Surviving the computer business of the ‘80’s.
“Some of this stuff really happened.”
A dramatic, suspenseful and occasionally amusing story of the early computer age, a time for new businesses and old sins. Told by an entrepreneur who was there.
Excerpt: Chapter 1
No Easy Money
You need insurance
“Money for nothing and the chicks are free.”
Stuck in traffic on the Decarie Expressway and listening to the radio, he got that line stuck in his head. He liked Dire Straits, especially “Sultans of Swing” with Mark Knopfler’s long guitar solo at the end, but the damn DJ’s always faded out to the next song before it was over.
He was thinking, yeah the chicks might be free, but the money is never for nothing. Never has been for me anyway.
His mind wandered back to the 80’s, about the time Dire Straits first played those hits. Back then he was making big money and riding high on the wave of personal computers landing on desktops everywhere. He owned a distribution business delivering to the computer stores that seemed to be on every second street corner in Montreal and every small town shopping centre in Quebec. It was a great ride and he enjoyed the rush of conspicuous spending looking after himself and his family better than he had ever expected. He smiled at the memory, then remembered the first time Jacques walked into his office and suddenly business got harder. And a lot less fun.
Talk about money for nothing.
“Dale, there’s somebody here to see you about insurance”
“I don’t need to see anybody about insurance.”
“But Mr. Hunter, this is a very special kind of insurance that I’m offering and I’m sure you’ll agree it will be good for your business.” The deep French-Canadian voice was coming from the doorway behind his startled receptionist, Marie. Dale looked up to see a tough looking, heavy-set man in a grey suit, no tie. Not a friendly face. Oily hair slicked straight back and down to his collar. Shiny black biker boots with raised steel toes and rubber soles that had allowed him to silently follow her down the hall.
“Thank you, Miss,” he said as he squeezed by and took a chair beside Dale’s desk after reaching out for a firm handshake. “My name is Jacques.” Marie disappeared back down the hall.
Dale took another look at him. Dark grey suit wrapped tightly around heavy arms and shoulders, burgundy silk shirt exposing gold chains around his thick neck and stretched over his fat belly. La grosse bedaine, as they say in Quebec. If I ever have a belly like that please just shoot me, he thought.
“I really don’t need any more insurance,” he said. “We’re well covered and I don’t have time to hear your pitch. Just leave me your card and I’ll call you if I’m interested. Thanks anyway, but I don’t want to waste your time. Or mine.”
“Mr. Hunter,” Jacques paused and leaned forward with a thin smile, “You don’t seem to realize, this is insurance that you absolutely have to have. It is not really negotiable.”
“Well, with our plan we guarantee that certain types of accidents will just never happen.” The smile turned to a darker, menacing stare, “However, if you do not pay for our insurance, we can actually promise that you will have certain accidents.” He sat back and let it sink in.
“Jesus! You’re looking for protection money?”
“We prefer to call it insurance.”
… to be continued.