The Yakverse Chronicles

Series home page for the Yakverse stories

Recent subscribers might not be aware that the original inspiration for this newsletter came from a trilogy of posts, also titled the Art of Gig, that I published on ribbonfarm in 2015 (retitled and republished here as Prelude I-III in the index below). That trilogy has now grown into an 11-part series on this newsletter, plus 2 background essays. The series explores, through totally real stories involving totally real people (I swear), the shadowy hidden side of consulting that I call the Yakverse. Many readers have told me that the newsletter issues featuring the Yakverse are their favorite ones.

I’ve put together this convenient index of the saga so far, along with short episode summaries, and navigation links inside each post, so you can easily read/reread them in sequence. For those who came in late, you may want to catch up. Episodes in this series are mostly stand-alone, but with recurring characters, and an overall longer narrative arc. If you read the whole thing in sequence you’ll probably get more out of it.

This index is public, but most of the posts linked here are subscribers only, except for the 3-part prelude, and part 8 (Maneuvers vs. Melees).

Main Sequence

  1. Prelude: I: In which we meet Guanxi Gao, Arnie Anscombe, and legendary McKinsey engagement manager, Ulysees Alexander Khan, while a thought leadership crisis unfolds at AspireKat.

  2. Prelude: II: In which we discover a nefarious M&A subplot involving Klongleworks lurking under the thought leadership crisis, while yet another Big Consulting firm crashes the party. What’s really going on here?

  3. Prelude: III: In which an alliance of independents is forged to outwit the Big Firms, and we race to solve the real mystery, while trying to land a piece of the actual lucrative opportunity underneath the crisis.

  4. The Shadow’s Journey: In which I share the origin story of how I got into consulting, earned my first yak coins, and encountered the mysterious Order of the Yak. 🔒

  5. Always Be Strategizing: In which we meet The Ancient One, learn about the rare artifact known as a Strategometer, and deconstruct the parable of the three stonecutters to figure out what kind of client is best to work for. 🔒

  6. Making It Interesting: In which we meet Bernie Anscombe, brother of Arnie, learn about the ancient Anscombe consulting family, and consider the subtle art of right-pricing your services to get the kind of work you want. 🔒

  7. The Two Shadows of the Hero: In which we meet Agents Jane Jopp and Guy Lestrode of the FBI G-Crimes (gig crimes) division, and reflect on the mysterious Bermuda Triangle case, exploring malice, stupidity, and collusion in the consulting world. Guanxi Gao makes another appearance, and the mysterious Agent Q makes an entrance. A deep conspiracy is unveiled. 🔒

  8. Maneuvers vs. Melees: In which we meet Arnie Anscombe once more, and learn all about how organizations melee with sales and finance, once the strategic maneuvering is done. We discover a tough question we cannot answer with a 2x2 and decide to seek counsel from a Higher Power. 🔒

  9. The 12 Eigenconversations: In which we seek out my reclusive genius older brother, Mycroft Rao, map out the 12 Eigenconversations, and plot the course of a case study on it. A yak coin is traded and traded back. 🔒

  10. The Shtickbox Affair: In which Guanxi Gao and I team up once again, to assist Agent Jane Jopp of the FBI G-Crimes division with an unusual case involving a high-tech shtick at Scorpion Arts. An unsatisfying resolution leaves us wondering whether deeper conspiracies are afoot in the consulting world. 🔒

  11. The Medium is the Client: I am called in to help G-Crimes with the mysterious murder of Thomas Turtleneck, CEO of a chemicals company. Which of the four consultants did it? I apply my principle, the medium is the client, to help Agents Jopp and Lestrode at figure it out. 🔒

  12. And So It Begins: In which my old nemesis, Ulysees Alexander Khan reappears with a strange proposal for Guanxi Gao, Arnie Anscombe, and me. Do we trust Khan? Do we trust the shadowy group he represents, known as the Club? 🔒

  13. Staying with the Questions: In which we ponder the strange 2x2 Khan left us with, and ponder our postures for the pandemic. 🔒

  14. Yakverse: Infinity Gig: In which the Yakverse Chronicles head towards a stunning resolution. 🔒

  15. Yakverse: Endgame: Series finale, to be published in January 2021.


  1. The Secret History of Consulting: I 🔒

  2. The Yak Zodiac 🔒