Give & Tech: Who exactly was the Pied Piper? And why is he back in the news?
1284. Hamelin. A bustling little town in Germany where shelves were stocked with cake and cheese, the kitchens were forever making food and there were parties every night. (And the town's council wondered why there were rats.) Luckily for them, the Pied Piper came over and played a ridiculous Bollywood tune that made the rats develop suicidal tendencies and jump into the river Weser. (Shah Rukh's movies have been a rage in Germany ever since. And there have been no reports of any rats after that.)
2012. Batman and Spiderman were back. So was Catwoman. Unfortunately, Hamelin saw the return of another super species - rats. But where was that dratted Pied Piper when they needed him the most? The council met once again. They almost didn't recognise one another - after all, it had been over 700 years. “We need to know who this Pied Piper is for us to call him again,” declared the Mayor. “And since making an army of rats disappear needs hi-tech methods, look for him in the tech world.” “It's Dean Kamen, the Segway guy,” stated Mr. Brown. “He’s known as the Pied Piper of technology.” The Mayor scoffed. “Apparently, the last time the rats vanished, they used his Segways as escape vehicles, which is why we don't see any today. No, it can't be him.”
“It's actually two persons,” said Mr. Black. “Why do you think so?” asked the Mayor. “Because,” stated Mr. Black emphatically, “a man who drives out rats for a living cannot make his fortune at the click of a mouse. My guess is Jerry Yang and David Filo,” replied Mr. Black. The Mayor shook his head. “They're too busy trying to fund their web site with a reality show titled 'Yahoo's got problems'. Leave the poor guys out. Incidentally,” the Mayor blushed, “do you know that their new chief is also a Mayer?”
“What about Larry Page and Sergey Brin?” asked Mr. Black. “The Google guys? But why them?” “The clue lies in the misspelt name. Most people misspell Hamelin as Hamlin - likewise, Google is actually...” “Googol,” completed Mr. Orange. “Bingo! Besides, they were the ones last seen searching for rats,” added Mr. Black. “But then,” sighed the Mayor, “they search for everything. You can rule them out.”
“It's the Apple guy,” said Mr. Orange. “He would have just had to play his iTunes. All the kids would have put on their iPods and walked on, until they were lost.” “But the Pied Piper was dressed in such garish colours - and Steve Jobs was forever in his black turtleneck and jeans,” remarked the Mayor.
“It has to be Mark Zuckerberg,” cried an excited Mr. Blue. “He got the rats to post their party pics on Facebook. Their bosses saw the cheesy images and all the rats were fired from their jobs. They had no choice but to move to another town…” “But,” interrupted the Mayor impatiently, “What about the children? How did they vanish?”
“Well, Mark Z had asked the town to oversubscribe to his IPO in exchange for getting rid of all the rats. And that was how the IPO came to be known as the Pied Piper IPO. But the council didn't think much of his efforts and so didn't buy any shares. The IPO was a flop and Mark got terribly bugged. He first unfriended them all and then added a whole lot of apps and games to the site. Predictably, the kids went crazy and followed him to a place where even Google Plus couldn't find them...”