Santa Claus is nervously biting his nails. He has just sent the investment pitch for Angel Gabriel's Secret Santa app to CocaRola via an interactive link. Will the presentation that his digitalization officer Marie created together with the start-up pretono really have an impact and will they receive the 400,000 XmasDollar investment? Every second, Claus presses the key combination command + R on his XmasBook and is mighty proud to have memorized this refresh command. Since he started the digital Xmas transformation together with Knecht Ruprecht, Archangel Gabriel, Heaven's Gatekeeper Peter, Elf-Millenial Marie and Chief Elf Findus, he has learned a lot.
Twenty minutes later, Claus already has the first cramping seizures in his fingers. CocaRola still hasn't responded - and that's despite the fact that the marketing boss had promised during their last boom conversation to get back to him as soon as she received it. "Now don't you worry, Claus!" elf lady Marie tries to reassure her boss. "Mrs. Zisch is a busy woman and will surely answer soon. Besides, thanks to pretono's analysis tool, we can evaluate exactly when and how long she looked at which slides, links and information of our pitch. You'd better come with us to the gift workshop now, Findus urgently needs our help." Claus sighs. It's still a mystery to him how this technique works. But Marie was right - they have to get a move on so that they can still implement all their plans before those up there intervene and take over the digital transformation.
Marie and Claus walk from the Xmas digitization team's meeting room through the winding corridors to the gift workshop. When they arrive, they can hardly believe their eyes. There is hardly any sign of the workshop left. Only Chief Elf Findus can be spotted in the flood of gifts that now fills the entire room. He nimbly scans the wildly scattered packages with the beta version of the Secret Santa app on his Xmas phone and tries to categorize them as smartly as possible. "What happened here?" gasps Claus. Findus jerks around. Spotting Santa, he leaps from one mountain of presents to the next until he stands gasping in front of Claus and Marie. "The Preloved Presents idea has gone down so well with fellow elves that they've shared it on their accounts on Fakebook, InstaFram, TikTak, BeTrue, Glitter, Muskodon & Co. There's even a WhatsThat group of its own that calls for donations of gifts," Findus gushes. Claus once again understands absolutely nothing. "My idea went viral and now thousands of users from the community have sent gifts from past Christmases to us. The sustainability idea has really taken off."
"That's all well and good. But what are we going to do with all these packages? We have to fulfill the wishes from the wish lists," Claus excitedly waves his arms. "And that's where the Secret Santa app comes in!" exclaims Archangel Gabriel as he flies by behind a mountain of Preloved Presents. He lands so swingingly by Claus, Marie and Findus that a few of his golden angel hairs get caught on the fir branches placed for decoration above the entryway to the gift workshop. "I'm already in the process of updating the beta version and matching the gifts sent in with the wish lists. We're kind of creating the Xinder for gifts." "Brilliant idea!" exclaims Marie. "This way we can scale directly and the app gets even more added value. CocaRola will be thrilled. We'll have to add this info directly to our pitch." Marie already wants to run off, but Gabriel holds her back.
The archangel awkwardly prints around. "What's wrong? Come on, tell me!" Marie impatiently urges Gabriel to finally come clean. Gabriel becomes very quiet. Once again, no goblins are on hand to deliver his bad news. He takes a deep breath, squints his eyes and mumbles through clenched teeth: "In order to expand the app accordingly and guarantee accurate matches, we need at least twenty more software developers. That means on top of the investment we're already asking for, we need another 400,000 XmasDollars." The color drains from Claus, Marie and Findus' faces. "I guess that's it for us. CocaRola certainly won't let us jump that much, and those up there will declare us crazy if we come up with such demands."
Despondently, Claus drums his fingertips on a small, green wrapped present as Knecht Ruprecht rumbles into the workshop: "Come along quickly, we have an answer from CocaRola!" Without hesitation, Claus and his heavenly helpers run off. Arriving at the meeting room, Claus opens the emails on his XmasBook.
