A shepherd was tending his flock in a field, when, on the road nearby, a new sports car screeched to a stop in a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in expensive designer clothes and sunglasses, leaned out the window and shouted to the shepherd, “If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have here, can I take one?”  The shepherd looked up slowly up at the young man, then looked at his peaceful flock, and calmly answered, “Sure, why not?”

The young man stepped out of his car holding a state-of-the-art ipad, with which he proceeded to connect to a series of websites, first calling up a satellite navigation system to pinpoint his municipal location, and then keying in the location to generate an ultra-high-resolution picture of the field. After emailing the photo to the GIS Department at the nearest town, the processed data was returned, which he then fed into an online database, and entered the parameters for a report. Within another few seconds a miniature printer in the car produced a full-colour report containing several pages of analysis and results. The young man studied the data for a few more seconds and then looked up at the shepherd.

“You have exactly one-thousand, five-hundred and eighty-six sheep, including three rams, and seven-hundred and twenty-two lambs!”

“That’s right,” said the shepherd, only mildly impressed. “Well, I guess that means you get to take one of my sheep.”

The young man made his choice, but while he was loading the animal into the back seat of his car, the shepherd said, almost as an afterthought, “Hold on … if I can tell you what kind of business you’re in, will you give me back my sheep?”

The young man, feeling confident, agreed.

“You’re a consultant,” said the shepherd.

“Wow, that’s right!” said the young man, completely taken aback. “How did you ever guess that?”

“No guessing required,” answered the shepherd. “You showed up here, even though nobody called you! You took a fee for giving me an answer that I already knew, to a question I never asked! And you know nothing about my business. Now give me back my dog!”