Slow Guy: Chapter 5 Recommitment
1 Happy Halloween
Saturday morning, Jake was up early and on the phone with Jules and Vince. He explained that there was more work to do. They agreed to meet at his apartment in the afternoon.
Georgia’s Mom, Margo was up and had already made coffee. He sat with her and chatted until Georgia got up. She was in a good mood, which he ascribed more to Morgan than to anything else, even though she tried to get him to see that the meeting hadn’t had a bad ending, but a neutral one. She said they were wonderfully professional, especially for their first time putting it all together. All Jake could think about was that they missed catching the whale.
She agreed to meet in the afternoon at his apartment, although they had originally planned to stay through the weekend, no matter what happened. He compromised with her that she could at least ride back with Morgan. He would drive everyone back in her car which she would get from him after the meeting.
Her last words, delivered when she got him away from the others just before he left were, “Jake, you have to find some strength. The team is depending on you, looking toward you for direction, and, frankly, you look like shit. Pull yourself together somehow or Slow Guy isn’t going to make it. They need the real Jake; the one who never loses hope and is always able to find a solution.” That didn’t really do it for him. He just felt worse.
The ride home was largely quiet. At first, they tried to reassure themselves that out of 5 possible investors, 4 were interested, and then they stopped trying. They all spent a little time congratulating each other on the best parts of their presentations and laughing about the parts where they messed up. They worked so hard on this, and they did a great job. I think they deserved a different ending! At least they feel good about it.
Jake couldn’t shake the disappointment that Theodore Forstmann, the only professional investor, wasn’t at all interested. He pretended to be focusing on his driving because he just couldn’t think of anything positive to say. He was glad that Amanda, Charlie and Justin got along as well as they did. No one said anything negative. The children did not get into a fight when the parent was upset. This was something to be grateful for. After a while, they all seemed to be asleep. He turned on the radio in an attempt to distract himself.
Everything he had been reading about business warned him that they would have to overcome obstacles. Successful businessmen maintained positivity. He knew from Anthony Robbins and NLP that he should focus on the good and make the negative small. Every time he would mentally do that, and as soon as his conscious control let go, the image of Theodore Forstmann would be back in the front of his memory, saying that he was not at all interested. Jake would let the tape continue to the part where he explained that he was really only interested in things that moved, and Jake knew from his history that he was a guy who liked airplanes and fast cars. I know that people invest in the things that appeal to them when they have a choice. This should put my fears and disappointment at bay. I should feel better now, but I don’t.
When Forstmann was leaving, Jake had noticed that his car was unusual. Jake asked him about it and then he invited Jake and Morgan to walk out with him to look at it. It was a Panoz, an aluminum sports car built in Georgia. It was a beauty. Forstmann touched his car the way my father used to stroke my mother. It was embarrassing. Morgan knew about the car and could talk about it intelligently. “180 mph top speed, and 0 to 60 in 4.2 seconds.” As Morgan said, “The limited availability of the Esperante GTLM involves matching a super-charged and inter-cooled 4.6L V-8 with a 6-speed manual transmission to result in world-class performance, handling and control.” Well, now that I think about it. If a person was going to get silly over a car, the Panoz would be the one to lose your virginity over.
But, knowing that his passion was for speed did not help. Jake got stuck at the picture of Forstmann’s clapping Morgan on the back before he left and the two smiling at each other as if they had just become fast friends. Why can’t I make that picture smaller and duller, or keep it smaller for more than a minute? Perhaps this is the program of an older brother. As soon as there was a baby in the house, Mom’s attention was divided. Many men would be jealous of the car. I don’t give a hoot about the car. I would wish him well if he had shown more interest in Slow Guy. It is the instant friendship with Morgan paired with the total disinterest in Slow Guy that is so galling. The dark angels were angels too.
Ho’oponopono. I love you. Please transmute this program. Please forgive me. Thank you.
I don’t feel better…. Look at Amanda sleeping so peacefully, seeming to know that everything is going her way, as the song goes. OK then. For Slow Guy and the group, I’ve got another hour at least before we’re through the tunnel…. Dr. Hew Len said that even if you don’t feel the love, say it anyway. Just keep saying it and you will. Ho’oponopono….
As Jake approached the Midtown Tunnel, he called Vince who was with Jules. They had been waiting for his call while at the Farmer’s Market in Union Square. They headed over to his apartment.
They all arrived at about the same time. As Jake parked, he saw them up the street and waved. They would just have to wait a bit for Georgia. Meanwhile, they headed upstairs and he called out for food. Amanda made coffee. He noticed she was humming and just in that instant, he was reminded of how happy he was with her and smiled. Charlie, Vince and Jules cleared the conference/dining table. Jake called Georgia on her cell phone next. She and Morgan were just coming out of the tunnel. She asked if she could bring Morgan to the meeting. Apparently he had a proposal for them.
It was Jake’s agenda. He didn’t ask the team but instantly agreed for a number of reasons. Morgan had offered to help before, he had already proved that he could achieve business success. He did ho’oponopono, and Jake intuitively trusted him. Georgia said that they would be there in a few minutes. Meanwhile, he and Charlie laughed that they seemed to be chug-a-lugging coffee.
When Georgia and Morgan arrived, and sat at the table, Jake noticed that it was full. This must be the way King Arthur felt once Lancelot joined them. They had started with 4, Justin, Charlie, Vince and me. Then we added Georgia and Amanda to the table that seated 8. With Morgan at the table, we still had one guest chair, and the foot of the table available for presentations. It is complete this way.
Jake never intended to summarize their presentation. Georgia had agreed to do it since she had a positive memory of it, so she started the meeting. This was a first. They don’t seem to mind. Is it this easy to give up leadership? Is that why Georgia warned me to pull it together? Charlie and Justin then added all the comments they had heard both during and after the meeting and at dinner, most of which were positive. Jake’s impression of the meeting from their description was far brighter than his own had been. Morgan then added a very positive comment from Theodore Forstmann before he left in his fast car. “It’s an interesting project but that group would succeed if they were selling cows to India,” he had said to Morgan. Jake must have missed it because he was caught in his internal maelstrom.
Afterwards, the discussion was excited and positive. Vince and Jules seemed anxious to start on the needs assessment, if only someone would explain what it was and how to conduct it. The others laughed. Georgia promised to explain it before the end of the meeting.
Georgia looked toward Jake, and he stood to introduce Morgan. He explained who Morgan was, starting from his connection to Will O’Neil and Pre Paid Legal, to his offer to introduce them to some business people who are looking for investments. I will leave any description of his relationship to Georgia to one of them….
Morgan took over at the foot of the table. He smiled, and the team smiled with him. He was clearly excited about this. Ho’oponopono…. “Jake left out one connection with your team,” he said. “Georgia and I have started dating and although I usually have a rule not to discuss business on personal time, I have made an exception for your business because it is so exciting at this time.”
This was no surprise to Charlie or Justin, who had seen them at dinner, or to Vince, who had seen them leave Amanda’s dinner party together. The kundalini had glowed like an aura between them at that first meeting. It was still there, and perhaps a couple of degrees brighter, Vince thought. So it was really only news to Jules, but everyone clapped as if this formal announcement was made for Georgia. She was radiant, but she had been beaming since they had arrived.
Morgan continued. “As Jake mentioned, I had told him that I have associates who are looking for investments other than the stock market. I wanted to speak with you today, Happy Halloween by the way, because next Saturday is our monthly meeting. Many of the folks I’m thinking about will be in town. If you could put together a meeting for the late afternoon, I could guarantee there would be several potential investors. We’re going to be at the New Yorker Hotel near Madison Square Garden. If you could meet us there, we’d have all the audio visual equipment you’d ever need, and a flip chart easel if that’s your preference.
Jake looked at the group, and they were nodding, “yes”. What was there to lose? At the least, it would be another opportunity to dress up for a presentation. And, it would be nice to have it in town so everyone can be there. “Absolutely, Morgan. We’d love to do it and how can we thank you for the opportunity?” They don’t have as much money as Forstmann, but they probably can match Chenault. Our needs are fairly modest right now….
Morgan chuckled. “You can take us out to dinner afterwards if anyone signs on. How is that for an incentive? Is that hot or hot?”
Jake didn’t even have to ask. His guys had been, both individually and as a group, pushing him to take them out. They hadn’t been out as a full group for months and months. He was embarrassed to admit that he couldn’t even remember the last time they had been out as a group. – Well, unless the time rescuing Charlie counts…. But that shouldn’t count because they only sponged off Jules that night. If Morgan’s group was half as energetic and entertaining as he was, it would be a great time.
“Hot and done,” Jake said firmly, and held out his hand to shake on it, half afraid that Morgan would spit on his first. This is the best I’ve felt since our presentation yesterday. Thank goodness that’s over.
Morgan smiled, “Well done,” and shook his hand solidly, without any school yard bravado.
The team, which seemed filled tonight with group energy, or group life, clapped again and cheered as if they had all been wired to some stage command center, and a stage hand flipped their switch.
“’Bout time,” Justin exclaimed. “You, Jake, are the cheapest guy I’ve ever worked with. Not only do you get away without paying us, but you bring us in on weekends, make us work nights, and sometimes we have to take a day off our paying jobs to do what we need to do for Slow Guy!”
“Yes,” Vince chimed in. “It’s about time you at least promised us a dinner out. I think you should take us out even if we don’t hook an investor at that meeting!”
“Hey,” Jake said, “I buy you dinner every time we have a meeting.”
“Almost always Chinese,” Charlie added softly. Jake only heard him because he was sitting right next to him, but he could see that Morgan heard him as well as Charlie continued. “Frankly, my little sister spends more on her play dates.”
