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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A Taste of Friday with Malo Bel and Four Given

Malo Bel is involved in John 316 Marketing Network's September Launch.

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 Chapter 1. Choices



5:32am, Thursday, April 11

Crazy! Awesome! Life-changing!

Crazy - because that is what I must be, being awake so early.

Awesome - because of who we’re meeting.

Life-changing - because that is what money does.

This is my story...


Here I’m up, at this unearthly hour, starting a blog. Why I've decided to start a blog now is beyond me. Maybe I'm having a midlife crisis at 31. Is 31 too early for that? I dunno. Or maybe it’s a new chapter of my life? Whatever the reason, I’m sure I’m crazy! It doesn’t matter, because today I’m going to meet a man who is going to make it all worth it. Today all those years of building our business are going to pay off. Finally!

To think that it started off as just a two-man, part-time animation business. Randle rocks! He has put together this deal with a big investment company that's going to see Dana and I living the good life. My Dana. My beautiful wife who has sacrificed so much while I've worked. Now I can't wait for today's meeting. We are finally going to cash in on the last 7 years of hard work, no holidays, late nights and stress. Hey, but now it's payback time!


7:19 am, Thursday, April 11

OK, I'm now running late. The stupid iron burns my shirt and I can’t find a single pair of matching socks. Here's hoping black and dark navy are close enough to appear the same.

"Malo, its your mom on the phone," Dana calls.

Damn! I’m so stressed and rushed. I really should speak to her. It seems I haven't made the time to talk much to mom lately. No time for her or Dana these days. "Please tell her I'll call her this afternoon. I’m running late," I shout back as I hurriedly make a mess of my tie for the third time. Gotta go! Money time! The future awaits!


9:12 am, Thursday, April 11

Damn it! I have never seen traffic like this. And to make it worse I discover some idiot with a flat tire is the cause. As I am finally almost past the car door flings open, nearly causing me to smash into it. A woman steps out, seemingly oblivious to the chaos she is causing. Typical female driver. Only after I give a long blast of the horn does she suddenly see me and shut her door.


9:22 am, Thursday, April 11

I arrive at Platinum Investments International. Man alive, this is an amazing reception area. There's a huge sculpture of an eagle swooping down to grab a fish from a pond that is dominated by a nearly 10 foot high waterfall. It's almost like being by a lake. We really need to get away. I can hardly remember what it's like to be at a lake.

Where is Randle? We are meant to start at 9am.

Just then Randle appears coming down the palatial looking staircase. "Hey Randz," I call, "where have you been?" He looks up, almost surprised to see me. "Hey Malo," he replies. "Um...just been checking things out."

A movie-star gorgeous secretary appears informing us that "they" are ready to see us. "Here we go Randz. This is the moment. If they buy us, we are set for life."


9:32 am, Thursday, April 11

If the entrance of Platinum Investments International was palatial, then the boardroom needs to be on the bucket list of “places to see before you die." Frosted glass double doors emblazoned with their trademark PI (change all) logo slide open automatically announcing the unabashed importance of the room within. Inside, a massive boardroom table makes it clear that this is the place for important decisions, by important people. Yet even this is overshadowed by the spectacular paintings on all the walls. The artwork in this room alone is worth more than our company. The smell of expensive leather and fresh coffee hangs in the air. As we enter, Mr. Dewati, the CEO looks up from where he is seated at the head of the table.  He is flanked by two other suits, and they all have an air of corporate importance and power.


Randle and I stand there for a few moments in complete silence as Mr. Dewati fixes his steel grey eyes on us. I feel as if we are either an alien species, or simply not expected. I am about to nudge Randle to say something when Mr. Dewati suddenly rises and in two long strides is before us shaking hands. "Welcome Randle and..," he pauses as he shakes my hand with a steel-like grip. I quickly say "Malo. Malo Bel." He looks quizzically at me, so I hastily add, "Malory, like the explorer."

Silently I'm cursing my parents for the millionth time for giving me such a stupid name. No one knows who Malory is, and I'm certainly no explorer. Maybe they had great dreams for me. In truth, my birth certificate only has "Malo" on it. Mom said she hates long names being shortened, so now I have to lengthen it instead. "Aah yes, Malory," he says, enunciating the “lo” in a sort of dismissive way, leaving me feeling like a fly under a microscope. I glance at Randle but he is not looking my way. Soon we are seated and a thick file emblazoned with the Pi logo and "CONFIDENTIAL" is before us.

 Mr. Dewati, flanked by the two unnamed suits, begins: "You boys have a nice little business here." His steely stare and calling me "boy" with a "little business" instantly irritates me. "Nice indeed. The animation game is full of wannabes and kids. I must be honest," he continues as he leans back in his chair, "I wasn't interested in looking at your company when it was brought to my attention. This industry is filled with boys playing with toys for no profit. We are in the business of making money, and could care less about pretty cartoons."

