Before I start the story of my morning experience I want to make one thing very, very clear:
LePeep is the most overpriced, overrated breakfast joint that I’ve ever had the misfortune of dining at.
I had a meeting this morning at 7:30 AM CST an hour south of where I currently live, at the noted LePeep restaurant above. This was a large meeting, it was a business meeting, there was potential money on the table with the Kansas City Shock and I wanted to be sure I had everything perfect. Last night I had rehearsed, scheduled, printed, and outlined several key points of the meeting today. I wasn’t sure the overall direction of the meeting, but when moments like this come across, you always want to be ready. Right? Right.
I arrived at LePeep seven minutes ahead of time. Here’s what I knew about the individual I was meeting with:
- Business Owner
- Involved in the startup community
- Soccer fan
Several things were in my favor from the get-go. Not once did I believe that this was going to be a walk in the park, but it appeared as if several key items were lining up. After the agonizing, stomach dropping seven minutes had passed in comes a young man driving a Tesla…yes…a Tesla. Quietly he parked, reversed, realigned, and parked again. He stepped out of the car in the standard Johnson County polo and plaid golf shorts [too much?], asked if I was indeed who I was and walked into the restaurant.
Red Flag #1: No smile.
Upon being seated we were giving coffee in a ridiculous fancy looking environment [recall that my ‘eat out breakfast’ joints have consisted of IHOP, McDonald’s, and on special occasions Shoney’s]. I took a look at the menu, couldn’t figure out half the garbage on the menu and politely ordered bacon and eggs.
While this was going on he was across the table, looking down, thinking, and then comes about the first question:
So, what is the Kansas City Shock?
Red Flag #2: This meeting had been booked for several weeks. I did my research on his business; he obviously did none on mine.
Somewhat calmly I went into the monologue of our program, #project813, and partnerships that are being established. I noted that we were not in Johnson County primarily, but wanted to focus on other areas of Kansas City. That’s when the first real pain set in:
I’m not going anywhere that far to watch soccer, sorry but that’s too far for me.
Red Flag #3: Anyone that’s concerned on distance is already in question in my book.
I went on to inform him about how we’re financed, what we do in our field of work, and what we’re looking for. He, of course, started his conversation on his business [computer programming] and clients. He stopped and asked:
Do you know what a client is? I didn’t think so. I work in high tech, it’s a difficult field to understand for many.
Red Flag #4: Attempting to talk over me with the knowledge of binary habits, coding, and application development is going to do very little to impress me. Besides, I know what a client [and a host] is.
Within the first five minutes of this meeting I could see that he wasn’t interested in anything that I had to offer. Now, a quick background on him [vaguely], he started a startup tech company from the ground up. Struggled greatly to meet bills, payroll, etc…but eventually sold the company for $128 million at age 23. Turned around and started a new company, of which he complained that his old company won’t even give a glimpse at to work with. He begins to inform me of the $100,000 per month they loose in revenue while looking for clients and how our modest budget looks trivial to him. He asked about marketing and sponsorship, and I informed him of where we go in that direction with each company. It was through this conversation that he drops a bomb on me [pardon the quoted language]:
Sorry, but you’re a man on an island. No one is coming to help because no one gives a %#@^ about what you’re doing.
Red Flag #5: [See Quote Above]
At this point I’ve gnawed through my bacon, and got the eggs out of their greasy plate and onto my fork. This was becoming uncomfortable and I wanted out. What had become so evident, and was so sad, was that an individual with that much money simply didn’t have the time of day to even dream of what the future held. He was my age and had no imagination. I’m talking about monumental moves with #project813 with him, and he doesn’t care. It doesn’t fit his desires, it doesn’t work in his business model, it doesn’t transcribe to success in his world. Everything was about him. This isn’t me complaining, this is me stating that I bow to no one except God, and it wasn’t going to start this morning.
With the coffee gone and the plates cleaned, with a smirk he stated:
Well, since I can’t help you; I can at least grab your meal, right?
I didn’t hesitate.
While at the register he asked how we had been connected together, and I gave him the individual who knew us mutually. A person that couldn’t stop talking about this man standing next to me with words of gratitude and hope. He had worked for him in the past, but after the first company sold, he went a different direction. That’s when, from the business side, I heard the most painful thing of the morning:
Who’s that? I don’t recognize that name, mustn’t have been important.
Red Flag #6: If you do not take the time to learn the names and the people that you work with, or work for you, your ethics are in question.
By the time I had gotten back into the car I was shaking because I was so angry. Furious. I wasn’t mad at God, but I was so, so angry at what money can do to an individual. One of the most frustrating things in life has to be when stereotypes are proven true. Rich, youthful guy who attempts to trump the world with his knowledge on one topic and deems those in the shoes he was once in…dirty.
It took me about forty-five minutes to calm down while driving home. The downside of the meeting puts serious pressure on me within our organization, but the bigger picture was much more saddening. I drove back north, feeling very beaten, and stopped by to chat with Jim and MC about the results of today. The pain was seen in their eyes as well; two hard working, industrial oriented people who give everything to come home with so little, just witnessed what the power of wealth can do to an individual.
I know that I’ve complained several times about being broke, not sure about resources, and even trying to make payments day-by-day. Nothing along those lines has changed, but do you know what I saw today that was most fearful? Out of the greasy eggs, plaid shorts, and silent Tesla?
I saw the potential of what I could become if I was given that kind of wealth. I’ve told Darco before that one of the several reasons that I’ll probably never be financially successful is because God knows that I’ll abuse that gift. Power is a dangerous, dangerous object.
I don’t need LePeep to make my day start on a solid note; I’ll continue to enjoy my Taco John’s and random food trucks. I’ll consider the local sports bar’s wings at .49 after 9:00 PM CST with Darco as a great date. I’ll forever love my second story, three window apartment with a non-operational garbage disposal and broken dishwasher. My rusty truck of 278,000 miles will forever be my favorite, and I’m grateful that Darco’s dented, scratched Pontiac gets such great gas mileage.
I’ll go to bed frustrated, but grateful in the same. Because I know that God can do great things when I’m blessed with poverty.
As for the Kansas City Shock?
God’s got it, and that’s all I need to know.