Morgan was laughing now, and winking at Georgia. “Tell you what, Jake. These guys have you. You must really be a cheap son-of-a-gun. Don’t think I haven’t noticed that no kids even rang your bell for candy tonight and it’s a good thing because you only have about 5 candy bars in the bowl…. I generally take my team out after one of these all day trainings, so if we can join Slow Guy for dinner, I’ll pay for my guests but I will pick the restaurant. However, if you do get an investor, you pay for everyone….”
Jake grinned, and then frowned. “If I’m paying, don’t I get to pick the restaurant?”
“Not this time,” Justin budded in. “We just don’t trust your taste in restaurants, Jake. We’d like to give Morgan a try, right guys?”
They all agreed, to a man, including Amanda who seemed to be enjoying Jake’s predicament.
“All right then,” Jake agreed. “But, unless our investor gives us cash, I might have to take out a loan….”
Business concluded, Morgan excused himself so they could continue with their planned meeting.
Later that night, when everyone had gone, Amanda quietly stayed behind. After locking the door, she took his face between her two hands and stared intently into his eyes, seeming to look beyond the eye itself to some place where his soul might reside. He wasn’t sure, but had never felt that he was so closely studied as at that particular moment. I could breathe more easily if my stomach didn’t tighten up every time she looks at me that way….
He waited, determined to continue breathing until she broke the stare. And, his patience was rewarded when she broke it with a kiss and then said, “I can hardly stand it.” She explained. “You are just too handsome, too talented and too smart!”
His arms slipped around her waist, and he waited for her to slide up closer to him, and to resume the kiss. “And you, Ms Haggerty, take my breath away.” Inside, Jake was trembling as he always did when he was near Amanda, and felt the fire begin to build as she moved up against him, slipped her hands under his shirt and began to lift it over his shoulders, and then over his head. Her fingers tickled his skin and he shuddered as he lifted his arms.
“Sometimes…usually, you make me feel like we’re on a canoe headed toward the rapids…” he said.
“And sometimes you make me feel like a kernel of corn about to pop…” she answered, “and I’m not sure I can keep it all together.”
He was moving backwards toward the bed, and each was taking turns removing one item of clothing from the other. “Your skin is magnificent; sometimes like snow, cooling me when I think I will explode from the heat, and other times, like fire, burning deep into my marrow. Always it is the softest, smoothest substance….”
“And, the feel of your muscles trembling just under your skin…” she started to say just before they reached the bed and he turned and lifted her onto the loft bed in one motion before climbing up after her. She laughed and climbed under the comforter just before he dove in after her.
That week, they busied themselves calling on as many corporations as they could. Justin got to meet with a girl he knew in the HR department at Am Ex and Jules visited several corporate headquarters of banks. Jake was delighted that Jules seemed to be both unrelenting at making cold calls and adept at getting appointments. And, he was coming back with good information, in addition to some commitments to purchase.
He would arrive like clockwork at 7:30 am to plan his calls, and then he was on the phone beginning to reach people by 8:15 am. Jake watched him be rejected over and over again, and each time he picked up the phone again within a couple of minutes.
This was a good discipline for Jake and Amanda as well. Whether she stayed over, or he was at her place, they were up and at work at Jake’s apartment by 7:30 am. On the chance that something could possibly interfere with that, Jake had given Jules a key.
“How do you do it, Jules?” he asked. “Cold calling can’t be as easy as you make it seem, and you are just as charming after 10 rejections as you were with the first call…. I know your motto, ‘some will, some won’t, so what, next’ but I would think there would be some disinterest or something in your voice, and there’s not….”
Jules looked up from his calling list and smiled. “One of my mentors at Xerox told me that every call is worth $25 no matter what they say. That was our average commission divided by 100. He figured that we’d make a sale if we made 100 calls. As long as we were prepared the rejection had nothing to do with us, but with their current needs. After he said that, I began making calls easily.” He grinned. “It’s a different product, but the lesson was internalized. The faster I make calls, the faster we make money.”
Georgia had worked up a simple “Intent to Purchase” form, and had gotten it approved by their “legal department” over at Pre Paid Legal. It didn’t commit the company to an actual purchase, but it gave them a reason to add another appendix to their business plan. This was what Jules was taking to his meetings. Of these leads, they expected to have a good ratio of actual sales when the time came.
Jules’ information or questions from corporate HR departments included the ability to pick up email via phone. They were going to go with a simple phone originally, since many of the execs would already have a phone, but they were reminded that if the exec was not sitting in his module, he still needed a phone that would alert him to incoming emails as well as voice mails and text messages. So, they upgraded their prices to include a phone that would have vision and internet access.
Potential customers also asked what the alternative to solar power would be in the case of a week long storm or series of storms. Charlie went to work and expanded the design for battery storage pack that would store enough energy while the sun was out to last 10 days, depending on heating or air conditioning demands. Originally, they were only storing enough for 72 hours, planning on the frequency and duration of nor’easters in the New England states. He also added a storage cell to be connected to household electricity with a special converter which would allow it either to be recharged or to protect the household from blackout. This upgrade cost very little, so they kept the price structure, but updated their marketing materials.
They drew the line at adding a refrigerator or cooking facility. This was not a mobile home, but a mobile office that would usually be stored a few feet from one’s home. If the executive wanted lunch, he could walk those few feet to go and get it. They didn’t want corporations to feel they were subsidizing someone’s guest house.
Another idea coming from Jules’ meetings that affected marketing was that a module could be the answer for the summer Hampton’s crowd. These nomads contributed unintentionally to the degradation of the Long Island Expressway between May and September from expressway to slo-way. If they had access to modules, most could continue to work, and still remain at the cottage for the length of their rental period. This would save 6 man hours of commute time per day, and that much air pollution, for each executive allowed to work via module. This would also save, from Georgia’s and Jake’s point of view, 2 extra hours a day of commute time for the year-round commuters who are inconvenienced by the extra summer traffic. This same scenario would hold true for each of the popular summer rental areas especially those with limited access, such as Cape Cod, the New Jersey Shore, and the outer banks of Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina but also would hold true of the lake areas of the mid west and all the other ocean and mountain areas of the both coasts. Jake was going to do some research on winter resort areas such as Maine, Colorado and Utah. Charlie had already built in enough insulation to withstand both hot and cold climates.
It was a busy and exciting week for the team. They approached the weekend meeting with the Pre Paid Legal investors with renewed enthusiasm and belief in the Slow Guy module.
Saturday morning arrived and the team assembled at Jake’s for breakfast. Vince, who lived the closest, was picking it up and bringing it with him. When Jake made the invitation, he had planned on cooking.
“Don’t bother about breakfast,” Justin had said. “Vince knows a great Cajun place that has wonderful food, and you’ll bring us a spread, won’t you Vince?”
Jake protested, “It’s a bit spicy, don’t you think? For breakfast?”
“No,” Justin insisted. “There are choices and Vince will do great. You shou’dn’t have to worry about every meal, and you’re treating us to dinner, don’t forget.”
Jake smiled, “Yes.” Shrugging and tilting his head he said, “It seems more like Morgan’s party….”
Vince had reassured him. “After we make the sale, it will absolutely be your party, our party. In the meantime, I will happily take care of breakfast with enough variety that Justin’s love of spice and Amanda’s delicate palate will both be satisfied. If you would just put on a big pot of coffee, I would rather not carry that and your coffee is impressive for a former sailor.”
Jake had finally agreed to give up all control over food for the day, with the exception of coffee, milk and sugar.
They spent the day, checking and fine tuning their materials, and practicing their presentations for each other. Amanda had developed some slides to use alternatively to the flip chart, and they practiced changing the slides at a comfortable speed. Jake and Justin developed some amusing lines, if not jokes, to interject into the presentations, such as “You can have it placed at your wife’s house, or your mistresses’ house, but not both.” And, there was the warning about the camera. “This is large enough to have a meeting or conference with 6 people in the module, but remember if you are having a non-business meeting to turn off the camera and the microphone.” And the solar power was not spared by the quip, “This runs on solar energy, so don’t have it placed under the portico of your country estate.”
They headed off to the New Yorker Hotel on 8th Avenue in the early afternoon. They piled into 3 cabs. Vince and Justin in the first waited until Georgia and Amanda arrived, and they helped carry all their gear upstairs to the ballroom which was one flight up. Jules and Jake were close behind and saw them all head upstairs.
There were guest tickets waiting for them, and they found Morgan standing at the back of the room with some of his apprentices. He pointed out some available seats. They were able to hear only the last speaker. He was a young ED from Long Island and he spoke passionately about following up on your clients and treating Pre Paid Legal like a real business. That seemed to be good advice to Jake. Follow-up was something he hadn’t needed in the Navy. He finished a job, and then they moved on. He had never gone back to ask the deck whether it was happy with its new coat of deck paint….
When this last PPL speaker was finished, one of Morgan’s apprentices, already an Executive Director in her 20’s, got up to thank everyone for their time, send them hopes that they heard today what they needed to hear, and a wish that their business will take off this week. She finished with a reminder to get into action, and go out there and hand out DVD’s and to make the follow-up phone calls and set up the appointments for Private Business Receptions with their prospects. The audience cheered and began to leave.
Jake and his team waited while Morgan and his group said goodbye to those leaving, or answered quick questions. Others were selling materials, DVD’s and magazines featuring the business. The enthusiasm was striking. But, most notable was that Morgan seemed to make a personal contact with almost everyone as they walked out. His eyes would light up as he would catch someone’s attention, and he was hugging many of those in his vicinity. He was calling out the names of those who couldn’t get to him, or waving and giving each a broad smile. And, Jake noticed that all those people were smiling as they left as if someone had just told them that they had won a lottery. Some had clearly won the mega, and some had just won the regular lottery, but practically everyone looked as if they had just been given a great gift.
