As we get older being entrepreneurs we go through hundreds if not thousands of deals in our lifetime. But their are always those moments that really stand out and leave a big impression on us. When i was first starting my business career I was an eager young film producer just getting my feet wet in the film industry. I remember I worked my butt off for almost 6 months to bring my very first full length feature deal together. Although I wasn’t a big name at the time I did manage to bring together all the right pieces for a film deal to go through and to make that from nothing was a pretty big feat for a first timer breaking into features. I had managed to pull a huge name in the film industry producer connected to multiple major features that is loved by the entire world to fly to Miami and have a meeting with me.
The day before my big meeting i remember pacing back and forth going over every scenario in my head of what could happen and what was going to happen, thinking of every rebuttal I could think of to make this deal go through. I was more prepared than I had ever been in my entire life. I could envision every detail from his suit, to his watch, to how he would shake my hand down to how he spoke and what he would do. We started off at a bar at the bottom floor of his fancy Hotel. The Hotel was filled with beautiful looking models every direction you turned. We started drinking and discussing the terms of our film deal, their were 3 other people there besides us but the whole deal revolved around him and I coming to terms.
Up until this point we were equals, although he had a rich history of work behind him I was with him every step of the way. I never felt inferior or less then him and I played my role perfectly to my standards. Everything had been playing out exactly as I had planned and I felt in total control of the situation. So we started talking numbers and of course it got a little complicated so I grabbed a napkin to scribble some quick numbers down to see if the changes we agreed on made sense. Of course my pen for whatever reason wasn’t working, So I asked the bartender for a pen and in that moment the film producer made a move and I never saw it coming, almost as if he had been waiting for this moment. He put his hand on my shoulder and said
“Please, use mine”
and i happily accepted. The next few moments put me into utter terror. He pulled out the most gorgeous pen I had ever seen in my life. The pen boasted an all black marble finish on top of a pure gold interior and perfectly engraved with a sparkling diamond all the way at the top. This was the 500 thousand dollar Bugatti of all pens and I realized in that moment I had no idea how to use this thing. It hit me, we were dead even rivals up until here, and then in one sweeping movement he had rendered me clueless. To add insult to injury my partner went out of his way to say “wow, nice pen”.
The producer could see me struggling to use it, he could see I had no idea how to use something of this caliber and he could see my confusion growing. He of course showed me exactly how to use the pen but it had already been too late, I had lost my equal footing with him.
Now this story wasn’t all tragic I should say the deal still went through and I got my first big break thanks to him, but I’ll never forget that important lesson. Always expect the unexpected to happen no matter how much you prepare, and of course always carry around an expensive pen.