Dear Santa Claus, It is with pleasure that I can inform you that CocaRola is supporting the digital transformation of Christmas with 400,000 XmasDollars. However, after consultation with our innovation department, this investment is conditional on Christmas being in the Metaverse in the future. We have taken the liberty of getting the approval of those up there and are pleased to send you the corresponding participation agreement. We can't wait to revolutionize Christmas together with you!
Unbelievable, they had done it! With CocaRola on board, it would be easy to find another investor for the second half of the investment sum needed for the Secret Santa app. Claus bobs gleefully from his heels to his toes, holding his roly-poly belly. As he joyfully gazes into the downcast faces of his digitization team, he realizes he's missed something again. "Christmas in the Metaverse - a nightmare come true." Gabriel slumps melancholy into the slightly worn wing chair where Claus usually holds his post-lunch power app. "I understand that we have to move with the times and adapt. But what does a world of zeros and ones have to do with the feast of love?"
"The good news is that those up there have already given their blessing. So our jobs should be safe for the time being," Marie thinks, while Gabriel and Ruprecht argue about the sense of the metaverse. Meanwhile, Claus quietly sits down at his XmasBook. By now he knows how to retrieve information online and shine with new knowledge. With pointed fingers, he types the term metaverse into the Moogle search bar and opens the appropriate Kikipedia entry: A metaverse is a digital space created by the interaction of virtual, augmented and physical reality. The main aspect of this is to unify the different action spaces of the Internet into one reality. The concept is often described with a strong focus on virtual sociality; a future iteration of the Internet, in the form of persistent, shared, 3D virtual spaces connected into a perceived virtual universe. Such are intended to enable individualization and everyday activities to a degree comparable to physical reality.
Claus gulps. Virtual sociality, persistent 3D spaces, virtual universe - what else would be in store for him? In the more than 150 years he has now been working as Santa Claus, hardly anything had changed. And now everything is to change within one Xmas season. Not only does he have to deliver the presents with that ufo-like Tekla XAE-12 - those up there had actually signed a gagging contract with that megalomaniac billionaire Elon Dusk, who is sending Rudolph and the other reindeer into retirement - now he's also supposed to spread Christmas magic in an artificial parallel world. But those up there can get ready for something. Claus wouldn't give up that quickly - and he already had a plan, too.
While Gabriel, Marie and Ruprecht are excitedly discussing things with each other, Santa Claus sneaks out of the Xmas digitization team's meeting room and runs to the sled parking lot. When he spots the shiny silver Tekla XAE-12, the hairs on the back of his neck stand up. The fact that he would no longer be making his trips with Rudi and the reindeer gang in the future hurt his heart. But he couldn't worry about that now. He had to dash quickly to the Christmas innovation center. Without further ado, he grabs Marie's speed skis, pushes off with panache, and wobbles smoothly down the deep-snow slope. Even though he's put on more and more weight over the years and now climbs through the chimneys a bit ponderously - when he's skiing, he feels as if time has stood still. Arriving at the Xmas Hub, Claus brakes so momentumously that it hurls a swath of powdery snow toward the front door, where Matthias Schlaumann is already waiting for him.
Matthias knocks the snow off his dark blue suit while Claus gives him an apologetic nod and puts the speed skis down in the stand provided. "Außenwirtschaft North Pole recently launched an internationalization offensive," Matthias, who has just opened his North Pole branch in the Christmas Innovation Center, wastes no time in telling Claus about a program called FlyUSA, which cooperates with investors worldwide, while still on the way to his office. "In addition to numerous mentorships and workshops, here you have the opportunity to pitch the expansion of the Secret Santa app and find partners for the Xmas transformation into the Metaverse." Claus was impressed. He had already heard about Matthias Schlaumann's consulting skills in numerous online promotional videos - with which he had been literally bombarded since he first mooched Matthias Schlaumann. Now he could finally benefit himself from the knowledge and network of the "Berufung Bürgertum" founder.
