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I am a rising entrepreneur who has plans of cornering a lucrative niche market for myself. Whether you are a rising super villian in battle with heroes, or a criminal mastermind bent on taking over the world, you always need a reliable source of mooks to carry out your dirty work. Hiring labor to guard your facilities, attack ans sabotage your enemies, or simply serve as meat shields can get expensive, especially if you have developed a bad track record of losing. Therefore, I have developed a company called " Goon Industries ", which supplies its customers with goons to serve as their minions for whatever purpose they have in mind. These humanoid, biological entities are grown to adulthood in embryonic tanks, and trained in the art of mercenary work while in stasis. These goons can be ready to be put in circulation within a matter of months, and then sold to customers. With me controlling the means of production with the factories I have built, I can corner the market in supplying minions to the super villian underworld.

When you sell a product in the business world, you can only make money off of it once. After it is in the customer's hands, there are few opportunities in which you can continue to get a profit from it. Therefore, I plan to base my business practices around a subscription service. This is where the money is today, as I can continue to charge my customers regularly for an extended period of time while they "own" there product. I have built a planned obsolescence into the goons, so that they will break down from the wear and tear over the years. This will force my customers to pay for repairs and updates to the product. With this, I can sit back and rein in the dough for decades. The problem with this strategy is that while this would work for the average consumer, these are dangerous f*cking people I am doing business with. Many would not take kindly to me building in an expiration date into the product I have sold them, simply to force them to make purchases from me in the future. In addition, Goon Industries is competing with other competitors, including "Order 66", a company in the same line of work but focuses on producing droids. These droids can be produced quicker and cheaper, which may cut into my profits sooner or later.

How can I base my business around this model and make a suitable return on my investment?

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  • $\begingroup$ How is this different from breeding slaves who already have a built-in expiry date of 3 score years? How is it different from hiring out machinery with a maintenance warranty - replacement or repair in the case of disease or injury? $\endgroup$ Apr 23 at 10:11
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    $\begingroup$ Where's the problem? // what is the problem? // & what's the actual non-opinion-based-not-an-invitation-tor-a-general-chin-wag-on-a-theme-at-all question? just asking :) $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Apr 23 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ Just market them as droid supervisors, unless we're assuming far greater droid AI than in the real world near or even (probably) medium future they'll still need non-coms & middle managers to supervise them. $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Apr 23 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ @Pelinore what is a chin wag? $\endgroup$
    – Incognito
    Apr 23 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @Incognito a conversation, gossip, natter, discussion etc, 'to talk' is to wag ones chin // it's an expression I hadn't realised had gone so far out of vogue as to cause confusion when employed? $\endgroup$
    – Pelinore
    Apr 23 at 12:39
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You're a Temp Agency

Running a subscription based model on goons is almost exactly the same logistically-speaking as hiring real humans, but without any of the normal issues like moral scruples or threatening people's families. It's an obvious step up from street thugs or mercenaries.

From an accounting perspective, this just looks like paying for their goons in man-hours instead of in units like they would for droids.

It's also FAR easier for smaller evil organizations to hire your goons and pay you by the man-hour because they don't have to have as much start up capital.

However, there's one advantage that trumps every other:

Scalability

See, the advantage your goons have in a subscription model is the same advantage that cloud computing services have over traditional server structures.

Are you an evil villain with a tiny lair, but planning a huge conflict with your nemesis? Easy. Just keep a small number of goons on hand to handle local security from day-to-day, and wait until just before the main event to up your stock of goons. Once the event is over you can just send the survivors home and lower your subscription model.

But what about profits?

So far, we've only talked about benefits to the consumer, and not benefits to the company. The real question is, how does Goon Industries turn a profit? A subscription model service will surely benefit the customer, but how does it benefit the company and how does the company make a profit?

The answer is simple: reusable products. See, with a subscription model, your intuition is wrong. You don't build in planned obsolescence. In fact, you want your products to be future-proof if possible, and as long lasting as possible. The goal is to make it possible to reuse them whenever your customer reduces the size of their subscription.

