was fluent in fourteen languages, had completed advanced courses of study in psychology, physics, and political science, and was competent in seven styles of hand-to-hand combat.

While his friends went off to college, he devoted himself to gaining the knowledge and developing the skills that would enable him to pursue his calling. With profit from investments he’d made as a teenager, he traveled around the globe, studying under a series of mentors—masters in the fields of strategy, weaponry, wilderness survival. He spent six months in a Parisian acting school and employed an accent coach to perfect the art of identity switching. He flew planes in Chile and disabled bombs in Nigeria. In North Carolina, he trained with a retired NASCAR driver in a series of simulated high speed chases, then flew to Las Vegas to learn the art of illusion from one of the entertainment industry’s top magicians. When, at twenty-six, he felt he’d completed his self-led studies, he got to work on a plan to put them to use, and thus was The Shadow Arm conceived.

There were plenty of laymen out there—amateurs, fancying themselves spies—who conducted independent investigations of terror groups from the comfort of their own basements. The Shadow Arm was of a different caliber. Despite its lack of government funding or connections to the international intelligence community, it was a highly efficient mitigator of terrorist threats, with, Strickland knew, a success rate far superior to both the CIA and MI6. This was not accidental; due to its independent nature, The Shadow Arm was the only counterterrorism unit in the world that did not create terrorists, but only eliminated them.

With RPN as its front organization, Strickland had access to the brightest young programmers, and from this perennial crop of talent he recruited operatives for his elite Network Infiltration Team. The team was responsible for penetrating into the darkest corners of the Internet to pose as violent extremists and to ingratiate themselves with the truly radicalized. From there, it was simply a matter of asking the right questions. Motives, locations, leaders, schemes, and logistics—all could be learned by a patient agent with the appropriate subterfuge. There was a time to coil and a time to strike, and Strickland had personally trained each of his operatives to recognize the difference.

Once a threat had been fully researched and certified by Network Infiltration, it was passed along to Field Operations. This was where Strickland took a more active role, and to say that things could get dangerous would be a monumental understatement. Religious extremists strapped neck to navel with explosives, malicious hackers with fingers poised to access a country’s nuclear codes, ecoterrorists bent on decimating the human population with a vial of designer disease—Strickland had dealt with all of these and more. And miraculously, survived.

If The Shadow Arm was his contribution to the world, then the wood shop was his refuge from it. There, in the warm light of the work lamp and the steady, droning buzz of the table saw, Strickland felt a wonderful sense of peace knowing that with each bench he built—each table, each pallet-wood shelf—he was adding something useful to the world, instead of taking something useless out of it.
Keith's Career Highlights
  • Served 5 1/2 years in the United States Navy Submarine Service where Keith learned about – and purchased – his first computer
  • Discovered his love for writing code during his stint as Lead Admin for The Coca-Cola Company
  • Learned what a real team was during his first job as developer for Sprint
  • After years of asking to work with the IBM Notes "dream team," consisting of Tim Tripcony, Nathan Freeman, Chris Toohey, and Chris Whisonant, Keith was hired by Nathan Freeman at GBS. It was at GBS where Keith learned that nothing is impossible, and that people would pay him – not just for coding, but for his innovative thinking

Bob Kadrie

Partner, Creative and UX Director

During his career, Bob has garnered scores of design awards, and has served as advisor to senior business executives from AT&T, The Center for Civil and Human Rights, Emory University, General Motors, J.M. Huber, Rinnai Corporation and Worldspan, among others. Noted trainer and speaker, his LUG appearances have regularly ranked among the highest. Bob carefully guides Red Pill Now’s brand and serves as the firm's creative and UX director.

Bob Kadrie

Fish Mystic aka Salmon of Knowledge aka Flounder of Joy aka Lobster of Sorrow aka Narwhal of Triumph in Maritime Battle aka Bob

As all big fish tales are wont to start, most who have had the great fortune to encounter the Fish Mystic refer to him wistfully as “The One That Got Away.” For those who know him simply as Bob, his reputation most always precedes him, and invariably he leaves a wake when imparting his gifts on those who visit his oracle.