I am wondering why we are here with this idiot and glance again at Randle. He seems enraptured by the diatribe. "However," the booming CEO’s voice continues, "I decided to have a look. Glad I trusted my gut," he says, rubbing his slightly protruding stomach as he says it. "I'm seldom wrong. There is potential in your little business. Our offer is on the table in front of you. You have 60 minutes to decide. After this, the offer is withdrawn."

I look at him in shock, blurting out, "60 minutes? But we need time to go through the offer. We need time to think about things,"

"You have time. Exactly one hour. If you can't make a decision in one hour then you are not the sort of quick thinking, innovative company we are interested in."

 "That's ridiculous," I retort. "We are..."

"...more than happy to look at your offer over the next hour," Randle interjects.

"Good," booms Mr. Dewati, "I was beginning to doubt my gut," irritatingly rubbing it again. "You now have 58 minutes remaining," he says as he turns dismissively away and starts speaking to his hovering suits.

I can feel my face getting hot, but before I can say anything, Randle grabs my arm and pulls me out of the boardroom.


9:56 am, Thursday, April 11

"What the heck was that all about?" I demand. "He is such an arrogant moron!" "Relax Malo," Randle soothes, "this is our big payday, lets just stay cool and see what they are offering." Armed with our thick copies of the contract we flop down into a soft leather couch in the corner presided over by yet another beautiful painting of a mountain lake scene.

"Randz, how are we going to read this massive contract in less than an hour? It's impossible. I just don't have a good feeling about this."

"We have worked for years to build this company Malo,” Randle replies, “and for months to secure this deal. We are not going to easily find another investor like this. They are a reputable company. They aren't out to rip us off. They want to make money, just like us. Lets just look at the offer."

"OK. So how much are they offering us?"

"Well, it seems to be ummm...six on page six?" Randle answers as he pages through the contract.

Quickly I turn to page six, my heart beating quickly. Six mill. That was more than I'd expected. Maybe this won’t be so bad after all. And yes, there it is..."acquire a 51% share of RandMal Studio for the sum of six million dollars ($6,000,000). One hundred thousand ($100,000) payable on signing and the remainder over the next twenty four months..."

"Wow," I gasp, my heart still beating with excitement. "Wow. Six mill. It's almost too good to be true."

"I told you Malo this is our payday and these guys are for real. Let’s sign this thing and get what we deserve."

"Yeah, but I think we still need to try and see if there are any surprises hidden in this encyclopedic contract," I reply.

Randle has always been a bit of a “jump first, ask questions later” kind of guy, even if its skydiving he's trying for the first time - and that's a real example. But I'm a bit more careful. I wouldn't say I'm overly cautious, but I'd like to at least ask a few questions about how we land and what happens if the parachute doesn't open. Hey, but I'll still jump.

This deal was beginning to feel a little like our first skydiving experience. Randle leaping out during the countdown at 3 and shouting "Kamikaze," much to the shock of the instructor and me, who was still asking about the wind speed and the appropriateness of jumping today.


10:41 am, Thursday, April 11

Glancing at my watch, I realize we have about 10 minutes to make a decision that will undoubtedly change the course of our life.

A door nearby bangs open. I look up, irritably, to see a flustered, middle-aged, lesser minion of Pi, darting out. He’s carrying a stack of papers, undoubtedly destined for some other hopeful entrepreneur. His face is carved with worry lines, and his hair is streaked with silver, as though time’s hand has painted him unfavorably.

As he rushes past us he bumps the corner of our couch and manages to lose his grip on the stack of papers. Papers proceed to fly skywards and slowly flutter down like one of those snow globe scenes. His look of shock makes me feel happier in some weird way. I turn my attention back to our contract, while the disheveled Pi minion scrambles to collect his pages.


10:49 am, Thursday, April 11

Just then the boardroom doors open spewing out one of the suits. "Five minutes left gentlemen," he says in a monotone nasal voice, and promptly turns and vanishes behind the hiss of the closing boardroom doors.

"I haven't had a chance to read even a quarter of this thing Randle. I dunno. What if we are missing some catch clause? I don't like being pressured like this."

"Mellow Malo," Randle replies, using his favorite refrain when I get stressed. "This is our dream. We have taken many risks along the way, and looking back they have always paid off. This is the big one."

"I know. I know. But why the rush? Why the pressure?"

"I think it's how they work here," Randle replies, "from the outset they are testing our mettle. Lets make our last big play. You and I. Lets do it. Let’s jump!"


10:54 am, Thursday, April 11

The hiss of the sliding doors opening, jerks our attention. Out emerges the same stiff suit. "Time," he chimes like a robot. "It's now or never," he says as he turns sharply and disappears back into the boardroom.

Randle jumps up. "Come on Malo. Let's do it. We've dreamed it. We've lived it. We've earned it. Let's take it!"

"You're right,” I say. “You're right. We’ve earned it," I stand up while glancing at the disheveled guy, gathering the last of his pages. We make brief eye contact and a sense of something strange passes between us. Do I know him? He looks strangely familiar. But I can’t place him. His eyes seem to say "Please!"

Please what?

"Please help me" or "Please save me from this job" or maybe "Please don't sign!"

Just then the doors slide shut hiding him from view and sealing my choice.



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