The man looked surprised when I introduced myself as Ethan, as he seemed to have thought I was Jonathan’s bodyguard.
“You work for Jonathan Investments?”
“I help out when I’m needed.”
“Can you tell me how an investment firm is going to use PageRank technology? If you’re going to resell it…”
“No, and Jonathan will tell you the rest. Are you the only one to come?”
“My partner has an important presentation, and I’m enough since I have the necessary documents.”
While the man was calm, he seemed to be excited to see the greatest celebrity of Wall Street. His eyes wandered over to the framed and enlarged pages from financial publications that said that the firm managed over 500 billion dollars.
“It took Jonathan a year and a half to achieve that.”
“He’s amazing. I cannot fathom how amazing it is. We’re about the same age.”
I wanted to tell him that his future firm, Googol, will be priceless. The man seemed excited, and that was why I asked to meet here. (EN: Yep, this guy is one of the founders of “Googol”. ^_^ )
“I apologize for changing the time of the meeting. Jonathan was about to go to California until he found a mistake in his schedule.”
“So that’s how he was able to fit me in for this meeting?”
“I persuaded him to meet the Secretary of the Treasury, and it is my fault that the meeting time had changed.”
The man looked astonished.
“What is Jonathan like?”
“He’s one of us in private. Don’t be nervous.”
“I think this will be a good experience. Thank you for the opportunity, Ethan.”
“Likewise. Shall we go in? Jonathan is waiting.”
The secretary only smiled at us as we had notified her in advance and opened the door to Jonathan’s office. Jonathan stood up with a smile and welcomed the man.
The man seemed astonished, as he had been shunned from all the Silicon Valley firms before. He would not have expected this welcome. He spoke while sitting down.
“I will not take much of your time and will explain about our PageRank technology.”
“It ranks the websites the user searches for according to importance, right?” (EN: PageRank works by counting the number and quality of links to a page to determine a rough estimate of how important the website is. The underlying assumption is that more important websites are likely to receive more links from other websites.)
The man’s voice brightened, and Jonathan began to speak.
“I’m not certain why you’ve come to me. Ethan over there believes that the industry will continue to be dominated by the big names, and I had thought so as well, until I read Ethan’s report on your product. You may change my opinion that their domination cannot be broken.”
The man would know that Jonathan was alluding to APE, the largest portal website company in the world now. (EN: APE is probably AOL.)
“While APE may have started out as a joke and now is enjoying success, their technology is primitive, but still viable. Why me?”
“…I’m grateful for thinking of our technology so highly.”
“I should be the grateful one. I will immediately pay you a million dollars for your technology if you sign.”
However, the man did not reach for the pen. He seemed to be calculating why Jonathan was criticizing the world’s largest portal website while praising his technology. He became quiet and pulled out his phone.
“I have a partner, and may I talk things over with him?”
He was thinking critically about Jonathan’s offer, which was a good sign.
“I have to go to Washington in an hour. Can you do so in ten minutes?”
“I’ll be back.”
The man went out and came back with an excited face. The contract and the check were already ready on the table.
“We had a difference of opinion, and my partner believes our technology is worth more than five million. Do you want to rethink your offer?”
“I don’t need to. Have you read my book?”
“Yes. My partner was disappointed not being able to meet you and he said many times that we should trust our funds to your company if we sold it.”
“Then you will know I have bet my entire personal assets twice, just on my instincts, and won big, and I believe that this would be my third opportunity.”
Jonathan ripped up the check and wrote one for ten million dollars.
“I believe that your partner will be satisfied.”
I saw his surprised eyes and shaking hands, but when the tremors died down, he looked determined. I knew then what he was thinking.
“I thank you for your high estimate of our technology.”
“You have changed your mind.”
While Jonathan was smiling, his voice now grew cold. He spoke while the man stood, which made him sit down again.
“I made a bet with the banks after hitting two jackpots, and it was an utterly insane gamble. However, I had been certain that I would win, because I trusted myself, and you know the results.”
Jonathan’s voice grew heavier, and the room’s atmosphere became oppressive.
“People again laughed at me for betting against Russia, but I trusted my hunches.”
“I know about the Russian finance war.”
“You may not know this, but I bought a billion dollars in Russian bonds just to fool my opposition, and lull them to fall into my trap.”
The man held his breath, as Jonathan’s expression now grew icy as he stared at the man.
“The people I fought against were not stupid but now they all work for me.”
The man stood up, but Jonathan did so first.
“I bet all of my own money, which means more than anything else in Wall Street.”
The man looked at me for help, but I ignored it as Jonathan went on.
“Let’s go back to the beginning. I would not have told you what I think about your technology if I wanted it badly. Wouldn’t I expect you to increase your price and then change your mind? However, why do you think I did so?”
“What are you…”
“Look at the reality and what you knew before coming in. Do you think your technology is worth more than a million dollars? If you go outside of this office, it will be worth less than a million again. You can go if you are certain that you will be able to make a higher profit out of it somewhere.”
“While I thank you, you’re crossing a line.”
“You can laugh at me like others did but think about what happened to my competitors afterward.”
Jonathan called his secretary in a commanding voice I had heard before in a dungeon during my past life.
“Tell the White House I have a more pressing matter to attend to.”
The man looked like his worst nightmares had come true as Jonathan spoke to him again.
“It has been a pleasant meeting, and you can go.”
The man wanted to say that Jonathan could not threaten him this way, but his brain seemed to tell him that it would become even worse if he said it.
“Wall Street knows me and also knows if I believe in you, I will trust my instincts and I will invest, up to everything I have on you, your partner, and your technology. I will go all in.”
It was time to finish, and I counted inwardly up to three.
“You and your partner will have to come back here, and we can start the paperwork.”
“I cannot believe this is happening…why are you doing this when you’re you?”
Jonathan only opened the door, and it was then the man grabbed the check. I could see that the man had come to a final decision.
“I am trying to set this up in the best way possible. Fifty-fifty, but my partner and I get management authority.”
He then lifted his arm for a handshake to Jonathan, and Jonathan waited for a little bit until the man spoke again.
“You have to negotiate this much if you really value our technology.”
It was then Jonathan spoke.
“I had to know one thing before betting everything on you and your technology. By ripping up the 10 million dollar check, it told me you believed in yourselves and your technology. I had to know that. However, I do apologize for being rude today.”
“So do I.”
They then shook hands, and the man looked like he was about to faint.
“You won’t regret this.”
As he said those words, Jonathan looked at me. I could see the person he had been in his past life there.
Edited by Userunfriendly