Bob's Bio in the Style of Tom Robbins
In a Cambodian riverboat, a fisherman sings a hopeful prayer to the goddess of the waters. Halfway around the world, the Pope, having just eaten his Lenten meal, digs slender sea bass bones from between his teeth with a gold plated toothpick. And in a small Georgia town, in a dark, windowless hut behind the Cinco De Mayo Mexican Cantina (dollar margaritas every Friday), Bob Kadrie, fish mystic, performs the arcane spell that calls the leatherback sea turtle to embark upon her annual transpacific jellyfish hunt.

The mystical has always been steeped in saltwater, bound up in seaweed, adorned with silvery scales. Once upon a time, the great fisherwomen of Hawaii could stand on the beach and cast their eyes out over the water to do their fishing for them. The old Hebrew water benders could part the seas or stroll atop them without even getting their sandals wet. The Dogon tribe of Mali credit their spiritual wisdom as well as their cosmological understanding to a race of spacefaring fish-people.

An Irish myth tells of a salmon who, upon being ingested by a king’s servant, gifted humanity with the knowledge of the universe. Bob Kadrie was that salmon. Of course, the salmon, being a special kind of immortal only the Irish could have devised, could be fried and eaten without dying. Can we say as much for Adam’s apple?

The fish mystic has appeared as man among men and as fish among fish, and has on occasion taken the half-man, half-fish form by which he is known in the folklore of various animist sects. His career did not stop at Salmon of Knowledge. He is also the Flounder of Joy, the Lobster of Sorrow, and the Narwhal of Triumph in Maritime Battle. He is the merman who seduced Leviathan, who raised her beluga babies and sent them off to dental school. He is the harbinger of the news of the flood who reminds you to pack a fresh pair of underwear before boarding the ark. But nowadays, most people just call him “Bob”.

Bob’s origins can be traced to the earth’s humble beginnings. He was not created—for whatever gods there once were fled our quaint ball of clay long before life took hold, holding up their robes on the way out so as not to muddy the pristine hems. Creation, he recalls, was more of a self-starter. He remembers when the world was new, its scant patches of dry land inhospitable to all but a few single celled organisms. He witnessed the great aquatic diaspora when ancient proto-sharks grew stubby legs and ventured out of the sea shallows onto the parched alien landscape beyond. He remembers the advent of men on the planet, their awkward, fleshy bodies made for the dirt but inexplicably comfortable in the water. He remembers the Great Deluge, when the whole world was covered over with water and for forty days and forty nights, fish was king of all.

It is said he can breathe underwater and speak the languages of the deep. Local legends claim that when he puts on his red trunks and hikes down to the swimming hole for a summer afternoon dip, schools of brook trout part down the middle for him, accepting him as one of their own.

Fishermen come to Bob’s hut to pay homage. For his blessing, they give offerings of ten dollars and a can of worms, and he murmurs a homily of unintelligible sounds like flourishing fins and bursting bubbles and the slow masonry that turns oyster puke into pearls. Afterwards, out on the river, the fish seem almost magnetized to their hooks.

When Bob goes out for dollar margaritas on Fridays, small children sneak around his bar stool, craning and tiptoeing for a chance to see if he has gills behind his ears. He doesn’t. The gills are not present in his human manifestation.