When Santa Claus returns to the gift workshop two hours later, everything is fixed: He will take part in the FlyUSA program and leave for New York as early as tomorrow to look for investors and partners in the Big Apple. Claus quickly rounds up his digitization team. "Where is Petrus?", Claus wants to know. "Those up there sent him back to the home office," Ruprecht reports. "They want him to work remotely permanently now." "And now of all times, when we need all our manpower to bring our pitch deck up to scratch? He has to come here immediately!" Claus is annoyed, but at the same time mighty proud of his international expression, which he has acquired in record speed with the help of Matthias Schlaumann. Marie can't help laughing. "Don't worry Santa! With pretono's presentation software, we can also collaborate from different locations thanks to central data management. So Peter doesn't have to fly in specially. This saves us a lot of time."
With his XmasBook and a gigantic load of cookies in his luggage, Claus sleepily climbs into the Tekla XAE-12. Together with Marie, Gabriel, Ruprecht and Petrus, he worked through the whole night and not only perfected the pitch deck for the Secret Santa app, but also created a presentation on the topic of "Christmas in the Metaverse". He was impressed with what his team was able to pull off in such a short amount of time. He would have loved to take it to the Big Apple. But the four of them now had to focus on growing the app, recruiting software developers and helping Findus categorize, package and match Preloved Presents. When Santa finally sinks into the sport seats, he's so tired that he can't even get upset about his unloved vehicle. Exhausted, he presses "autopilot," leans back and falls into a deep, dreamless sleep.
Wham! Claus is awakened by a dull thud. His heart races. A quick glance out the window tells him that he is in a garage. When he flew through the nights with Rudolph and his sleigh, he always knew immediately which city he was in. After all, they always landed on the roof of the highest house and thus always had a fantastic view of the surroundings.
Claus is looking for a clue to his whereabouts, but here the only thing emblazoned across the windshield is a red sign reading "Tekla Supercharger." Had he arrived in New York yet? Santa climbs out of the car and makes his way into the daylight. A yellow cab whizzes past him. He reads the street sign: 212 East 47th Street. Sure enough, he was in the Big Apple, and if he wasn't completely wrong, only a few blocks from Times Square and the North Pole Trade Commission Center, where the FlyUSA program is to take place.
Santa Claus is trudging west. The Big Apple is now in the depths of winter and the wind is whistling icy through the streets and avenues. Although he's used to the cold from the North Pole, the damp cold is getting to him. With clammy fingers, he pulls his cap over his ears and fixes the thick red woolen scarf, that Mrs. Claus has knitted especially for him, in his coat. On his way, he passes the Metlife Building to the south, and to the north, Rockefeller Center peeks out from between the canyons of buildings. Claus is thrilled, normally he only sees cities from a bird's eye view. Finally, he can experience city life up close. When he arrives at Times Square after about 15 minutes, his nose is red with cold and his white beard is frozen stiff. He marvels at the gigantic, glowing billboards and, behold, the new CocaRola Christmas campaign flickers across one of the XXL screens. He proudly watches the new commercial. His acting skills were getting better every year. When Claus reads the credits, he winces: CocaRola and Santa Claus bring Christmas to the Metaverse. Sign up now at cocarola.com and celebrate a holiday that brings spectacular experiences and fantastic gifts to you free from the laws of gravity and societal expectations.
Claus angrily kicks a billboard. Only yesterday he signed the participation agreement with the metaverse clause and today this information is already flickering across all advertising screens. So CocaRola had planned this for a long time. The fact that he had been tricked like this by a partner of decades' standing puts Santa Claus in a rage. But he has to calm down. The FlyUSA program was about to start and he was about to pitch to a few investors. Claus takes a deep breath and makes his way to the North Pole Trade Commission Center, which is just half a block from Times Square. Before Claus steps into the elevator, he is ushered through a security checkpoint - just like at the airport. After his XmasBook and bag of cookies have been thoroughly screened, Claus receives a security sticker for his duffel bag and is allowed to board the elevator, which takes him to the thirty-second floor in just a few seconds. There, the place is bustling with activity. "Mr. Claus, we've already been waiting for you."