Jake wanted this profoundly for his sales team. He had read Anthony Robbins and realized that Morgan might have learned this from that mentor. People were electrified and his staff was on fire. Jake remembered how Morgan had made the announcement to the Slow Guy team that almost everyone already knew, and they had cheered anyway. They had been cheering for Morgan. They had been cheering for his enthusiasm. They had been cheering for his happiness. There was no jealousy around Morgan because he offered you freely what you then gave to him, love and respect. This was also Ho’oponopono.
Jake looked at his guys, and did Ho’oponopono for each of them and for the team as a whole. By the time he was finished, Morgan was heading in their direction. Jake noticed one instant of tired in him, like a crack in the energy veneer, and determined to give back some vigor to Morgan who must have been tired after running an all day training without so much as a lunch break.
Jake sent love to Morgan as he walked over, and stood up as enthusiastically as he had ever done. He got out of his chair and joined Morgan in one of the football style, guy to guy hugs he had seen him giving to his young ED’s.
Morgan spoke first, “Hi guys. I am glad to see you all.” He looked Jake in the eye and asked, “Are you all ready? What equipment do you need?”
Jake first looked at Morgan, and gave him a big smile. “We’re happy and grateful to be here, and I thoroughly enjoyed the last speakers. Thank you for giving us this chance.” He looked at the stage. “We have slides for the overhead projector. If you aren’t too many, we’d rather be standing at ground level with you. Would that work out?”
“Certainly,” Morgan agreed. “The device running the overhead is a remote so you can stand anywhere in the room and still control your slides…. We’re about 16 people, local ED’s and a few out of town speakers. I won’t tell you who’s who but let you sell to us all. Just know that there are 3 or 4 guys here who make Chenault seem like a financial peon.”
Jake responded, “Alright then we’re ready. And Morgan, we would be excited to present the company, even if your big investors weren’t even here today. From what I saw of your young apprentices, they are going to be big investors soon….”
Morgan laughed. “Well, don’t be fooled by their ages. One of the big guys is also the youngest. So, why don’t we get started? I’ll help you load your slides.”
The Slow Guy team was ignited. They might have been inspired by the PPL group earlier, or it might have been the way they prepared during the earlier part of the day. Jake had promised himself that he would be up and on target and he didn’t embarrass himself even by comparison with Morgan. Georgia had Morgan to perform for, but even Charlie was inspired. And, Justin had his first chance to do some of the marketing presentation with Amanda, and he was dazzling. Jules presented the sales data, which turned out to be better than they had thought it would be. Out of 36 companies presented to during the previous week, 20 were interested enough to sign Georgia’s Intent to Purchase forms which is over 50%, and 6 others either didn’t have the authority to sign such and agreement, or the right person had been called into a meeting or was out sick, or some such reason that had nothing to do with the product. In essence, only 10 of the companies they met with had turned it down, which is only 28%. Vince did the closing with Jake and he was on fire. They felt great about their company.
Now, Jake had been watching Morgan’s group while the others were presenting, and had good eye contact with them while he was presenting, and he thought a majority of them were nodding excitedly while they listened. He also thought that two of the potentially big investors were central in their audience, both about 34 and talking once in a while together. One was white, and the other black, and they seemed to be friends. Also, there was an elderly black couple in the front row, off to the left side. They were also talking quite a bit during the presentation and seemed interested. And, sitting next to Morgan was a young guy, dressed almost identically to Morgan with monogrammed cuffs and an exquisite watch. He was probably the young investor.
Amanda was her most alluring as she was handing out packages to those who were requesting written information to take with them, and most were requesting it. Jake thought that was a good sign.
Paper clipped to the inside of each packet was a Commitment to Invest form. Morgan now joined Jake on stage. He encouraged anyone with questions to ask them now because soon they were all going out to a well deserved dinner on the house. Jake noticed that he didn’t specify whose house. Jake motioned to Georgia to join them. There were bound to be those questions on expected revenue and profit, and he needed her to answer them.
And, as Jake listened with the PPL investors, he was amazed at Slow Guy’s numbers. Based on a 55% sales rate and 36 contacts per sales representative, with the current staff they could sell $99k per week, at a profit of $41.5k per week. This would pro rate to sales of over $5 million and profits of over $2 million at the end of the first year. And, that would be if they only met with 7500 companies, and if 55% only bought or leased one unit. It was likely that the Fortune 500 Companies would buy more than one if they bought at all because they have so many executives at top levels, that they would not be able to give it to one and not offer it to others at his level.
To make 1029 of units, they only needed $2,985,840 for the first year. Projected sales would pay for this, with an additional $2,162,160 in profits. “For you potential investors, we are offering 5 of you a chance to make a 20% profit/year on an investment of $597,168.” Jake concluded.
Morgan was clearly impressed. “And, my friends, all you have to do today to make sure that you are one of the first year’s investors is to sign that promissory note for $600k. Where are you going to find these kinds of numbers?”
Jake continued, “This is a conservative estimate on a first year company. In the second year, there’s no projected investment and you will still make that same $118k, and in the third and forth and fifth year, the same. That’s a total of 200% return on investment after 5 years. That’s an incredible profit, double even that in the real estate business and this is much less work. Simply sign our agreement, and we can be off to dinner.”
Morgan motioned to Amanda to hand him a packet and he signed his promissory note, or Commitment to Invest on the spot. “Now,” he said, “There’s only room for 4 more of you.”
The two friends in the middle of the room asked one of the young guys to bring up their two forms. They were both from Maryland, Jake noticed. Then the elder man in the front row handed in his. He was from Tennessee. And a young guy from the back made his way forward, the young man with the monogrammed cuffs, and handed in his. He was local, from Long Island.
“This is 5,” Jake announced. “Congratulations to you all. You are now members of the Slow Guy team. If there is anyone else interested, we can put you on a waiting list. Otherwise, let’s go to dinner! Dinner is on me!” I feel like I’m about to explode I feel so good. How can anyone do this on a regular basis? No wonder Forstmann was such an independent … man…. What a feeling! In a little under an hour, we just raised our first year’s costs. We will have checks for $3million in the bank, hopefully, in a few weeks! Ho’oponopono. I love you all! If I have done anything to slow you down or to interfere in your success, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
Morgan moved over and put his arm around Jake. “Then, I’ll take care of transportation. There will be a few cars in front of the hotel with ‘MORGAN’ in the back window. Please fill them up and they will take us all to the restaurant.”
With that, the group filed out and headed, as Jake was to find out only at the end of the ride, to The Four Seasons Restaurant. Everyone was in a great mood, and he was sure that he was about to have the best time he had ever had.
2 Leadership is Needed
Something happens after a great success. The self congratulatory doldrums might easily set in which will encourage a man to sit back and relax. Jake was one of those men. He was as happy, and as satiated as one can be after a big Thanksgiving dinner, and he slowed down. This was not the positive slow down of The Slow Guy, who keeps his mind on the outcome and continues to move forward to reach his goal no matter what the obstacle. This was an absolute slow down with little motion at all. Jake fell into an unplanned, unscheduled vacation. It wasn’t long before the rest of the team realized that he was gone.
Jules was the first to become conscious of it on Monday morning, because it was the only time he had arrived at Jake’s apartment and no one was there. He had the keys and let himself in, but he felt strange. He made phone calls, but without the excitement he usually had. Vince and Justin both went to work at their day jobs and turned in their resignations, one week for Vince and two for Justin, and when they tried to call Jake to let him know, he didn’t pick up his phone so they were also aware fairly early that something was up.
Vince at least called Justin. “Justin,” he said, “you should have seen me. I stood on his desk with my hands over my eyes like a Seneca scout, and when he asked what I was doing, I answered, ‘I just can’t see myself coming to work here one more week.’ ”
Justin laughed and said, “I wrote mine out and handed it to him. Darn, I wish I had talked with you earlier. That’s great, Vince. Congratulations. You definitely win the style points. What did Jake say?”
Vince winced. “Nothing. I mean, I couldn’t reach him. Did he say anything last night, like he was going out of town or anything?” Vince was especially sensitive to such a disappearance. This touched on his childhood issue and it ruined his previous exhilaration at having a share in his own business.
Justin shrugged. “Not to me. Did you try calling Amanda?”
“No. I didn’t want to bother her. She’s been spending a lot of time on our project, and she does have her own company to mind.”
Justin thought some more. “Do you want me to call Georgia? She should be in her office and she almost always knows what Jake and Amanda are doing. If they’re together, she will probably know…. And where else would Jake be if he’s not at home?”
“Yes,” Vince answered. “You call Georgia, and I’ll call Charlie, just on the chance that Jake went out to visit the solar cell manufacturer…. And, he should be resigning too, Charlie I mean. I’ll either congratulate him or encourage him to find a dramatic way to say bye-bye. It’s not often that a guy in his 20’s is able to say ‘so long’ to being an employee.”
Justin laughed again. “Yes, it felt pretty good. The whole thing has become almost unbelievable. What a high. I’ll call you after I talk with Georgia.”
“Ok. I’ll wait for you to call me.” Vince hung up, feeling very mixed. When he thought about the company, and envisioned his life in the next year, he felt great. Georgia had put $70k in the budget as salary, but if they do at least as well as their projections, they will also make $118k in bonus as partners. His salary in the Navy had been less than half the straight salary, and not much more in his publishing job, so the anticipation of doubling his salary was wonderful. But, when he thought about Jake, and his disappearance, he felt lousy. Still, he wasn’t thinking of scroons, at least, not yet. Meanwhile, he would call Charlie and then just do some work while he was waiting for Justin to call back. Ho’oponopono, I love you. I’m sorry if my fears had anything to do with this. Please forgive me. Thank you.
