The Story

Then one day while scroungin' up some food, three ... no four monkeys clubbed us with PGP keychains. They did not move to Beverly thereafter, probably because they have nothing to do with a 70's sitcom about some folks striking oil in their backyard.


The name of this service is MKISIO. You can pronounce it any way you darn well please and we will not arbitrarily cancel your account because someone in the backoffice had their feelings hurt, however we tend to pronounce it muh kiss eee oh.

The name was created much like others in the not-so-golden age of the Tubes(1). First, we tried to hire a gaggle of software engineers to come up with a name, but could find none for less that $7,500 per hour so we opted for assistance from a social media influencer out of Nepal. Once a moniker was delivered to our liking, we spent thousands of hours developing software and readying it for launch, then set up a registrar account to buy the dot com domain. All the while we thought we were the smartest cadre anywhere and trillions of ducats would soon be flying in the door. But the domain we sought was not available. A flood of tears commenced, and everyone involved reformatted their hard drives (as the software code was now completely worthless).

However, one of the marketing staff - it was ALL marketing staff at this point - decided to follow the name's originator on sabbatical, ending up donning robes, in a monastery, vicinity foothills of suburban Kathmandu. It was there they spotted sculptures of four little monkeys sitting on a windowsill. Befuddled as to the significance of these figurines, they cranked up their shiny new laptop clad in environmentally-friendly molybdenum and fruit, spawned a satlink (so cheap after numerous bankruptcy filings in the early 2000s) and commenced research.

It turned out there is a widely-accepted proverb about three wise monkeys that together see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil. Sounds like bored monkeys if you ask us [insert something here about digression]. These monkeys supposedly originated either out of a junk bond investor conference goer's speech post- taking a licking on the sale of a famous golf course, or via some politician circa 500 B.C. Nevertheless, somewhere far east, and involving treating fellow sapiens with mutual respect. Three down, one to go.

For an explanation of what the fourth monkey - displayed with hands placed over its private parts - signified (besides REDACTED), our esteemed colleague referred to the indisputable arbiter of all historical truth. The Library of Alexandria you ask? Nope. Transcripts of US Senate Intelligence Committee testimony regarding the existence of extraterrestrial life a.k.a. lizard people on planet Earth? Negative. How about the Associated Press? Reuters? Twitter? Wrong, wrong, call me maybe. We were looking for "What is Wikipedia for a hundred, Alex." It was there discovered that monkey nĂºmero cuatro signified "do no evil", and its name was Shizaru.

The first three monkeys, representing "see no evil", "hear no evil", and "speak no evil", are called Mizaru, Kikazaru and Iwazaru, respectively. Put the first letter of each of the names together and what do you get? MKIS(2). We added 'IO' because THAT dot com was also unavailable (registered out of Guangzhou, China ... go figure). Plus, we were running out of money after paying all those marketing people, and we figured tacking it on made the name roll off the tongue. It seemed clever too, if questionably so.

The only other name we entertained for the new brand was IWILLPUNCHYOUINTHEFACEIFYOUGIVEMEANYLIPABOUTWHATIPUTONTHEINTERNET, displayed in Sanscrit instead of the Kanji we adopted. Unfortunately, management reported back as follows: "Various focus group results indicated the name reflected monotonectally onboard user-centric resources, disregarded the dramatically transitional cloud-centric potentialities our product represented, and did not distinctively synthesize the disintermedial environment we had holisticly cultivated from across a broad spectrum of existential periodicities."

In other words, dot com already registered.


This section of the story was supposed to pontificate regarding how the internet seems to have turned nasty, how overwhelming connectivity across devices and platforms galore has morphed into a sort of cauldron of perpetually recycled hostility. We would have blathered on about how everyone is being played, how they might as well install cameras in their toilets because their privacy was being obliterated via participation anyway. It was likely worth mentioning that many people depend on the internet to make livings, and that even leaving a comma out of place in a sentence often resulted in their banishment from the communication platform du jour. And while there is a burgeoning supply of "private" venues, who could really hope to dispense any truly worthwhile information over a stream of emojis?

We would have proceeded by describing an otherworldly creative solution based on blockchains, artificial intelligence and nanobots, and told you that by using the service atmospheric carbon was automatically converted into two by-products, gold bullion coins and pepperoni pizza. But we ran into [another?] set of very serious problems.

First off, we couldn't figure out how to get the blockchains to deliver the pizzas (or do anything else productive for that matter). Meanwhile the nanobots ate the machine learning algorithms - subsequently becoming the AI we were hoping to achieve - then proceeded to release all the animals from the local zoo and cart them via charter aircraft, stolen and operated by themselves, back to said beasts' environments of origin (without stopping to recharge their batteries either). We are still negotiating with our insurer over this incident. Finally, nobody wanted the gold, and even though we had now identified plenty of empty airplane hangers for storage, owners were quoting unreasonable prices, sometimes up to a hundred bucks a week, which we thought highway robbery.

But the true reason why we decided to leave all the above out a.k.a. pivot was this: management decided nobody in their right mind would believe a pitch like that from a company that couldn't even secure a decent dot com domain. Plus there was the whole no one on staff knew how to create a deck in Powerpoint issue. The minions agreed (as if they had a choice), so you're getting an email newsletter service, albeit with some nifty features.

We learned a valuable lesson: two things can royally screw up a brilliant business plan, domain squatters and nanobots. One or the other we could have handled, but both? No cigar (not even a Swisher Sweet). It will probably be a Harvard Business School case study someday, so MKISIO has that going for it.


It's an email newsletter service based on that concept mentioned earlier, mutual respect. This means less marketing to the masses and more delivering content to select audiences. Publishers and subscribers have equal control, to produce, to consume, to critique and to tune out/turn off if things get out of hand. Publishers can charge for their newsletters, and paid subscribers can cancel any time they like. Either side can decide to part ways at will. Publishers can accept all comers, or make their product an invitation-only affair. If the content is valuable, sensitive or participants spent a lot of time when they were kids passing very long secret notes in class, publishers can full-on encrypt their newsletters and subscribers can full-on read them, sans degrees from MIT. Yes, childhood relived.

Meanwhile, MKISIO will never insert and/or swap out newsletter links for their own, nor insert tracking code or tracking pixels or any other tracking stuff into any newsletter; we collect simple analytics in-house (i.e. without a third-party service's help) just to keep the service running smoothly. Even accepting audience feedback is the choice of the publisher. Further, we will never put advertising on the service. Ever. But if publishers want to put advertising in their newsletters they are welcome to do so. And subscribers are welcome to reject it by unsubscribing. We retain very little in the way of publisher and/or subscriber data, but will never sell a single piece of it either. We will not kick you off the platform for no reason, or pretty much any reason other than doing something downright illegal. For more about what MKISIO will and won't do, feel free to peruse the Privacy Policy and Terms Of Service.

Kindest regards,

Mizaru, Kikazuru, Iwazura, Shizaru, and the Board of Trustees of Some Monastery Near The Himalayas (hereinafter referred to as the "BOTOSMNTH"(3))


(1) Ode to the late US Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, who was spot on; the internet IS just a series of tubes.
(2) Astrophysicists out of NASA JPL suggested "MKIS" stands for Marketing Information Systems, a point which while possibly true has zero bearing here.
(3) Even though the story had ended we needed to insert some fancy combination of letters to signify importance, according to a recent focus group.