But if you creep around the edge of his hut on a warm summer night when the moon hangs large, reflecting a rippling yellow pufferfish on the surface of a parking lot mud puddle, you might hear Bob Kadrie utter the haiku that commands the ocean tides. If you venture closer, parting the undulating seafoam curtain at his doorway, you might catch a glimpse of shimmering scales or a whiff of fresh caught tuna. And if you gather the courage to enter the hut, you may find the fish mystic relaxing in a cool bath, his tail thrown luxuriously over the side of the whale bone tub. Look closely and you will see something of eternity etched in the scales around his glass bead eyes.
More about Bob
  • At age 11 – and with some irony – was the youngest member admitted to IBM (International Brotherhood of Magicians)
  • Served as the special effects director and was an understudy at the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera
  • Designed the first traveling exhibit for the inaugural Whitney Museum Biennial video exhibition
  • Wrote, directed and scored “Real Live Robots," a short movie for Carnegie-Melon University and the Buhl Science Center
  • Husband to Sandra for over three decades, and proud father of two young men, Jordan and Alex.
  • Youth hockey coach for ten years, and league commissioner for five
  • More...

    Devin S. Olson

    Master Solutioneer

    Over the past 20 years, Devin has built his reputation as an outstanding Notes and XPages developer. He is also widely recognized for his consulting, speaking, and training skills – always staying one step ahead of the industry. A car buff and motorcycle enthusiast, Devin also devotes time as a lay minister within his community.

    Devin S. Olson

    Master Brewer of Forbidden Fruit and Flobbex 500’s 499th Richest Being in the Galaxy

    Who in his right mind ever would have dreamed that a simple man having a solitary sit in the woods on a late afternoon in autumn would save the planet from imminent destruction AND become a galactic Who’s Who? The answer to this question is no one—no one in his right mind. But ask any member of Team Shork or the representative from the in-game comestibles department of “Can You Relate?” which Earthling was recently paid fifty billion blorbs to train a team to brew Forbidden Fruit, and you’ll see that right minds aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.

    Devin's Bio in the Style of Douglas Adams
    Devin S. Olson dislikes sports, has traveled to 49 states, and is allergic to bee stings. None of these details are important in the least. The only two facts worth knowing about Devin Olson are that he once saved the planet Earth from imminent destruction with only his wits and a jug of home-brewed beer, and that he is on the Flobbex 500 List of Richest Beings in the Galaxy.

    It was that late autumn time of year when the chill air threatens of snows to come and some men take to the woods to feel the wind on their faces, to sit alone and contemplate the nature of life. That was precisely what Devin Olsen was doing on the day Team Shork insinuated themselves into Devin’s perfectly normal life, shattering once and for all any pretense at normality. He had just taken a sip of his coriander-spiced beer, Forbidden Fruit, lovingly home-brewed for occasions such as these, and was thinking what a nice flavor it had, far better than what was generally available at the Qwik-E-Mart. That made him wonder what kind of snacks the Qwik-E-Mart had, and whether he should hike back to the road and buy some, but before he had time to answer his own quandary, he was unceremoniously sucked up a passing tube of what appeared to be liquid metal, and into a flying object that appeared to be an alien spacecraft. Luckily, he had the foresight to hug his jug of Forbidden Fruit tight to his chest during the ascent, and its precious contents remained unspilt.

    Aboard the ship Devin met a trio of strange looking, orange aliens who called themselves Team Shork. He was surprised to learn that they spoke his language until their leader, Volgrun, explained that Team Shork had purchased the “All Languages Upgrade” for just 29 blorbs. Devin figured this was just as good an explanation as any, and politely but firmly demanded that Volgrun tell him what the bloody hell he was doing on their bloody ship, and when he was going to be returned to his camp chair.

    Volgurn kindly explained that Team Shork required Devin’s assistance in a game. Can You Relate? was the most popular reality interface game in existence, and Team Shork was poised to obtain Level 42, which would make them the top relating masters in the galaxy. All they had to do was relate to an Earthling, and Devin seemed a likely candidate.

    Devin would really rather be back in his camp chair, drinking his beer and feeling the cool autumn wind as it blew across his face, but the request seemed straightforward enough, and there was no telling what might happen if he refused. So he reluctantly agreed to participate.