Charlie couldn’t help. He was at work and hadn’t spoken to Jake since their dinner. He had a design he was working on and would hand in a letter of resignation, but he would promise to finish this design before he actually left. They said goodbye and hung up.
About that time, Jules called Vince. “Hey, Buddy, have you heard from Jake? I’m still at his apartment and he’s never arrived.”
“No, Jules. Just do what you can do without him. Justin is calling Georgia and he’ll call me back. I’ll make sure you get called as well.”
So, by ten in the morning, almost everyone on the team had talked with at least one other person about Jake’s absence. It is conceivable that this could have happened on another day, on a day when Jules was sick himself and stayed home, or a day when he was traveling and no one expected to see him, but it was especially onerous on this day when they all wanted to share their happiness and sense of future with him.
Meanwhile, Justin called Georgia. She had spoken to Amanda on Sunday, and Jake was with her. Her guess was that he was still there. She didn’t sound at all pleased and said she would call them as soon as she could. She was just finishing a meeting with her staff.
It took about 20 minutes before Georgia was able to end her meeting and to get to her phone. Amanda answered, sounding fantastically happy which grated on Georgia.
“Why are you so happy?” Georgia blurted out showing her annoyance.
“What?” Amanda asked. “What is wrong? Didn’t we just secure our business for the next five years?”
“Yes, of course,” Georgia softened. “We can’t have Jake showing up early for lunch after just one hurtle….”
Amanda chuckled slightly. “He left late, but he’s on his way downtown. He didn’t have his bike so it will probably take a while and he won’t be able to answer his cell phone while in the subway.” Amanda answered, now sounding a little apologetic.
Georgia said, more softly, “Listen, Amanda. I’m sorry I came on sounding like such a witch, but he’s got more responsibility now than he had last week. You know that. It has made everyone nervous. You and I have both seen new businesses fall apart when the founder lost interest, or stamina, or his passion. This is one challenge met, but there will be others. If he doesn’t stay in the game, there won’t be any Slow Guy.”
“You’re right, Georgia, and I’m sorry for my part in this. It wasn’t just Jake who slept late…. Next Sunday, we sleep at Jake’s apartment, promise.” Ho’oponopono. I love you and am sorry for my weakness. Please forgive me. Thank you.
“Alright, Honey. Please help him to keep focus. – And don’t be distracting him now!” Georgia tried to sound sweet, but she failed. She heard herself sounding more and more bossy as she talked. She thought it was time to end the conversation. Amanda did it for her.
“I know it’s important,” Amanda said. “I will call everyone if I hear from him and he’s not yet at the home office….. Talk to you later.”
Before Georgia had called everyone, Jake had arrived at his apartment. He gave Jules a hug, which was very unusual, before Jules had time to say anything.
“Congratulations, partner,” Jake greeted him cheerfully. “Is there anything I need to know so far this morning? Sorry I’m late, by the way. I came by subway. Ugggh.”
Jules responded, “There’s coffee if you want any. Vince and Justin and Charlie and Georgia were all looking for you…. No one knew where you were.”
Jake was headed toward the coffee pot. He helped himself to coffee and then turned back toward Jules and the table. “I’ll give them all a call back, but first, how are you?” And he joined Jules at the table.
Jules smiled but didn’t know what to say. “I’m used to working independently.”
Jake smiled back, a cautious smile. “I should have called you when I left Amanda’s,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking. I didn’t think about how long it would take.”
Jules kept being surprised by Jake. He was used to authoritarian bosses and family and no one ever apologized to him. This made him feel awkward, but safer than he had ever felt. “I have only been working at half speed this morning,” he confessed. “It was a little strange not knowing where you were, as if you had taken off and left us to mind the store. And,” he ventured into honesty with an authority figure, “it felt a little reminiscent of when my mother used to leave me with my little sisters and brothers for what I thought would be a quick trip to the store, and sometimes it would be hours and hours…. It felt a little reminiscent of that….”
“No.” Jules corrected, “being tricked. Taking care of them meant preparing food, and cleaning up and changing diapers. If I didn’t do all of that then I was beaten. When I got a little older and wiser, as soon as I saw my mother getting ready to go out, I left first even if I had no place to go. That way she had to take the little ones with her and I wasn’t stuck with them.”
Jake smiled in spite of himself. He realized that this had been painful for Jules, but it was a reminder not to make assumptions about people. “So, I stuck you with the kids?”
Jules didn’t laugh. “So it seemed. They were calling every few minutes. And, indeed, I wanted to run off, as you had….”
“Sorry there. Next time, I will call you to give you a heads up,” Jake promised. “And, speaking of that, I guess I’d better give them a call back and find out what was so important…. And, Jules are we ok?”
“Sure,” he affirmed. “Here,” Jules interrupted Jake from getting on to his first calls. “Here is a list of businessmen who would also like a call from you. They are interested in Slow Guy and might give us an appointment, but they wanted to talk with ‘the boss’.”
“Alright. And I will get to them as well.” And, Jake poured another cup of coffee before sitting down at the phone.
Jake called Georgia first, who was in a meeting, but picked up her cell phone since it was him.”
“Jake, I’m in a meeting. Is everything alright?”
“Yes.” He answered quickly, sensitive to her situation.
“Good. Call me later if you need to talk.”
“Will do.” With that, they hung up.
Then he called Vince. “Hey, Vince, it’s me.”
Vince sounded relieved. “Thank goodness, Jake. We had no idea where you might be. It is so unusual for you not to be at work before any of us are… Of course, you work from home.” He laughed at that idea.
“I know.” And, Jake laughed with him. “Today, I was at Amanda’s and I apologize for being late. I didn’t have my bike and it took a little longer in the subway than I thought. What a mess at that hour! But, I’m here now. What’s up?”
“Whew,” Vince said. “Yes, the subways are a challenge…. I quit my job and wanted you to know.”
“Great,” Jake said. “And how much time did you give them?”
“To the end of the week. I didn’t think they would be a buyer of Slow Guy, so I didn’t give them more consideration than they give to any of their interns.” Vince then proudly described how he stood on his boss’ desk.
Jake laughed and laughed at the idea. “That’s priceless, Vince, as they say.”
“Thanks. So, you’ll be on board next week…. Maybe we should start looking for larger headquarters?”
“Soon,” Vince agreed. “Maybe we should wait for the checks to cash?”
Jake started. “They will all come in, and they will all clear. These are reputable businessmen with enough experience to know what they were signing before they signed. Please, no doubts.”
“OK, boss. I almost forgot to stay positive. Ho’oponopono.”
“Just watch that,” Jake warned in a playful tone. “Listen, I’ve got a few calls to make. Call later if anything comes up.”
“Will do,” and Vince hung up.
Jake then found the number for Justin and made the call. Justin didn’t answer and Jake got his voice mail. “Hey, Justin, it’s me. I’m at the office. Sorry I missed your call earlier. Call back when you have a break.”
He then called Amanda. “Hi.”
“Hi,” she answered.
“I was just calling the guys back. This is happening. Vince already quit….”
“Justin did too and gave them two weeks,” she added. “I spoke with him a little while ago. He had to go into a meeting and just had to make sure everything was ok.”
“Good for him. They didn’t let any grass grow did they?”
“No they didn’t, or moss either,” she chuckled. “Are you ok?”
“Yes, I’m fine. Jules and I are here.”
“OK, then, I will get back to my project….” She mentioned.
“OK. I just wanted to check in. It seems I should have done that with the team earlier.”
“Yes,” she said. “They were concerned, especially with the changes.”
“So, I will go then,” he said. “Ho’oponopono.”
“Are you trying to say, ‘I love you?’” she asked.
“Well, I love you too…. Say ‘hi’ to Jules for me,” she responded.
“Will do.” And he hanged up. “Jules, Amanda says ‘hi’.”
He was listening on the phone to an HR person, so he just waved and nodded.
Jake looked at the list of calls he had to make for Jules, and then he put it down again. First, he wanted to speak with Morgan who he dialed.
“Morgan, it’s me, Jake Classen.”
“Hey, how does it feel?” Morgan asked.
“Fantastic!” Jake admitted. “I enjoyed meeting your guys, and certainly intend to enjoy partnering with them and you. Thank you for your help….”
“No problem. We expect to make money on this deal as long as you keep your focus. And that’s no hardship for us….”
“It’s a good team I’m working with,” Jake acknowledged. “It’s not just me or I would have waved your guys off….”
Laughing, Morgan responded, “Don’t try to avoid responsibility, now, even in jest. Ho’oponopono is not just for healing. It’s for life.”
“Alright. No more humility. I just wanted to thank you for your support.”
“No more false humility. We all have plenty to be humble about, but remember, your leadership is not part of that,” Morgan promised him.
“It’s not always easy to talk with you,” Jake said honestly.
“No,” Morgan admitted. “Do you want a mentor or a cheer leader?”
Jake was again taken aback. He hadn’t thought of asking Morgan to be a mentor although he admired him tremendously. He had Bruce, and hadn’t considered that Morgan could also be in that role. Their skills were quite different…. “Mentor,” he answered quickly.
“Then don’t expect the cheerleader.”
“Got it. And, thanks again.” Jake tried to close.
“Good.” Morgan responded. “Let’s talk each morning. Check in with me tomorrow before 10am if you don’t mind. I’m not usually out early but I’m meeting with a new business associate tomorrow.”
“Will do,” Jake answered. This time Morgan let him go and they both hung up.
He felt grateful, but also a little odd that he suddenly had someone to report to each day. Bruce was there when Jake called him, and was a great asset, but he believed in a light touch on the wheel…. When he was in the Navy, no one ever watched over his team. They expected the work to be done, to be done well, and to be done ahead of schedule. This was more than odd, it was slightly disturbing he decided.
And, this was not something he could bring up with Jules. He didn’t want his team to be part of any mentoring relationship he might feel he needed. “I’m going out for a little while,” he announced to Jules. “Do you need anything?”