A friendly lady leads Santa into a large, glass meeting room. There, at least twenty men and women in gray suits and fancy dresses sit around an oversized meeting table. In front of them are heavy notepads and all of them have one of those elegant Montnoir pens in their hands. Matthias Schlaumann had already prepared Claus for this scenario. Nevertheless, Santa Claus suddenly becomes insanely nervous. With shaky hands, Claus connects his XmasBook to the gigantic screen that almost fills the entire wall behind him, dials into the WLAN and opens his presentation.
Have you ever wondered how many Christmas presents end up unused in the back corner of a closet every year, or worse, in the trash? It's a staggering 1.75 million packages! My name is Santa Claus and together with my team I have developed an app that solves exactly this problem.
After Claus has overcome his initial nervousness, he really gets going. He talks about recycling, CO2 and cost savings, dream partners like Cbay, willbesitzen and Bringando, the "buy now, pay later" approach and the joy of giving and doing good. As he finishes his presentation, a myriad of questions pelt him. How much will the app cost? How will the business model scale in the future? How much growth is planned for the next five years? Perfectly prepared for these questions by his team, Santa has an answer for everything. Just as he is about to thank the potential investors for the conversation, a lady at the very back of the table speaks up. "What are your plans regarding Metaverse? Is it possible to virtualize this concept?" Claus knew that shrill voice. It was Champagna Zisch from CocaRola.
Complicatedly, Claus knotted his fingers. He had no idea how to sell Preloved Presents in the Metaverse. If he was honest, he didn't really know what the Metaverse even was until now. Instead of answering the question, Claus opens his XmasBook again and presses play. Immediately, the "Virtual Winterwonderland" presentation is played, which Marie had quickly prepared yesterday. Happy about this idea, Claus hopes that his little diversion will work. A dreamlike snowy landscape appears on the screen, Advent calendar doors open at the click of a mouse, a "Mariah Carey" avatar sings "Santa Claus Is Comin' to Town," a Santa Claus animation climbs through a chimney, meta-presents are distributed under a festively decorated tree, and wish lists are filled out and gifts exchanged in a cyber bazaar.\ Wait a minute, Claus didn't know the last part of the presentation. His clever elf lady must have inserted it later. But how was that possible? Claus had taken his XmasBook with him after the presentation was finished and hadn't let it out of his hand since.
Champagna Zisch nods with satisfaction. Together with the other investors, she heads to the break room, where the risks and rewards are weighed. Unsure of what to do next, Santa Claus looks around. "Hello, my name is Martin Behrlin. I'm one of the pretono founders and I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself personally." Claus shakes the hand of the young man, who comes running straight towards him. "My employees told me that you are using our tool for your digitization initiative. That makes us mighty proud. If there's anything we can do to support you, please let us know. I'll be in New York for two more weeks as part of the FlyUSA program. Don't hesitate to contact me." Claus gratefully accepts the turquoise business card and is just about to inquire about the last part of the presentation, which has been added by magic, when the next hand is already extended to him.
Before Santa knows it, he's collected a sizable stack of business cards. The founder of Bitbär has offered to support him in cryptocurrency matters and to connect him with NFT experts. Non-fungible tokens are, after all, the latest thing and perfect for the metaverse and disruption of Christmas. Although Claus has no idea what these young people are talking about, he nods knowingly. In the startup world, the digital transformation of Christmas seems to be a real hit. He didn't expect so much help and encouragement. Maybe those up there aren't so wrong with their digitalization demands after all. The growling of his stomach snaps Claus out of his thoughts. He hasn't eaten anything since he left the North Pole. He fishes one of the cookies out of his duffel bag and is about to set off for the next burger joint when he is held back by another conversation partner.