    Team Shork launched into a commotion of activity, and when they were done, Devin found himself sitting in a large, uncomfortable object which might have been a chair, with tiny, uncomfortable objects which might have been alien jewelry attached to various points on his body. Volgrun explained that they had just hooked him up to the Relater 5000, which would determine with 100% accuracy whether or not Devin was relatable. On their own planet, no one related in the old fashioned way anymore. Whenever a need for relationship arose, they would hook themselves up to the Relater and allow the machine to do the hard work. As an aside, he added that if Devin was found to be unrelatable, Team Shork would fall twenty levels and oh, also, Earth would be deleted permanently from the game.

    Deleted? Devin requested clarification on this point. According to Volgrun, the entire Milky Way galaxy was the in-game world of Can You Relate? All planets, including Earth, had been randomly populated into it. If ten teams tried and failed to relate to a world’s sentient species, the world would be deleted within an hour, eventually to be replaced. Team Shork was the tenth team to attempt relating to humans. A wave of anguish crashed over Devin as he grappled with the realization that he was about to undergo an attempt at relationship-by-machine which, if unsuccessful, would mean the destruction of all he had ever known down to the last speck of Terran dust. He expressed his dismay in a long string of epithets that were apparently not included in the All Languages Upgrade.

    Momentarily, a high pitched sound filled the spacecraft compartment, alerting them that the Relater 5000 had finished its task. Volgrun read a message that scrolled in strange symbols across a wall display, and announced that humans were completely unrelatable.

    Team Shork was devastated. It had taken them 546 zorts to achieve 41st level relating masters, and now they would be dropped to 21st level. It was all so unfair. They never should have come to Earth. Devin suggested that perhaps his plight was more pressing, but Team Shork couldn’t relate. Devin was taken with two sudden, simultaneous urges. He wanted to be with his family. And he wanted to punch Team Shork in their orange faces. Instead, he lifted his jug of Forbidden Fruit to his lips and took a deep swig, and then, in a moment of unfounded generosity, he passed the jug around. Volgrun took a hesitant sip. It was lucky they had the Gastrointestinal Invincibility Upgrade, he said, making all in-game comestibles safe. The other team members tasted the beer and then they all wanted to taste it again. Volgrun opined that it was the nicest libation that had ever made contact with his taste blippers. The others agreed, and asked where in the galaxy they might obtain some for themselves.

    Upon learning that Devin had produced the beer himself, and that there was only one jug of Forbidden Fruit in the entire galaxy, and that the recipe and all of the native ingredients required to make it were about to be lost in the deletion of Earth, Team Shork lamented. What a terrible loss to all races in the cosmos! They would not even know what they missed. It was a damnable shame, and they were filled with remorse that it had to happen as the result of their own actions.

    A high pitched sound filled the spacecraft compartment, and a new message scrolled in odd, alien symbols across the wall display. Volgrun scurried over to read it, and then gleefully announced that they had succeeded, without even trying to, in relating without the aid of the Relater 5000. Who knew the rudimentary relating process still worked in the current zort? Team Shork would attain 42nd Level Relating Masters, Earth would be spared, and most importantly, Devin would live to brew another batch of Forbidden Fruit. After joyful farewells, Team Shork dropped Devin through the tube and back into his camp chair, where he resumed his contemplation of the nature of life, his understanding of the same having changed dramatically over the past hour. He returned home to his family that evening with a profound sense of appreciation and a new zest for living.

    Six months later, Devin was contacted by a representative from Can You Relate?’s In-Game Comestibles Department. They wanted to pay him fifty billion blorbs to travel to headquarters and train a team to brew Forbidden Fruit. And that is how Devin S. Olson made the Flobbex 500 List of Richest Beings in the Galaxy. He hasn’t figured out a way to use all those blorbs yet, but he has all the time in the world.
    Devin's Career Highlights
    To come.

    Turk Ergun

    Business Relationship Director

    Since receiving his MBA in 2000, Turk has made a career from developing and cultivating business relationships. From using his law degree to help foreign nationals negotiate business relationships in Turkey, to becoming a top performer for Elon Musk, Turk is not happy unless he’s helping others find success in business.

    Turk's Career Highlights
    To come.