“No, boss,” Jules said. “I’m fine. I have some appointments this afternoon. My schedule is on the computer….”
“Thanks,” Jake said. “I’ll check it later…. Good luck to you.” And, Jake went out for a walk.
He didn’t take the list of callbacks that Jules had given to him, but figured he’d be back in a few minutes. To call people back right away was one of the principles of business that Jake had not yet learned. Although the team’s enthusiasm and normal attendance to responsibility and schedule had taken them this far, there were lessons they were going to have to learn. Some businessmen call these lessons tuition. Sometimes the cost was in dollars, sometimes it cost you the respect of staff, and sometimes it cost you self respect which was the hardest to win back.
3 Teamwork expands
On Wednesday evening they had their normal weekly meeting. This was to be the first time in weeks that they hadn’t needed to prepare a major presentation. Jake was looking forward to a couple of hours with the team to plan, and to gloat! And that was exactly the word he used on the agenda when he wrote it up Wednesday morning.
He also hadn’t seen Amanda since the weekend, and was looking forward to seeing her. She had a big project she was finishing and needed some long nights to get it finished in time for her presentation Wednesday afternoon. I want to call her, but I don’t have to. Just hold on for a little while. You can call her around lunch time to tell her good luck and that you will be thinking of her. And, then she’ll have her meeting, and then she’ll be here for our meeting. And then she’ll stay over…soft skin… beautiful legs…
“Jake,” Jules interrupted. “Sorry to interrupt the agenda, but I just spoke to Mr. Dean at Citibank, and he said that he still hasn’t heard from you. What’s up with that?”
“What do you mean?” Jake asked. What’s he talking about? Who’s Dean?
“He was the second or third guy on the list I gave you Monday….” Jules answered.
Oh, ohh. What did I do with that list? Jake started to leaf through the folders on his side of their work table. He remembered coming back on Monday and putting it somewhere safe…. “I’ve got the list here somewhere,” he said, trying to sound confident.
Jules didn’t say anything, although Jake knew that he was waiting for an answer. He just sat there watching Jake look. Jules would not say anything. Jules will not, for a long time, be able to speak truth to power because he carried still the fear of authority from his childhood. He wanted to stay an integral part of this team. He enjoyed making the business contacts he was making as a founding partner of Slow Guy. He enjoyed presenting the company and enjoyed the positive feedback he was getting. He would not put at risk his job.
But, if he had been able to speak to Jake that day, he would have yelled at Jake the way his supervisor yelled at him when he was at Xerox. He would have informed him that it is akin to suicide to ignore a potential customer, and that he was pissed that his hard work getting them interested in Slow Guy had now been sabotaged. Jules would have let him know that he was furious! Because he was afraid of authority, he couldn’t say anything even mildly critical to Jake.
Jake found the folder with the list in it. He had labeled it, “Critical: To Do” and then on Tuesday morning, he had buried it. He could remember now. He remembered his sense that he should make those calls right away, and he remembered ignoring that inspiration when Charlie had called with a question about his blueprints. Jake had shuffled a number of folders in order to find Charlie’s folder and he never gave another thought to “Critical: To Do”.
Ho’oponopono. Send the program that allowed me to be distracted, and the program that allowed me to put off the calls, to the light. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.
He showed the folder to Jules, and took responsibility. “I’m sorry Jules. I didn’t call any of these people.” He pulled out the list. “Citibank is here, and Morgan Stanley, and Helmsley, and Time-Life, and Exxon…. This is a great list that I just blew off. I am sorry, Jules. There is nothing I can say except that it won’t happen again….”
Jules looked at him, and didn’t know what to say. He felt overwhelmed with something he didn’t recognize. So he resorted to the response of the inarticulate. “It’s ok.”
Jake shook his head and looked at Jules with sympathy. “You know it’s not. You probably know better than I that it’s not ok. It will not happen again. We’re getting a file cabinet, and I will do what I have seen real executives do. Georgia’s father, Bruce, keeps a clean desk with nothing on it but one folder, like this one, his active ‘to do’ list. He keeps everything else filed except the work that is current on the ‘to do’ list.” Ho’oponopono. Whatever program is keeping Jules from being more honest with me, please send it to the light. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I love you.
Jules felt a little better and looked somewhat relieved. Jake was not like his father, or his grandfather he was reminded….. “It’s ok,” he said again, this time as if to reassure himself. “Get a big file cabinet. We’re going to have a lot of customer files.”
Jake laughed. “Alright. I will get two: one for sales and one for manufacturing and finance. Charlie and Georgia will have to learn to share, but then I will be able to find their stuff when they need it.”
Later that day, Georgia called to say that she was on her way. She had picked up the mail from the Post Office box and she had checks. She sounded excited.
Jake, finally attending to his business and remembering his NLP, took the excitement of her announcement and called the names on Jules’ list. He remembered a Brian Tracey story about an entrepreneur who had traveled to NYC from his home in the MidWest to present his new business. He wasn’t even getting interest from the first 8 appointments out of 10. He called his wife that evening, with two appointments to go the following day. She told him not to worry, that they had just won the lottery for $2 million. The next day he kept the appointments anyway, just to be polite, and both signed on as investors!
Jake made the phone calls to everyone on Jules’ list. He didn’t get 100% enthusiasm out of his excitement, but 3 out of 5, or 60% is not bad. It could have been more costly. Citibank, Exxon and Time-Life agreed to give him an appointment the following week. He would go to these meetings with Jules who was the Slow Guy senior salesman because that had been his promise. For other presentations next week and thereafter, each of the sales team would have to spend time with Jules once they were able to start full time.
“Hey, Jules.” Jake interrupted his paperwork. “Could you write up some sales tips, or a training guide for the other men? I’m going to ask you to take them out with you until they all are as comfortable as you are. You’re our senior guy. Is that alright with you?”
Jules looked delighted. “Do you want it for tonight?”
“If you can, it would be great. It’s important to finish the report on your work first. This is so hot; I want the guys to know….”
The team assembled in the early evening. Jake and Amanda had set out the Chinese food that Justin liked so well. Jake put the agenda out with copies of Jules’ report, and a blank yellow pad at each place. Georgia was on the computer preparing a spread sheet that would be included. This was the first time they had any income or assets to show. This was exciting. She had mentioned that Morgan would like to come to some of their meetings, but that he wouldn’t come without an invitation from Jake. Jake made a note to call him before the next meeting.
Justin and Vince arrived almost at the same time. Before Vince was upstairs, Justin was ringing, and laughing that he had followed Vince most of the way along 14th Street but in spite of his calling, Vince had never turned around. Charlie was about 10 minutes late and quickly apologized. They had politely started on the Chinese food without looking at the documents until he got there.
Once everyone was assembled, Jake welcomed them all formally, and congratulated them on the job they had done wooing the investors from Pre Paid Legal. He turned over the head of the table position to Georgia. She happily directed them to the spread sheet and the first three deposits for Slow Guy. She announced that as they were able to join the group full time, there would me money for salaries. They all cheered and gave her the dates they would start. Charlie might take a month to finish his project at work. All else were ready to start almost immediately.
Next on the agenda was Jules, with his sales report. They didn’t have any product yet, but based on his collection of “Intent to purchase” documents, they were ahead of their budget projections. Once the other two salesmen were on board, he expected they would be able to double their projections. More cheers for the team.
Jules hadn’t finished his training materials, so Jake took the floor and explained how Jules would spend time with Vince who was starting first, and then Justin. They looked relieved since neither had any experience in sales, unless you count a Christmas job that Justin once had in New York where he sold Sultana Stockings for a Persian firm. It was owned by the father of a classmate in college. As you can imagine, Justin was good at selling stockings to women. He didn’t think that it would correlate with selling to corporate HR executives.
Amanda was the only person in their Marketing and Sales Department who was not going out on calls. Although, she had prepared the presentation materials, so in a pinch, she would be able to do so. Georgia was the entire Fiscal Division, with her father as a per diem advisor, and Charlie (who was good at math) would be trained to help in a crisis, or when she was on vacation. Similarly, Charlie was the entire Engineering Division, yet he would train Georgia and Jake to read the blueprints in case their builder called and needed clarification when he wasn’t available. Jake promised he would order business cards in the morning.
Jake was the Executive Director, and would be operating without a secretary for a while. They would hire a bookkeeper before they hired a secretary. Anyone there would be answering phones. They agreed that night on a format and they also agreed (at Jules insistence) never to let the phone ring more than 3 times.
As Jake was talking, he thought of one more item. He was inspired to talk about one more issue that had been on the table since Monday morning. It made him a bit uncomfortable to bring it up, but he felt something had gone from the group between Saturday and Monday, and he wanted to regain it. Ho’oponopono, I love you. I am sorry for anything I’ve done to cause the rift in our team. Please transmute this program to the light and forgive me. Thank you.
“There’s one more thing I want to talk with you about,” Jake introduced himself. “On Saturday, we all had a part in a great performance. The audience was impressed, and so was I. I believe we were all proud of our group, our team, our company – The Slow Guy.” He waited while his guys cheered. “But then on Monday morning I made a mistake. I was not a good team member because I was not at my post and I hadn’t told anyone where I would be. I am promising you all, that nothing like that will ever happen again. I am also promising you that this is a unique team. Everyone is critically important. In everything I have learned and read about, no company can survive on one leg. We need four to be stable: Sales and Marketing, Engineering, and Fiscal as much as we need an Executive. So, I want you to know that Georgia has given us all the exact same salary in the budget, and I will never take more than any of you are getting. As the company grows, we all will benefit, but none of us will benefit more than any other…. That’s all I have to say. Thank you.”
