Many entrepreneurs talk about listening to their "inner voices" in making crucial decisions. But lately more and more seem to be interested in hearing other voices, turning to psychics for other-worldly advice on the big questions.
Most psychics offering these services are squeezing their financial forecasts between their regular trade of personal readings. But a few are geared specifically to the business market.
Consider Delphi Associates, a San Mateo, Calif.-based network of psychic consultants. It is managed by Anthony White, who has an MBA from Stanford University, plus 15 years' experience in management consulting and venture capital investing. Three years ago he founded Delphi with physicist Russell Targe and psychologist Keith Harary, who are both from SRI International, a Menlo Park, Calif., think tank.
White says that, although for years psychics have made a living from their powers, "The thing that's new here is that [our psychics] are being offered in a businesslike manner. Our services are based on solid research in the field. In the past, many people may have consulted Madame Zsa-Zsa on the corner for personal guidance. We're doing the same thing, but we don't come along with all the metaphysics, mumbo jumbo, and props like crystal balls." On the contrary, the props are more likely to be computers or project contracts.
Delphi works with individuals or corporations to find missing objects, locate hidden assets, even predict the movements of commodities markets. For example, the firm is currently negotiating with two small oil-and-gas operations to prescreen possible new drilling sites, White says. It has contracted with a video game company to develop software to help other people hone their psychic skills. And a local lawyer recently hired the firm to help find the culprit responsible for a late-night maritime hit-and-run off the coast of California. From 250 vessels passing in the area, White says, the Delphi psychic has narrowed the list of suspects to six.
The cost of Delphi's forays into the fourth dimension is determined by the complexity of the job, but the basic consulting service goes for $100 an hour.
Of course, there is still room for error. "In psychic functioning, it's easy to direct your energy to the wrong target," White explains. "There are a multitude of targets in the future. Sometimes, a person simply hits the wrong one."
Although cynics may think this offbeat service is doomed to bankruptcy, White foresees great success for the firm because of the very practical nature of the business world. "We decided to work in the private sector," he explains "because businesspeople are pragmatists. As such, they don't ask stupid questions like, 'How do we know you're not a fraud?' All they want to know is, 'Does it get me what I want?' If it does, they say, 'Let's go!' "