Become a Member! | Print Page | Contact Us | Your Cart | Sign In
The Leak - a riddle by Eli Schragenheim
The Leak - a riddle by Eli Schragenheim

Richard Clark, the CEO of ValueTechnology, was furious to read a detailed article about one of the most secretive technological ideas the company has.  The article was published in The Technology Corner, a well-known magazine that is very popular in the high-tech circles. The irony was that the article was enthusiastic of the idea and its business potential; however this specific project, which was in its initial state, had been frozen since the CCPM implementation in ValueTechnology more than two years ago.
The nephew of Richard, Sammy, is an economic private investigator, and he made, following Richard’s request, an inquiry.  His findings were that a disk-on-key containing a detailed analysis of the idea, done by the Business Development department, had been given to Jonah Cramer, the top journalist of The Technology Corner.  Sammy succeeded to pull out of Jonah the information that the transfer of the disk-on-key took place at The Intellect Coffee House, just at the corner where ValueTechnogy headquarters reside.  The coffee house is always full with ValueTechnology’s people and many of their direct competitors.
"How come that whoever leaked the file has chosen a public place to make that transfer?” wondered Richard. "Was not the person afraid to be seen talking to such a known figure in the industry?”
Richard and Sammy made a list of the immediate suspects.  Ian Fountain was at the top of the list.  Ian resigned from ValueTechnology six months ago after a furious discussion with Richard and Betty, the VP of Business Development, about their reluctance to defreeze the project.  Ian had contributed many new ideas to ValueTechnology, and three of them were in active development at the time, but he somehow claimed that ValueTechnology has lost its way to prosperity.  Ian’s resignation had made a lot of hype within the company and in the industry, as he was a very known and respected innovative engineer.
Sammy called Ian, who seemed to be fully prepared for the conversation, and asked him bluntly whether he gave Jonah the file.  Ian denied he did such a move, but also stated that he was happy someone else did it.  He was not bothered by the threat that ValueTechnology would file a suit against him.  "ValueTechnology has much to lose if I open my mouth than what it could do to me.  After all the company killed the idea.  What is the value of a dead idea?” he laughed.
The situation got even worse when Richard got a call from Jonah asking him to participate in a panel dealing with the potential of the idea in The Technology Corner Show, a TV program that is popular in the specific market segments of engineers and technology freaks.  When Richard tried to ask Jonah questions about the identity of the leak he responded with:  
"Come on Richard, you know I’m the one who asks questions. Isn’t this an opportunity for you to send the message that ValueTechnology is dealing with much more important ideas?  Do you lose anything from the public exposure?”
Richard hanged up and went into deep thoughts.  What to do next?  Should ValueTechnology start now to develop the idea?  The article has raised some interesting points about the potential value of the idea, but now some competitors may also develop it, which reduces the expected value.  Also, what really the company should do about Ian?  Doing nothing could radiate that one can get away with leaking the company’s secrets.
Can you give Richard an advice, an insight or a direction where to go from here?