“Jake,” Charlie said, “that’s fine for now. We’ll be living on borrowed money for a while, but once we are up and running, there will have to be some adjustments to match the outside world.”
“Yes,” Vince added, “and you will be carrying most of the responsibility. Your salary should reflect that.”
Justin added, “And you have carried the expenses from your personal money so far. You are the founder and should be adequately compensated.”
“We’ve never talked about this before, because we didn’t have any money before,” Jake quipped and they laughed. “But, you are all equal partners. I could not have done any of this without you and you all know it if you pay attention to your hearts….” Ho’oponopono. I love you. Please transmute any program that prevents me from hearing you or any in my group. Please forgive me for having my ears blocked in the past. I’m sorry. Thank you. “…So, we are and will remain equal partners. If you want, I will save the receipts for the Chinese food in the future….”
The proposal was made formally, seconded and passed unanimously. From now on, Slow Guy would pay for their dinner meetings.
4 Molehills and Mountains
Jake called Morgan the next morning and asked if they could meet, mentor to mentee. He happily agreed to meet for lunch if Jake was free, which he was. Jules was going to be out on appointments for the afternoon, so Morgan agreed to come to Jake’s apartment/office.
He arrived on time. Jake had made a pasta salad the night before and had some small steaks that he cooked when Morgan got there. Morgan liked his meat rare, so it wasn’t going to take long to cook. Almost by the time Morgan had washed his hands and fixed himself some coffee, Jake had the meal on the table. Amanda had left one of her breads so he had fresh bread to offer. But, Morgan hadn’t really come for the food. He had come to help Slow Guy’s administrator.
Jake was feeling shy with Morgan and he didn’t have a clue as to the reason. He was doing Ho’oponopono and it wasn’t noticeably helpful.
Morgan got right to it. “Jake, I’m glad you called me. What was it you had in mind?”
“Nothing specific, I don’t think. I made some mistakes on Monday and was disappointed in myself. And, although the group started as a mastermind group, my partners have become my staff. I don’t feel comfortable talking with them about my weakness or my doubts because they are all looking to me for the answers.”
“And, you think that is reasonable?” Morgan asked.
“Well, don’t most bosses have the answers, right or wrong?”
“Yes and no. A good executive’s decisions are right more than 50%, and a great executive is right over 65% or 70% according to an MBA colleague of mine.” Morgan stated.
“A ‘C’ is what they would get, and they’re great?” Jake exclaimed in disbelief.
“Yes. Does that surprise you?” Morgan asked.
“Of course” Jake said. “I would have expected a 95%”
“And that’s why you are feeling so lousy. You are asking more of yourself than any knowledgeable businessman would. You have to know that your investors will be tickled pink with 70% or 80%” he said. “To expect anything more than that is doing yourself a disservice.”
“According to your grading system, I’m doing pretty well,” Jake stated with a little more assurance. “I still feel badly about Monday.”
Morgan smiled and cut a piece of steak. “I’ve given you a break on decisions, but behavior is another matter. You must discipline yourself to always behave in a way that is beyond reproach. You can’t be lax or sloppy. You must always follow through and don’t ever put anything off that is at the top of your “to do” list…. This steak is perfect, by the way.”
“If I knew as much about business as I do about cooking….”
“It’s not so different. You have an anticipated outcome, and you plan what you need to do and when you need to do it in order to have it all come together at the same time.” Morgan took a bite of the pasta salad. “This is delicious as well. I would have taken anything, but I’m glad you didn’t order Chinese….”
“It’s a little frightening now that it’s no longer just a group of guys getting together to toss some ideas around,” Jake said.
Morgan frowned a little, not a critical frown, but more the frown of a priest asked about a shaky marriage. “This is what you asked for. This is the stress of responsibility.”
Jake shook his head. “In the Navy, I was trained to fight for our country. I was in charge of a team of men who were also prepared to give up their lives if necessary. Yet, we were part of such a large team that no one person was irreplaceable. Even so, we worked hard to be the best at whatever task we were assigned….”
Morgan was nodding. “And, that’s all you have to do now. Georgia has told me how you have organized your team into work divisions. As long as every man does what he did in the U.S. Navy, which is to do the best he possibly can at his detail, each team will be the best, and the company will do well. There is no way you can fail.”
“I like the sound of that….” Jake seemed a slight bit more relaxed.
“That’s all you need to hang on to. Trust your team, and trust your advisors.” Morgan was solidly reassuring.
“It still is frightening.”
“Of course. I don’t think there’s ever been an entrepreneur who hasn’t been frightened much of the time. It’s an act of creation to birth a business. That’s formidable.”
“Morgan, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this time,” Jake stated. “If I have other questions, more specific, will I be able to reach you when you’re traveling?”
“Absolutely.” Morgan handed him a card. “Don’t give this to anyone else. This is my personal cell, and personal email. Only you, my mother, three other guys I’ve mentored, and Georgia have these numbers. If I’m in the middle of a presentation the cell will be off, and use the email. I check it from the phone in between sessions.”
Jake was impressed. “Why are you taking me on like this?” Bruce had known me for a long time, and I won some races for him. I was dating his daughter. Morgan hardly knows me and I’m not part of his PPL Company.
“Harry Freeman and Will O’Neill.”
I’d forgotten that connection to Morgan….Jake nodded. “And, Georgia?”
Morgan laughed. “Yes, and Ho’oponopono. I believe in you, and there’s my $600,000.”
“Not to mention that of your colleagues….” Jake added, smiling. He seemed to feel better.
Morgan had been eating while talking and listening, and was almost finished his lunch. He cut one piece of bread and buttered it carefully. “Not to mention that they trust me and I’d hate to disappoint them, but they can afford to lose the money if it comes to that, which it won’t. I’ve disappointed people in the past and will again in the future.” He looked up into Jake’s eyes. “This is something you will get used to.”
“Morgan, I hope that I will not disappoint you, Georgia or your colleagues – over time that is.”
“I’m a little disappointed that I was the only one eating.” Morgan had looked at Jake’s plate which was practically untouched. “It will get better. I remember when my stomach was so in knots that I wondered if I needed a doctor to help untie it….”
Jake laughed, and looked at his plate which was untouched. “No harm done,” as he looked at Morgan who was muscular and lean. “You’re looking fit. How long was it before you could eat again?”
“It’s an individual thing. You’ll be able to eat again in time…. But, Jake, unless you have something else, I’ve got an appointment this afternoon….”
I’m sure I have more. I have about 100 worries and more questions, but he had helped with the main thing – the fear. “You’ve helped immensely, Morgan. Thanks.”
Morgan and Jake both stood, and shook hands. “You know how to reach me,” Morgan added as he left the apartment without putting on his coat.
After Morgan left, Jake felt more energy about Slow Guy than he had all week. He pulled out his “to do” list and at the top was “Buy Modules”. He made a call to the bank, and the personal checks hadn’t cleared, but one of the investors had given them a bank draft and those funds were available.
He called Vince’s brother Bill, who had the blueprints.
“Jake, how are you? I’ve been waiting for your call,” Bill, answered.
“We’re ready to get started, Bill. How do you want to handle this?”
“We have the design. We would like to build a prototype for your approval. If you, or Charlie, could then come up to see it, we could talk about any changes you might want to make. We will need the solar equipment, heating and air conditioning equipment to install. It would be smart to bring samples of the electronic items you want installed, and order a set of furniture and have them delivered here in your name. When you get here we’ll make sure everything fits. After this, we won’t be able to make changes without going into a great deal of expense because the forms will have been made. So, it’s important to be sure about every detail when you come out…. And, by the way, if Vince could spare some time I’d love to see him.”
“I’m not sure about Vince, but I’ll see if he can come when you’re ready. Thanks for being so clear about everything else, Bill. I will come out with Charlie as soon as you are ready. And, we’ll have some furniture sent to your address. That was a good idea. If you think, of anything else, please give us a call. You know that we’re novices at this. What kind of deposit would you like?”
“Soon enough for that when you come out. Bring your check book,” and Bill laughed.
“Will do,” Jake assured him.
Jake called Georgia afterwards. She was free. “Georgia, I just talked with Bill Delany, our manufacturer.”
“Great. Did he give you some firm prices?”
“No…. He’s going to start on a prototype. Everything is still based on his original estimate and, I guess, after we approve the prototype or make changes he will know exactly what the cost will be…. I’ll go out with Charlie to make sure everything fits, and that it’s as elegant as the inside of the New York Yacht Club.”
“At that point, you need a firm contract. He will be able to know how much it’s going to cost him once he knows the exact dimensions and the amount of Mahogany needed for the interior. And, don’t let him increase the price. The estimate was what we budgeted on. If it’s going to cost him a little more, be tough. He can absorb any extra.”
Jake was hearing about another asset of the executive that he hadn’t observed before: Negotiating over costs. “Semper Fi, Georgia.”
She chuckled. “Isn’t that a Marine slogan? ‘Always faithful’.”
“Yes. But we’re cousins to the Marines and it seemed appropriate at the time.”
“You can do this, Jake. Failure is not an option….”
Jake laughed. “Now who’s quoting the Marines?”
Georgia was smiling. “We all believe in you, Jake Classen. You have got the right stuff!”
“OK, OK,” he was laughing. “Enough rhetoric. I will even lower the cost for you Georgia.”
“She added, “if you want me to come out with you we can double team him. I’ll show you how it’s done.”
He smiled. He knew her accounting business was getting busy because it was close to the end of the year business closeouts. Semper Fi. “It won’t be necessary, Georgia. If I have any questions or if I need support, I will be able to call you…. But, thank you for offering.”
Jake spent the day ordering the file cabinets, chairs, lights, phone, computer and accessories that were to be installed in each module. He confirmed with Charlie, that he would be able to take a couple of days when the prototype was ready. Charlie was going to have the solar equipment, air conditioning and heating equipment sent over as well.
