Once upon a time... that`s how stories begin, right? Yet in this case it is difficult to say who and when first came up with the idea. As a child I saw a play on TV that was also about such a company, but my poor memory doesn`t help me remember it`s title or playwrighter. Alvin Toffler predicted in "Future Shock" that future business would revolve around simulated experiences. "Man on the Moon" reveals an original comic leading his role beyond the stage. In "The Truman Show", the entire life of an individual is a huge play, involving hundreds of actors. "The Village" shows how a whole community lives, deliberately, in the pre-industrial era. "The Game" is, probably, the best image of such a business, as Nicholas Van Orton, a millionaire played by Michael Douglas, pays at the end for the expensive chain of practical jokes made on him...I do not know if this kind ok business has developed somewhere in the world. Here, in Romania, a poor country, in which men and women struggle so hard for daily living, there was until recently an agency offering “surprises” made especially for each customer. Unfortunately, perhaps for economic reasons, the business closed down. They seemed to be advertising and PR professionals, innovative, reliable, dedicated. But they stopped.
And then what chance do I have with this another attempt, without my predecessors` connections and without their know-how in the field of advertising, and also, with no capital to invest? As a business: nearly zero at this point. You cannot earn a living in something like this - as "Fii magician" story proved. But neither Facebook nor CouchSurfing have began as companies that bring immediate profit. On the contrary. It is well known that in the virtual environment, the site must be free at first (free of advertising and free of charge for members). OK, but we want to do real practical jokes, not in the virtual environment. Well, it is the same thing. As long as it is a free, you have all chances to attract attention and have customers. OK, but why should anyone do something for free? Here I have only one answer: the fun of making a surprise to somebody, just as others will help create your own beautiful experience at some point in time. CouchSurfing experience is telling in this regard. I hosted for free over the years all kind of strangers and all, without exception, were pleasant and interesting experiences: from the Korean newlyweds going around Europe in a vintage car to the old Bulgarian couple who came for Tina Turner`s show, from the Taiwanese girl who prefered to sit, traditionally, on the carpet to the Dutch girls who showed a guy how to smoke some kind of weed, from the chaste Tunisian girls to the nudist Vietnamese guy living in Germany and studying in Romania. I was treated, in turn, with high hospitality in Croatia, in a village that otherwise I would have never noted on the map, I received the keys of the apartment from a Vienese girl who had to go to work, had dinner at the restaurant on another Austrian couple`s money, who made jokes about the bikes missing in Salzburg after some Romanians visited the city...
My life could not have been so rich without these experiences. Yes, it is about wealth. And the „Experience Factory” is for those who understand that spiritual wealth is more important than the material one. So why don`t we try and expand volunteerism from Couchsurfing or Hospitality Club to some other things?
Therefore, I propose to populate the 'factory' with altruistic people, enthusiasts who will sacrifice a little time to make a surprise to other people who appreciate the experience more than the possession of a good. 99% pleasure and 1% hope that at some point in the far future, this work may become a profitable business. What I want is to create a platform for those interested in offering and receiving this kind of services that can hardly be classified and which usually are not included in the activity of any company. And this blog is a first step.