With my tried and proven business sense, all I need to take over the world is a product to sell. People don’t enjoy being taken over, you see. You have to distract them with shiny, sparkly things, and their distraction slowly grants you power. Of course, I’m a religious Jew, so the plan, at the same time, should help bring about the messianic age. People will be so happy about the Messiah, they won’t even notice if I’m filthy rich on the side[i]. Not to mention utterly omnipotent.
So, without further ado, here’s the plan. It’s incremental, it’s brilliant, and I get to open up a pizzeria as a hobby.
Phase 1: The Killer App
Even though my Stanford application was rejected, I know that any tech company that wants to run the world must start small; only G-d creates Hobbesian leviathans from thin air. And like certain world-dominating businesses that rhyme with bugle, my company will initially offer only one service. Not search; that is for the non-Jews. We will start with a Brochos App.
Brochos (does not rhyme with ‘nachos’) means “blessings,” and we Jews say lots of ‘em every day. In fact, we ideally say 100. During prayers, before performing commandments, after using the restroom, before and after food…We give thanks to G-d a lot. The problem is that [cue the whistful downtempo piano music, grayscale scene of Manhattan sidewalks] in today’s fast-paced world, it is more difficult than ever to remember to take the time to say the right bracha. We forget Modeh Ani when we wake up and we forget Shma when we go to sleep. We make the Shehakol before a cup of water, than say the Borei Nefashos after, and then we forget whether we said either, and now we want to drink a second cup, and we are, as they say in Yiddish, ‘farscrewed.’ [cue Technicolor and the big band] Enter the Brochos App! With the power of scheduled task and cutting-edge voice recognition technology, never miss a prayer again:
- Your alarm clock will keep telling you to say Modeh Ani until it hears you say it. Same thing with Shma in the morning.
- Random music from your collection will play at full volume after a certain time of night (in combination with low light levels) until it hears you say
- Your phone will hear you make the initial blessing on food, and will then remind you to say the after blessing. When it hears you say the after blessing, the reminder will disappear.
Your Jewish life revolutionized!
But Tzvi, I can hear you wandering through the computer screen, won’t this make, like, absolutely no money ever? How right you are. The point initially is not to earn money. The point is to get people using our services. Then we move on to
Phase 2: Expansions
The continuous updates to the initial app will expand its usefulness much farther afield than anyone would initially guess. The truth is, that if there are going to be effective reminders for things like Lulav and morning Shma, there must be a comprehensive Jewish calendar backend with GPS-based time functionality. Of course, none of this will help if the person doesn’t know the Jewish law relevant to the act at hand. Thus, we will begin to implement halacha pop-ups.
We will also begin to take advantage of all of the phone’s sensors in revolutionary ways, not just the microphone. The compass and accelerometer will tell the user not just the direction in which to pray but will direct lulav shaking according to four different minhagim[ii]. The app will help you step forward and backward for Shemoneh Esrei in a legally acceptable way and can even help the newly religious with their prayer shockel[iii].
The camera will calculate all sorts of halachic measures: how much cake one must eat to say an after-blessing, how tall a building must be to build a fence around its roof, are my tzitzis wide enough?
If all else fails, for a small fee one will submit halachic questions through the app to our team of trained attack Rabbonim, who will stop at nothing to bring your case to a legal and practical conclusion.
Thus, our little app becomes something more and more something you can show off around the Yeshiva water cooler. As more and more people integrate it into their daily life, we’ll bring out the big guns.
Phase 3: Salvation
I call this phase “salvation” because this is when we start making it impossible (to the mind of the consumer) to get a good afterlife without the aid of our smartphone app. How do we accomplish this task, so much more epic than the small brochos app that only three people used for free?
Simple. We use the phone camera to overlay the Gemara. And to preface: Does anyone like to learn Talmud nowadays? No one normal. Do people still learn Talmud? Yes. Why? The afterlife. You have to know the G-dly wisdom if you want a beautiful piece of the Garden of Eden with silver chandeliers, matching sweater vests, and litter everywhere. So you’re stuck learning these books, and they’re in Aramaic, and who knows if you’ll ever be great at it? ENTER THE APP.
Point your phone at the dense page with the little letters. Watch your screen light up like Yidden at a Coloradan Phish concert. Instantaneous translation and commentary of what you’re looking at, with the opinions of all the major Rabbis throughout the centuries! We will either work with Artscroll/Koren or we will make our own, brand new English translation. Every reference to a different page of the Talmud or to the scripture will have a pursuable link with more translation and commentary. No more turning to a different page for meaning; it’s all right there in a cutting edge graphical overlay. And if this still doesn’t help, we will still have the option of calling a Rabbi for a small fee.
No Jew will be able to resist their jealousy of their Talmudic genius friends. And we will slowly expand the Talmud commentary to all Jewish religious works and from English to all languages, including Klingon.
And can you imagine the applications of everything we’ve mentioned so far once everyone wears Google Glass? [iv]
But that’s not all.
Phase 4: Socialism
This is the original term we give to the expansion of our service into the social realm. No longer will your learning and good deeds be your own business, between you and G-d, but rather the business of the entire world! You gave charity today? You take pictures and upload them; we and the crowd will judge them; you will receive holiness points. Same with Talmud. Compete with your friends to see who can learn faster, more, and better. Take tests, earn points.
What do these points get you? Two words: Global Scoreboards. The entire world will see the extent of your observance. People will be able to Judge you at a character level, eliminating the superficiality and falsehood of the regular online experience.
It is impossible to see any downside to this; you benefit through notoriety, we benefit through advertising revenue. Moshiach’s times. Zero-sum games are golus, baby.
Not convinced? Well there’s always
Phase 5: Utopia
In addition to selling something every Jew owns[v] and in addition to increasing the good deeds and Torah learning of Jews immeasurably, we will have solved all major theological issues that prevent the coming of the Messiah.
To wit: Our researchers have found that 95% of a religious Jew’s time isn’t spent perfecting the world, and 94% of it is spent worrying neurotically about whether they are doing the right thing, what their relationship with G-d is, and whether they cleaned up all the chometz. We at The Tzvyndicate™ believe that by quantifying religious observance as outlined above, Jews will no longer be distracted by their insecurities. It will be absolutely clear to anyone on the street whether a person is a Tzaddik, a Rasha, or anything in-between. As G-d intended.
We can then actually go about the practical business of bringing Moshiach, and I can retire to my pizza store safe in the knowledge that the future is secure.
What did Google ever do for the world?
[i] Why do we so discriminate against the rich? Is anyone ever “filthy poor”? Or is that too obvious?
[ii] The fifth minhag, which holds smart phones to be the tools of the devil, will, if selected, cause the phone to self-destruct in a puff of red smoke.
[iii] Also according to a number of customs – the pendulum, the corkscrew, the scrubber, the MBD Hands, etc.
[iv] We will be inventing our own version, of course, called the Tzvectacles™.
[v] A feat only previously achieved by the Spice and Spirit cookbook.
Originally posted on Hevria.