Jake called Vince afterwards and invited him to dinner. Vince had been reluctant when Jake asked his father’s boat yard to bid on and perhaps to build the modules. Jake wasn’t sure what had happened that had so estranged Vince from his family, but he didn’t want to be the man in the middle every time he talked with one of the partners in Maine. His preference would be for Vince to clear things up, but he realized that this was Vince’s personal business, and that his preference would probably carry little weight.
The team knew little about Vince’s background which was surprising in itself. That was one of the only things to talk about when on night watch, other than sex, women, drinking or sports. If you were on a two week rotation with a guy, all of those other topics eventually were boring and you had to talk about something more personal.
They met for dinner at the Maryland Crab House, one of Jake’s favorites. He wanted Vince to feel relaxed and the attention needed for getting at the crab meat would give both of them an opportunity to look away and to be busy elsewhere if the conversation was too uncomfortable. That it was outside of the office would offer Jake the opportunity to be personal without obvious meddling. He had used as an excuse that he would do this with each team member as a thank you for hanging in during the unpaid time. Vince seemed to accept that without question.
They both opted for beer rather than wine, and agreed to share a large basket of crabs. The waiter covered the table in newspaper, and brought the beer and crabs fairly quickly. Vince again told the story of his resignation with all the facial expressions Jake had missed the first time.
Jake then mentioned that he had spoken to Bill about the modules and that the Delany Boat Builders were going to be starting on the module…. He waited for a reaction while busying himself with a crab.
Vince didn’t react much, but did say without looking up, “Are you going up to see the yacht yard?”
“When the prototype is ready,” Jake answered. “Do you think we should go up before that?”
Vince shrugged. “Most people want to see the establishment before they trust them with a big order.”
Jake slowly sucked some of the crabmeat out of a juicy leg and took a sip of beer before answering. “I guess we were trusting that you wouldn’t have suggested it if you didn’t think they could handle the job.”
Vince nodded and broke off the legs of his current victim. “I haven’t been up there since I finished high school and joined the Navy….”
“Mmmm,” Jake said, looking at his beer which was almost gone. “How long were you in?”
Jake almost choked on his last sip of beer. Oh my, that’s a long time to stay away from family. There has to be more to this than I thought. This is not just a grown man who doesn’t yet have a family to bring home…. “That’s quite a while to be away from home. Why don’t you come up with Charlie and me? We’ll be there for a couple of days and you can spend some time with your father…. Which brothers stayed in the family business?” Direct questions are the easiest to answer and the best in this case.
“Bill, who you’ve spoken with, and Paul…. Jim and I left,” Vince answered quietly.
He really is not taking off with this…. I don’t think I’ve ever met a man who didn’t get going once he started to talk about his family…. That is strange. I just had a picture of Oprah asking members of her audience to stand, and Vince was there…. “And, who were you closest to?”
Vince laughed as he motioned to the waiter. They both had finished their beers…. “I just had such a funny picture of my family at a local High School football game. I was sitting on Bill’s lap, and Jim was on my father’s lap. Paul was sitting in front of us next to Mom. It was a popular team and the stands were always crowded. That must have been our first winter, because she disappeared the second year. We were all drinking hot chocolate from a thermos Dad had packed. When our team made its first touchdown, I clapped and dropped my hot chocolate on Paul. He didn’t even notice because it just rolled down his jacket so fast it couldn’t have soaked through. The rest of the game, Bill and I and Dad and Jim would burst into contagious giggles. Mom and Paul never knew what was going on until the end of the game when Dad finally showed Paul. – So, Paul was closest in age, but never seemed to like me at all. I was pretty close to Jim who used to pick up library books for me when I was little. Bill was my baby sitter after Mom disappeared, so he was always a bit bossy with me. I trusted him, but didn’t seek out his company once I was old enough not to need it anymore, if you know what I mean.”
“Sure,” Jake quickly reassured him. “I think my younger brother feels that way about me, although, we were always so competitive we couldn’t help being in each other’s lives…. But, I guess I can see why you didn’t feel like going home after you left since Jim wasn’t there…. But, what about seeing your father?” I had to ask. I just can’t be guessing about everything….
The waiter brought the new beers and Vince picked his up and took a long swallow. “You know, Jake, I think it just became habit to stay away. I love my Dad, but he owned his own boatyard and was always working. Once Mom was gone, some of the life and joy in him was gone too. Or maybe it was gone before that…. But, to my mind, it was more than a little depressing to be there. I never experienced such relief as when I left home!” He looked up from his beer, blinking, and Jake thought his eyes had welled up.
I can’t imagine what it must feel like to have a mother disappear…, or a wife. I am sure that my Dad would also lose some of his life if anything happened to his Kelly! “I can’t begin to understand what your Dad must have gone through. Did you ever talk with him about it?”
Vince smiled a sad smile. “Did you ever talk with a drunken Irishman? Half of what they say, no, more than half, they’d deny if you ever brought it up when they were sober. And, when they’re sober, they never talk about anything that means anything to them other than boats, fishing and sports.”
Jake laughed. Now, we’re getting into territory I understand…. “My Dad sort of gave up drinking when he was home, although I heard plenty of stories from his buddies about when he was active Navy. I missed the part where he talked about serious feelings and then denied them…. But, we got plenty of sports, boats and fishing stories….”
Vince looked him straight in the eye for the first time all evening. “So, you see, I have no idea what Dad was thinking or feeling about her disappearance. I blamed it on the Scroons, and they scared the bejesus out of me. It was Michael, my father, who told me about the Scroons, but I’m not sure that he believed in them.”
“May be you could just slide it in when you talk with him about football. ‘Hey, Dad, did you see the touchdown pass… and how did you come to learn about Scroons?’”
Vince laughed. “Do you spend time with your family?”
“Not enough by my way of thinking, but holidays certainly. I have to say that I prefer my relationship with my parents now that they think of me as an adult. I loved them as parents when I was a child, but now that they don’t have to feel responsible we can have more fun…. They’re funny! I don’t think that I understood their humor when I was still a child.” Jake ripped open another crab as he spoke.
“That might be nice,” Vince ventured. “The last time I was there it was ‘Hey, Vince did you see that touchdown? And did you do the dishes yet?’”
“We have a rule in our house that the first night home you’re a guest. After that, you’re family whether you’re one of Dad’s old Viet Nam buddies or whether you really are family…. He might still ask you if you did the dishes.”
“What was it like in your family?”
Jake laughed and took a sip of his beer. “That’s a difficult question to answer just like that…. Relative to what? We were expected to excel in sports and academics, but I knew guys who were beaten for doing badly, and we never were beaten for anything.”
“Neither were we,” Vince nodded. “And, as you can imagine, with 4 brothers we pushed each other in sports. Each one taught the next one all his tricks, so Bill taught Jim, and Jim taught Paul, and …” he stopped to take another sip of beer. “Paul taught me although I always thought that he held back because we were on the football team at the same time. I was an end, and he was a halfback.”
Jake raised an eyebrow. “How did that work out?” I was always relieved that Louie chose different sports so we were never in direct competition for prizes. And even then, when we’d play tennis, I’d try to beat him even though he was nationally ranked and I wasn’t a player.
“It was alright,” he answered as if he knew what Jake was thinking. “He got the “Rushing Award” and I won the “Most yards on a Pass” award. The family was pretty good at avoiding a tackle…. Only that one time.”
“Your Mom?” Jake asked, looking for confirmation that he was comparing Scroons to an opposing team’s tackle.”
“Yeah…. I spent a lot of time alone when I was little. I think that helped me to develop a sense for the Scroons…. Do you think I’m crazy when I talk about them?”
“Vince,” Jake said softly and leaned in toward Vince, “I have no idea what a Scroon is, but I saw that you had a sense every time something had gone wrong on the ship, and recently, you knew when Charlie needed us. I don’t care what you call it, and no, I don’t think you’re crazy.”
“Part of the reason I haven’t been home is that there are more up there….”
“Excuse me? Scroons?” May be. May be he isn’t tied up completely….
“Yes.” Vince answered. “In the woods there are things that can’t be seen and are only heard when they are hunting. Their voices are mistaken for the wind in the trees. It’s a haunting sound….” Vince’s eyes looked haunted as he remembered, Jake thought.
“Vince, I remember how you hated those dark moonless nights. Remember how one of us would stay near by?”
Vince looked over at Jake. “Sure, Jake.”
“Well, if you come up with us to Maine, we’ll stay by you….”
Vince nodded. “Bill never believed in them. I don’t know why Dad didn’t tell him about the… them.”
“It won’t matter. Charlie and I will be there. Bill asked about you and I think they’d like you to come up…. What about Jim?” Jake asked innocently.
“Jim didn’t believe me when Vixen disappeared. He didn’t believe me when Mom disappeared. He finally believed me when his best friend, George disappeared….”
“Yes, during the winter just like Mom. It gets dark early….” Vince looked terrified, and took a long swig of his beer. Jake motioned to get the waiter’s attention and held up two fingers when the waiter looked over.
“Was that when you were still small?” Jake ventured, uncertain of how to help Vince get past this.
“No,” Vince stated clearly. “George was a policeman when he disappeared. I was still in high school, but Jim and George had graduated 3 years earlier. Jim was off in graduate school when it happened. It was one stormy night. George was out patrolling the town and they found his car with the hazards still on at the edge of town. The driver’s side door was open as if he had been pulled out or had just stood up and never had a chance to close it. There was no blood, anywhere. There was never a sign of him…. He was engaged to a great girl. His parents inherited his savings account and his hunting rifle. He was still living at home…. He had no beef with anyone in town and didn’t owe any money….” The waiter arrived with two more beers.
