Headhunters have always played a big role in American business. But none more so than Harry “The Head” Bernstein when he had his greatest idea. Spring skiing and Colorado weed will do that to you. He took one more double black down to his $5 million condo, Googled his targets and started to giggle. This was going to be fun and, hopefully, the biggest kill of his career.
Travis Kupcake, who the media would say did not build his Udder ride-sharing service into a global force by playing nicely, was the target.
The bait was David Piffle, the guy who managed a successful presidential bid. Then he became the pres’s closest White House advisor in the first term and a Washington consultant in the two years after. The payoff was seven figures. Nice, but not Silicon Valley rich.
But Harry The Head had a plan. It was clear Kupcake was a brilliant entrepreneur but lacked the discipline, vision and communication skills of a pro like Piffle. Who, incidentally, knew every word leader personally.
The Head started with a psychological workup on both men. Three weeks and $30,000 later, he had his profiles. Simply, Kupcake wanted to be the most powerful businessman in the world and Piffle wanted to be a baseball player.
There was no question of which to start with. Kupcake wasn’t in the market for anybody. After all he knew everything. A Holy Savior would have to be hand delivered to him.
The Head, thus, called Piffle and they met for lunch at the Palm.
After pleasantries, the pitch was simple.
“David, I know that your American Dream was to play baseball. Well, I can’t get you a contract with the Washington Nationals but how about a first year contract for $150 million to play in San Francisco. Something like a $100 million signing bonus, $50 million salary and, maybe, 2 percent of the IPO … with UDDER! Interested?”
Of course, Piffle signed on. Who could turn down a chance to be VP of Policy and Strategy, live in the city by the bay, and manage a runaway locomotive again.
Selling Kupcake for wasn’t hard, either.
“Travis, if this guy can elect a black man president, is the most brilliant political strategist in the country and knows everyone in the world, would you like to have lunch with him?’
Flash forward one week.
“Well, David, did you enjoy lunch?”
“Loved it. Loved it. Loved it. He may be a mad man, but, hey, I almost took a job with Fox. Everything is pretty much set. My tax guy is finalizing the package. We’re just dicking over my IPO share.”
“Let me ask you, David, between us, where do you see Udder going.”
“Well, regardless of when we go public, we’re going to ride-share everything from teamster trucking to airliners. But Travis doesn’t need me for those expansions.
“Udder’s at least a $30 billion company now, and worth way more after the IPO. So the question is what do we take over then? And we’re thinking, maybe, GM. They’re only a $50 billion cap and they’d be a perfect fit for all our drivers cars to trucks around the world.”
“Wow,” exclaimed Harry The Head.
“Yeah, you should have seen Travis’s face when I sprang GM on him,” said Piffle.
“That was nothing,” he added. “When I said we’d do that deal in 2017, and then go after Boeing in 2020, he spit his coffee clear across the room.”
So did Harry The Head.
Bill Regardie was the founder of Regardie’s Magazine.