October 11, 2006
M Patrick-Louis Vuitton
Louis Vuitton - France / Louis Vuitton Malletier SA
2, rue du Pont-Neuf - 75001
My dear M Vuitton:
I read with the greatest interest the Wall Street Journal article about Louis Vuitton manufacturing methods.
I implore you to read on about how I have adapted one of the greatest French discoveries to the management of expertise in your quintessentially French line of work, the production of elegant goods. I address this especially to you, as the newspaper mentioned that you are a biologist ("veterinary studies", it said.) My adaptation of the pioneering works of the Lumiere brothers cuts across several lines of physiology, as you shall see; to be cognizant of these disciplines is most instrumental in seizing upon the possibility for profit when you employ my method on your shopfloor.
It was over one hundred years ago that the Lumiere brothers set up a movie camera on the edge of the platform of the Ciotat train station, and shot a 28 second movie of a locomotive approaching head on. This movie was screened for a paying audience in the basement of a Paris cafe, in 1895. It was observed that when the silent, black-and-white moving image of the locomotive "approached" the audience, the audience members leapt for the exits, scared to death.
Now I must quote the great French scientist Pasteur:
Dans les champs de l'observation le hasard ne favorise que les esprits prepares.
I quote the great Pasteur in this way, as to translate him would be to misquote him. Of course I apologize for not writing this entire letter in French, but my French is very much sous-developpe. I quote Louis Pasteur because it was observed that the audience members were lifted from their seats by natural impulses. A snorting beast would not have caused these moviegoers to jump higher or faster. Apparently, nay evidently, the flickering silent image on the plaster wall of the Parisian basement was interpreted by the attendant human beings as no more and no less threatening than a snorting, charging locomotive. I choose to flatter myself that I, and at this point I alone, have esprit preparee to make proper use of this observation, however belatedly, a century having passed us by; a millennium, in fact. And further, I fervently hope that you, M Vuitton, will recognize in this not some hubristic notion on my part, concerning my powers of analyis; on the contrary, that you will recognize in this a direct application of Lumieres freres genius, mediated by the great Pasteur's simple dictum that you call'em as you see'em and let the chips fall where they may. The brothers made the discovery; we merely observe, with a "prepared mind", what they brought about, and make the use of it that has escaped everyone up until now.
The proper use of the Lumiere brothers' bioassay, is to show, to motivated individuals, very short unadorned moving images, for training and educational purposes; and have them perceived as reality.
I have, for example, produced 30 second movies, digital of course, depicting ultrasound-assisted breast biopsy in the surgical clinic for the training of chirurgical residents; 28 second movies of assembly/disassembly of a police sidearm, for the gendarmes ordinaire; a 32 second movie of How to Prepare a Whopper, for Burger King. Pearls before swine, I am afraid, so far; totally unappreciated by the captains of industry and their lieutenants.
But see for yourself. These short unadorned digital videos, accompanied by Quicktime text tracks which index the expertise of the solid performers in the video/audio tracks, are available for your inspection at www.GetSkilz.com.* Imagine, if you will, such short movies as these, in the spirit of Lumiere freres, portraying steps in the fabrication of LVMH goods, whether special order or production. And further imagine, if you will, that you are being guided by the great Pasteur, gently imploring you to prepare your mind, for rediscovering the Lumieres' nouveau realite onscreen in the furtherance of French commerce, in exactly the same fashion that M Pasteur revivified French viticulture.
The corpus of LVMH movies you will create, will fit hand in glove with the efficiencies your factory managers have instituted, if in fact these efficacies are as vaunted in the Journal. Of this you can rest assured.
I have already taken too much of your valuable time; let me sum up: I have a new method for the acquisition and management of expertise, which you as a biologist and student of behavior can see, harnesses the short movies of Lumiere to paint powerful images in the minds of men, and women, who work at Louis Vuitton. This method will update production as nearly as those electrical sewing machines you reminisced with the reporter about, from back in the Seventies.
Very sincerely yours,
Point Richmond, California
*Indeed, these timecoded text tracks serve to index the depicted expertise so satisfactorily that the movies become not only tools for training, but an index to the human capital assets and liabilities of the viewers held by their employers! (Management keeps an inventory of each worker's movies-studiously-watched and chalks them up as assets; and keeps an eye on the liability of movies unwatched as well.) The Parisian boulanger Lionel Poulin was apparently working on something like this when he foolishly flew his helicopter into the teeth of a storm, on his way to a few days of vacation. His daughter chose not to pursue it.
NB Not long after the Lumieres' debut, motion pictures began to be used for storytelling, and reality (verite) took a back seat. French cinema is the exception, to this day; Bob, in "Bob le Flambeur", explains this very well. I have personally researched the biophysics of long form moviewatching with electroencephalography, and the results are not pretty.
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