There was something dreadfully sad about a man dieing with only a savings account in his name…. Clearly, Vince had considered all the possibilities of why a person might just pick up and leave a place….
“Like when Charlie disappeared….” Jake said.
“Yes, except we know that Charlie was taken by humans,” Vince added. “Back home, there weren’t any outsiders. The only people who ever came up there who didn’t live there were hunters and climbers, and they only came in the summer and fall. And, when they were in town, everyone knew that a stranger was in town…. The disappearances back home didn’t have anything to do with humans.”
It does seem strange…. “How did the local paper report those disappearances? Were there theories about escaped prisoners, or animals coming too close to town?”
“Nope.” Vince looked coldly at Jake. Vince’s fear seemed to be gone. In its place was the clarity of resignation. “They just listed a person as ‘Disappeared’. There was a column heading, like in other small towns they have the ‘Police Blotter’. Then, we’d never hear another word about them. People would gather ‘round the family as they might do after a death, bringing food and inviting them to dinner or taking care of the kids if there were any…. The police would ask some questions to see if there might be some reason to suspect domestic violence, or some such human cause, but usually they would just quietly drop the case after a few days. No one really talked about it afterwards.”
“We’ll stay together.” Jake affirmed. I don’t know what this is all about, but the local people don’t seem to know what it is either and Vince has always been afraid. It seems as if he has a legitimate reason to be afraid. I wonder…. “Vince, how often did the paper have a disappearance to report?”
“Every couple of months, or 5 or 6 a year…. That’s just people…. There were also dogs and horses who didn’t make it into the paper. Cat, chicken and domestic duck loses were ascribed to foxes, wolves or wild dogs…. There’s really no telling if you try to count the animals, but I didn’t know anyone who ever had to put a dog or cat to sleep. They just didn’t make it to old age up there….”
This is like another world…. It’s no wonder that the people up there are a little isolationist. It’s not just that they aren’t sure whether a newbie is tough enough to last through the winter, or a second winter, but whether they want to become friends with someone who might just disappear…. “I am beginning to understand why you weren’t anxious to go back….” What an understatement! “It wasn’t just that your father wasn’t… happy….”
Vince laughed out loud and seemed tickled and relaxed for the first time this evening.
He is enjoying my discomfort….
“No, I’m not,” Vince protested, still laughing. “I have never had the feeling, even up there, that anyone heard me or that anyone acknowledged what was happening. We’re talking about a small population – 5,000 tops in the county. And, 5 or 6 disappearances every year were being basically ignored. If that was happening in a town of similar size in New Jersey or Westchester, the FBI would be investigating, isn’t that so?”
I think he just answered me and I don’t think that I said that out loud…. “Vince, what were you just denying?”
“It’s a combination of my… sensitivity, and the Ho’oponopono clearing,” Vince answered.
Now it was Jake’s turn to take a large gulp of beer. This is almost too bizarre.
Vince continued. “When I’m with either one person, or a large group, I have begun to have a… I guess ‘sense’ is the best word, of what their concern is, if they have a concern that is. This is a pretty charged topic, and you are having, and emitting, strong concerns.”
Ho’oponopono, Jake thought. Please transmute any program I am running that makes me feel so creeped out right now, and send it to the light. I’m sorry. Please forgive me. Thank you.
Vince smiled and pushed over the basket of crabs. “You’re not eating. Come on. Let’s put some attention to these guys before they’re all cold. I’ll go up with you and Charlie, and I think I’ll enjoy it.”
Jake smiled. “This is a strange ability you’ve developed, Vince. I took your other ability on faith, but this is even stranger.”
“I think that it will help Slow Guy,” Vince said. “I was sure when we were presenting to Morgan’s colleagues that they were going to join us. If they had been going the other way, I would have known that too….”
“As long as you’re on my side, I guess I can’t complain,” Jake asserted. “We’ll have to figure out what to do with this, aaah, ‘gift’ of yours…. Does it work over the telephone?”
Vince smiled. “I don’t know. We can give it a try….”
5 Double Rainbows
Veterans Day Parades are on November 11th, whether this falls on a weekend or during the week and whether it is a cold and rainy day, cloudy with snow flurries, or a warm and sunny one. The weather could be anything in New York in November. The parade is never large, but it is always well attended by Veterans who seem to find their way there, whether they are housed or homeless, successful business men, or lawyers. There are representatives of the 2nd World War, Korea, Viet Nam, Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and the Global War on Terrorism, and all the conflicts and peace keeping missions in between. The men, and more recently, women, proudly wear hats or jackets that depict their service. This is one day out of the year, when Americans don’t distinguish between rich and poor, or educated and not educated, or the color of one’s skin. Veterans are exalted no matter what their origins were and no matter what has happened to them since they left the service.
This year, Jake, Charlie, Jules and Vince met for the parade. It was to be their first annual Veterans Day parade together. Amanda was there to give support for all the veterans. Morgan and Georgia were out in Mattituck. Morgan was not a veteran, largely due to a motorcycle accident when he was 18 years old that required several years of recovery.
The Slow Guy team happily met various team mates from their ship who joined them as they walked along with the parade. They were in high spirits when Charlie spotted Kenneth Chenault in slacks and an Army Gulf War I hat and jacket. Jake was sure he would not have recognized him, so different he looked out of his suit. Kenneth also spotted them and walked over to the group. He shook hands with Jake, who introduced him to Jules and Vince. Kenneth greeted Amanda and Charlie warmly.
“So, you guys were all US Navy? No wonder I didn’t realize you were vets….” Kenneth commented with a smile.
They laughed good naturedly. Jake thought him courageous to make such a comment when faced not only with the team, but with 10 other guys who had joined them. “As you can see, it takes a Navy to raise one Army brat.”
“I don’t know how the Navy kept us supplied if they all have your follow through,” Kenneth jabbed at them.
Jake felt the intended cut. Charlie and Amanda also had a sense of what Kenneth was really talking about, and were supportive when Jake invited everyone out. The parade was all but over, and there was a nearby bar/restaurant that was popular. There was a room in the back for the group. The waiter took orders and quickly went off to get their drinks.
They kidded a little more, and then Jake asked Kenneth quietly if he was interested in their follow-up. He loudly answered that he was, if they had anything to say. Jake and the guys were ready. Jules led the presentation with stories of 55% immediate interest in the modules, and since Georgia wasn’t there, Jake depicted that the projection of one salesman alone to sell 1000 units in the first year would give them a profit of over $2 million. Kenneth wanted to know how he had arrived at such a figure, and Jake explained that Jules was scheduling 36 meetings a week and it was from his figures alone. He added that Vince and Justin were just about to join the sales team full time.
Although the presentation was primarily for Kenneth, there were other vets who weren’t part of Slow Guy who were listening. A couple had come in with Vince, and a few with Charlie, and Jules had invited quite a contingent. They started to speak up about their business ideas, and the brick walls they had been beating their heads against as they looked for investors or supporters or partners, or experienced mentors. Jake realized that without Bruce, Georgia and Amanda, the Slow Guy team would be in the same place these guys were.
One ex-Marine had an idea for a solar cell that was an improvement over those being produced currently. Another guy wanted to start a Middle Eastern restaurant for all the vets who missed the food, and another was looking for help to start a New York pizzeria in Texas. Jake knew that the cuisine of Viet Nam had become popular in large part because of the veterans who had discovered the culture, so it seemed a good idea to him. All displaced or emigrated New Yorkers complained that they couldn’t get good pizza, so that seemed a good idea too.
There were guys who were interested in clothing and another in heating and air conditioning and one who had an innovative engine. Another guy wanted to start a plumbing company. Jake thought they all had good ideas, and seemed to have the expertise to do what they proposed which was more than Slow Guy had going for it in the beginning. His team seemed to agree, as did Kenneth Irvine Chenault.
Jake had to go outside to make a call to Morgan. He and Georgia were on the Serpentine and had limited reception, but it was good enough for Jake to make his point that there were many vets who needed investors. Morgan agreed that there were also many more PPL execs with money to invest. Jake went back into the restaurant and proposed to his team, and to Kenneth Irvine Chenault, that they form a non-profit to help veterans package their proposals for investors, and to help them meet with interested investors. He trusted that either Georgia or Bruce would help them with the initial financial and bookkeeping part, or that the non-profit group would supply that as a service.
They took cards, or wrote the contact information for the vets who had business ventures that needed launching. Kenneth agreed to supply an Am Express conference room the following week to further discuss their idea for a non-profit to help the veterans. In the meantime, Jake was going to talk with the local Vet Centers to find out roughly how many other men or women they though might also need their help.
The Slow Guy team was excited at the prospect of helping other vets to write their business plans. This was a newly developed, yet successful skill. They didn’t stop to think about the time they would be putting into their own new business, but only of these other shipmates who needed help. And, clearly, Kenneth Chenault was with them on this project.
Later that night, Jake and Amanda lay in her bed after making love, exhausted and relaxed in each other’s arms.
She started to chuckle and Jake asked her about it. “It’s not enough,” she explained, “that we are starting a brand new company with a brand new product that has never been produced and sold before, but we are going to be helping a host of other veterans to do the same thing…. Where do we think we are going to find the time or the energy?”
He shrugged. “We just will. Or, we will find other people to help as we did for Slow Guy. This is the way it works….”
Amanda snuggled even closer. “Last summer, driving out to Georgia’s, we saw a double rainbow. Have you ever seen such an astronomical occurrence?”
“No. I have only seen a few rainbows….”
“Well, this was at first two rainbow towers, and then it became two arches as we drove a little further and finally, we all drove under the rainbow arches. All the drivers were watching it but there were no accidents. It was an event on the LIE. – I think Slow Guy was the first rainbow, and our non-profit is going to be the second, and both have a pot of gold at the end of their rainbow.”
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