"Great idea , great presentation. We are very interested in your Secret Santa app and would like to make you an offer." The Mamazon innovation manager looks at Santa Claus with expectant eyes. Claus can hardly believe his luck, he has actually convinced someone with his presentation. Although he is almost bursting with joy inside, however, he keeps his poker face. "Sepp Kezos is a big fan of yours. After all, he sees himself as a kind of Santa Claus, delivering several million packages a year worldwide with his company. It's obvious that a large proportion of these would be suitable for a Second Life program. Your Secret Santa app would therefore fit perfectly into our Mamazon CRIME program. I can gladly offer you therefore 1.000.000 XmasDollars for a buy-out. And don't worry, you will of course remain the face of the Preloved Presents matchmaker - which, by the way, is how we would rename the app and also integrate its concept directly into our Metaverse. Due diligence is clearly mandatory, but I'm sure you've figured that out. I think this is a fair deal that we're both guaranteed to benefit from."
Claus' head is spinning. The offer really does sound very tempting, but he has no idea what the heck buy-out and due diligence mean and what the implications are for the Christmas LLC. How he would love to have his digitalization officer Marie with him right now to translate all these complicated business terms in real time. "Thank you very much, I'm really honored by the offer. I'll be happy to discuss it with my team and get back to you." Claus makes his way toward the elevator. His stomach is growling so loudly by now that everyone present can hear it. Suddenly, someone cuts him off. It's Champagna Zisch.
"What an impressive presentation. I couldn't help but forward this directly to Fakebook founder Mark Salztal. We studied together at Harpvard and are always doing projects together. He is enthusiastic about your Meta-Xmas-Universe and your Xinder idea for Preloved Presents and would like to get into the Christmas business with a majority shareholding," flutes the CocaRola marketing manager. "Please come to my office soon and we will work out a suitable marketing plan, including a social media campaign." Claus is speechless. The fact that he has received offers from two big players within such a short time makes him incredibly proud. But even as Mrs. Zisch enthusiastically makes further plans for the future, a queasy feeling spreads through the pit of his stomach. How much influence would he still have on Christmas in the future? Up to now, he had only had to coordinate with those up there. Should there now be further instances? Has he possibly made a mistake?
Confused, Klaus throws his duffel bag over his shoulder and takes the elevator to the first floor. On the way down, he decides to make his way back to the North Pole. It was really exciting to participate in the FlyUSA program, but for him this investment adventure was now over. He had been here just one day and already felt completely drained. Next time he would send Marie. As a digital native, the elf was sure to find her way around in this start-up world.
Before he gets back into the Tekla XAE-12, however, he absolutely has to eat something. By now he is so hungry that he can already tighten his belt. He makes a quick stop at "Five Guys," picks up a jumbo-sized cheeseburger meal at the takeaway counter and heads for the garage. Once there, Santa pulls out his Mustercard. He has to pay a whole 55 dollars for 70 kilowatt hours at the e-pump. That's enough to feed Rudolph and the reindeer for a whole month. Shaking his head, he climbs into his cyber sled, taps awkwardly on the on-board computer until North Pole appears as the destination on the navigation system and presses autopilot.
When he lands safely back in the Christmas village, Knecht Ruprecht, Archangel Gabriel, Heavenly Porter Peter, Head Elf Findus and Elf lady Marie are already waiting for Claus. "How good it is to be home again!" Stormily, Santa hugs his hard-working helpers. "You won't believe all the things I experienced in New York!" "We already know!", Marie excitedly steps from one foot to the other. "A start-up founder of the FlyUSA program heard that you got investment offers from Mamazon and Fakebook. He was not comfortable with the idea that our sustainable Christmas idea would be dominated by these mega-corporations in the future - so without further ado, he launched an online appeal for donations. We have already collected more than we need and it is getting more by the minute. On top of that, countless volunteers have already signed up to help transform Christmas into the Metaverse." Claus feels a weight lifted from his heart! Relieved, he takes a deep breath while Knecht Ruprecht puts his hand on his shoulder. "The best is yet to come: those up there are so pleased that we have a free hand in matters of digitization from now on." Santa laughs happily. "I guess there's only one thing left to say: Merry Christmas!"