See, with a subscription model, you get more money if your goons last longer because you only have to build a new one when an old one breaks or you get a brand new customer.

Now, there is one downside to this model that is particularly applicable to goons and may make it impossible to remain profitable:

Failed organizations result in a complete loss of product.

If you start up a subscription model with a client and his business fails spectacularly, all your products will be destroyed along with the client.

This means you do have to be careful about who you do business with. You can't just let anyone hire your goons. Interestingly, that kind of elitism means that you will poised exactly to position your goons as a luxury product.

Whereas Order 66 can pump out trash droids all day long and sell them to anyone with a wad of cash, Goon Industries creates a quality product with a better contract for the consumer, but they only take on the highest quality customers. You know you've made it as a villain when you can finally replace all your labor with Goons™.

And, as a result of being more approachable by small businesses, you'll have the opportunity to get in on the ground floor with the up and coming largest names in the industry, assuming your auditing department can do a good job of predicting which of your clients are likely to succeed and which ones are likely to fail... you may need to merge with an insurance agency.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sounds to a certain extant that you are offering something more like private security/PMC. You aren't selling individual Goons. You are selling base security on a time and materials basis, along with consultancy on location, cover operations, interrogation, traps and other supervillain security essentials on the side. $\endgroup$ Apr 23 at 23:19
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It's a Feature, not a Bug

Your Mooks break down over time because they need MookMeal (TM), a special food additive. You sell this as a Feature because it means that any mook that is captured for interrogation or reprogramming dies within hours, rendering your secrets safe and ensuring the loyalty of your mooks! As an added security measure, your MookMeal formula is adjusted every X amount of time to stop the Good Guys from synthesizing a replacement. New-made Mooks are only set up to accept the MookMeal in production at the time of their creation. As you only sell the "current" MookMeal, and very unfortunately it spoils quickly and doesn't store well, older Mooks will need to be upgraded to accept the new MookMeal.

This feature makes them far superior to droids. Computer science being what it is, any droid that was not utterly disentigrated may reveal secrets if captured by the enemy. Floor plans, IFF codes, patrol patterns... all could be captured by an enemy who destroyed it! Meanwhile a Mook that goes without Mookmeal finds its brain dissolved into a pile of mush, guaranteeing your Evil secrets die with them!

To keep the Bad Guys happy you openly sell the MookMeal at cost, or perhaps even as a loss-leader. If you plan it right, most Mooks will be KIA (damn 00's kill so MANY minions no matter the type) before they need the upgrade. Evil Bosses will be okay paying to upgrade the survivors because their experience is worth it. Or they don't, and simply let the old mooks die and replace them with a fresh batch. Either way, the planned obsolescence is seen as a security feature worth doing business with you for!

As for the minions themselves, best not to let them know Mookmeal is a thing. But with the right mental conditioning I'm sure they could be convinced not to do things like "try to genetically modify themselves to exist without it" or "Kill you and seize the means of MookMeal production" even if they knew. Right?

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Are you tired from the constant droid maintenance? Were your plans thwarted because you forgot to charge your droids or the hero managed to hack or destroy the central core? Are you tired of buying new droids after every engagement? Need to redo all your accounts every time and hope you have enough money to replace them all? Are you so down on your luck that you need to scrounge up and repair broken droids just to make ends meet?

NOT ANYMORE! Get a subscription with us and you get our quality Mooks! Maintenance is now a simple meal and some water! We'll replace your mooks every time they are damaged beyond repair for free! Easy infiltration into society! Get a discount on your subscription for low casualty rates amongst your Mooks! Call LEASE-MOOK now and discover our package deals today!

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Creativity

In an order 66 related note. The reason for clones vs droids given in Star Wars is that they can think creatively. That makes them much more suitable for many differing situations, both in combat and outside. Their multi-role capabilities makes them much easier to higher than droids, at least in comparison to the ones in Star Wars. Droids in that universe are specialised in most cases. That is why combat droids seem to have trouble speaking and take quite long to understand intruders when guarding prisoners. Clones will more easily understand the social interactions and see more quickly when something is amis.

