Friday, October 5, 2012

Fusion Lasagna and Other Secrets I Know about Google

By James Altucher

One time I wanted to sell my company to HBO. The CFO was looking at the numbers. They were willing to buy it for a tiny amount but it was an amount that would’ve taken me about one billion years to save because that’s just the way I roll. I figured I would quit after a decent amount of time and spend a year doing nothing but writing a novel.

They said no.

All I had been thinking about for months was whether or not they would buy the company. And it took only one or two decision makers to say no. To ruin my life, I thought then.

One time I had an idea for a TV show for HBO. I wired up a restaurant with video and audio. A good friend of mine who was very pretty and funny put an ad in the Village Voice looking for a blind date. She would then go on the dates being fully aware they were being videotaped but the guy wouldn’t know. We did two dates. On the first one the guy told her he wasn’t sure if he was gay or straight and was debating the pros and cons of both right in the middle of the date. On the second date the guy received a phone call. From his wife. He then refused to sign the release form unless my friend would sleep with him. Which she didn’t (I assume).

As they say, it was good TV.

I showed it to HBO Independent Productions. They “Loved it!!” I had all sorts of fantasies about how I was going to spend the money. I was definitely living in the future. I was going to be a big TV guy. BIG.

And then suddenly I couldn’t get in touch with them. The guy in charge, Dave B., wouldn’t return my calls. He was always in a meeting. He would “call me right back”. I couldn’t get in touch with him. Not knowing this meant “no”, I called him 15 times a day until finally he confessed, “you know, you have another project going with [he named another division within HBO] so they got upset at me for looking at this project. So I can’t touch it.”

I eventually had lunch with the head of the other division. She said, “your idea seems a bit mean to me.” Her division had just aired “Hookers at Hunts Point” and other family-oriented features so I sort of understood.

Another time I started another company. I wanted Google to buy it. I mean, I really wanted Google to buy it. Google was like some sort of Internet Disneyworld to me. People were riding around in skateboards (technically I signed a contract saying I couldn’t say what I saw in the building. They accidentally had me sign the wrong document so I actually had to GO BACK a day later and sign the right one. But, fuck it, everyone was skateboarding in there while eating fusion lasagna). Everyone was smiling. Everyone was SMART. We all sat around this big conference table and when I say “we all sat around” half of us were in NYC and the other half was web-exed or whatever in from SF. Everyone asked smart questions. I felt like I was in graduate school again.

That night I woke up in the middle of the night sweating. I literally felt like I wanted to call Google at 2 in the morning and asked her if she still loved me. And then say, “but are you SURE you love me?” I wanted them to love me. I wanted to buy a skateboard. I wanted to say “Google bought my company”. I wanted to sexually harass the other employees there. I couldn’t help myself. I was in Google Fever.

They said “no”.

Read the rest here.

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