Started the day with a 3.5 hour video (actually conf call) with some boys from Canada on framing a new venture into China. NDA in place – so cannot discuss details – but fruitful, interesting meeting. Interesting synergies.
With cash flowing in and out during Xmas – spent a bit of time on moving cash around and into the right country/place/location. So need a CFO – banking is boring me so much!
Asked the EO crew for a ‘special consultation’ in reviewing my corporate new structure. I was going to go with a slightly ‘grey’ structure – but after some conversations – have decided to pursue something without any ‘shades’. Basically, my buddy gave my good advice – he asked me a good question – Why are you ”re-structuring’ the corporations. My answer was two fold – tax optimization and investor friendly structure. Actually two diametrically goals. Investor friendly structure has to be inherently pure white, while a tax friendly structure can have shades of ‘grey’ BUT then becomes investor unfriendly.
So, in the end, looking out long term, I will give up some tax optimization for the strategic opportunity to be able to bring investors onboard. With my focus on $100MM+, the few $100K in tax savings in the short term seem short sighted.
So,having said that, I keep re-shifting my focus from ‘owner and CEO’ to ‘CEO’ ie. I need to forget for a moment that its my own money I’m playing with and look at it from the investors point of view. If I don’t, growth will be to slow.
An interesting aside, is that my ex-driver now launched a little arbitration law suit against the company. The beauty in this is that he was added to the company as a favors, because both Lise and I like him. He was 50’is and we both thought that if we added him to the payroll, he would get pension benefits that would help him later in life. It was a gimme and nice thing to do. Well, as I started to clean up my structure and wanted to decouple persona/business interactions – I asked him to convert to a personal employee – he was going to get EXACTLY same money as the if he was working for the company AND exactly same pension and benefits. Only difference would have been that he would have not worked for the company but for me personally. So, I guess, in this, he saw an opportunity, and decided in this ‘transition’ there should be severance involved, etc, etc. Hmmm…same job…same money…still have a job – no impact on his life except no longer working for a company but for me personally. For this, he went all out and decided to go after the company for something like 20x what he made each month. So, something like 2 years payout! Anyways, when someone is an asshole, I will respond in kind. And so for him, no matter what my cost, I will ensure with 100% certainty that he will receive exactly $0. Even if I have to spend 2 or 3 times what he is asking for, I will ensure that he gets nothing. So far my friends from EO have been nothing but brilliant and some of the ideas that I have received have definitely been brilliant! So, in the past I would have rolled this off, paid him off, and let him on his way. Not any more – he will get $0. New rule – no assholes tolerated – assholes to be never rewarded for asshole behavior.
Maybe that put me in a bit of a pissy mood today – the sense of betray and lack of loyalty. I guess I take this kind of stuff personally. From 100% business point of view, you should not, and should really detach and act purely on financial basis. The issue with that is that with time you no longer end up standing for anything you believe and everything becomes solvable with cash – and I know that I don’t want to operate and think on that basis. Some things need to be dealt with honor and pride. 🙂
So, moreover had a late night today. L ots of small cleanup today – ended up till 2AM. Wasted over 3 hours on PayPal UK. Absolutely horrible experience – with customer care that has zero clue on how to look after their customers. I called in to see why the ‘restricted’ the PearlsOnly.co.uk account. After I explained to them how my business model worked, they magically ‘restricted’ the account and loaded up 8 verification. The little Irish boy out of Dublin that was initially trying to help me, solved 0 of my problems – and took no care whatsoever to see that there I was to be happy on my way. So, in the end, PayPal UK asked for 9 verification steps – each one taking from 30m to 1 hour task. Especially these two beauties, shown below:
You would think verifying 3 or 4 deliveries would be ok, but in this case, I guess PayPal UK chose to be extra careful and asked for 15+ shipments to be proven to them!
Then they followed up with this beauty. Again, nice easy 17 items to ‘prove’ that inventory is in stock! First, how in the world are you supposed to do that. And, 17!
All this, because the account received 8,000GBP over last 2 weeks. Wow – they must really be setup for high volume, if inbound sales of 8,000GBP triggers alerts.
Anyways, as you can see I got wound up over this, because, I really despise CRAPPY customer service. And this is exactly what it is. Its like they have setup their business, so that they DON’T want your business. And this is exactly what I’m doing. As soon as all this validation is over, I will take my 8K GBP – and PayPal.co.uk account is closed.
Forecast for paypal – they will go down with ebay in a few short years. When you don’t take care of your customers – there will be always someone else out there that will.
My experience here shadows that of what I had seen in the US and Canada – so as soon as this Xmas season is over, I will no longer accept PayPal on any of my properties. Emotional! You bet! Reasonable – yes. Cost of business of working with PayPal is too high given what they bring to the table.
So, today, definitely over my cold, and in an aggressive mode. Its good. When I’m in that zone, I get a lot of things done in a very short period of time. So, here is to the ‘pissed of ‘ mode! :) May there be more!