An example of unusual combat is that there's suddenly guys with laser swords. A batch of clones can learn in a single engagement very quickly what these guys are capable of and try different strategies, where droids would still try to point and shoot.

Droidscare potentially worse off when severed from servers or power supply, where clones can go on prolonged no contact missions, hiding in a ditch and learning a great deal while assessing the right moment to strike. Also they repair themselves through healing, which might come in handy if some get damaged. Swap them out for new ones and put the damaged stock in a healing vat. Sell them as veterans after.

And as @Demigan answer is saying. Easy infiltration, require only water and simple meals, can be replaced easily.

In the end it's a one size fits all. Sure you can have specialization, but they can go much further in their mental capabilities and creative thought than droids. Operating an advanced laser cannon big enough to blow up planets and still smart enough to clean your toilet thouroughly with a nice smelling brand after. They are good for any engagement.

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Any business venture is about making money, obviously. I take from this part of the final question that's it's the case here too: "...make a suitable return on my investment?"

Well if you really want to make a return what could be better than doing it legally without any restraints from being criminal/illegal?

Don't sell the goons to criminals, sell them to corporations and the military. Those are the deals that will make you real money. The notion that "When you sell a product in the business world, you can only make money off of it once" is not accurate. Any business lawyer will be able to draw a contract where you can do business over long periods of time. You create the demand.

Why help villains? And why trust that they wouldn't turn around and steal the tech from you.

No, if you have a technology that is this world changing you go legitimate. Going legitimate, and erasing their criminal past, is the ultimate goal of every criminal enterprise anyway.

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The idea of the subscription model is that you must create a situation where the client actually WANTS to substitute the old clones, rather than being forced to

You should think about cellulars and videogames.
How many people change the cellular only after the old model is broken? On top of my head, I could list just two people (myself and Scrooge McDuck) who have changed the phone after it broke.
You usually change your old phone when there is a brand new model, with better performance and new features!

A the same time, the first version of videogames (the vanilla version) usually lacks many interesting features and gameplay, which are usually sold later with some expansion packs.

We all know that evil lords are very vain people, and are surely eager to show to colleagues and enemies that they can afford only the best and most up-to-date minions!
Sell them minions, but not with all features at once. Then propose a subscription model: they will be able to substitute the old outdated minions with new fancy ones: evil lords will never want to miss your new clone series now with extra 15% of muscular mass, or your limited edition of Clark Gable looking minions!

And about drone concurrency, remember that an evil lair, to function properly, will still need humans, like accountants, loyal lackeys and so on: having to keep two different supply lines (one for droids and one for human/clones) will be very inefficient!

Basically, your clone-subscription is a deal for every evil lord!

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You don't subscribe for one unit

A subscription-based model is fine, if your product isn't inherently disposable. But the average minion's life expectancy is very low, once they're in real use.

However, this doesn't make them useless. On the contrary, knowing that they're not going to live beyond a few weeks (and being conditioned to accept that), these minions have all the selflessness of a droid with none of the ability to be hacked.

The subscription isn't to one minion, it's to a minion's service - the unit will be replaced on a regular basis. This should be as normal as a cloud-computing platform upgrading their servers and migrating your application.

This will feel to a cynic like you selling single-use minions and paying for inevitable replacements, but that's not your problem. And most villains are more comfortable being able to make examples of minions without voiding the warranty.

This also has two advantages - foiled villains keep subscribing while they build a new base, and you don't care about destroyed villains. If your billing is automatic, you could even get paid part of their fortune while they're themselves digging out of the rubble, all without supplying another unit.


A side note: This makes you an ideal service company for villains and heroes-in-need. Ideally, you'll be able to co-fund promising villains to get them started, and using your product. The more villains (and heroes foiling them) you see, the more minions are being 'recycled' and the larger your operation can grow.

For competing with droids, you're both operating a disposable-unit service, but yours are more resistant to thou-shalt-not-kill heroes, especially if they aren't clones.

Just beware if you hear of one being captured and re-engineered to live longer. Try to reach out to them and seem impressed, and let them consult on minion-training techniques. Don't employ them directly, or you might end up with a revolt.

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