Episode 3: How hard is it to impress a powerful man worth 5.8 billion?

Why would a man worth 5.8 billion fly me to Moscow, Idaho?

For one reason: I’m just that good. Or so I thought.

This is a story I’ve been retelling for the last few weeks. To catch you up: The billionaire Marvin Davis had asked me to meet with him on an abandoned runway in the middle of nowhere. He was a giant man who owned Twentieth Century Fox and the Aspen Ski Company and the Beverly Hills Hotel and he usually got what he wanted from people. But what did he want from me?

Episode 1 is here, and Episode 2 is here.

This is Episode 3.

We sat in his Range Rover as he asked gruffly,  “Do you know WHY you’re here?”

I wasn’t really wondering. I mean, c’mon … what billionaire wouldn’t want to work with me, Oren Klaff.

Next, I tried to impress The Man Who Owned The Beverly Hills Hotel:

Marvin, You heard about my Phoenix deal, right? Where I raised $20 million in just 6 weeks.”

Oooops. Sometimes even the devil on my shoulder asks, What The Hell Are You Doing?!

Marvin shifted in his seat, which was terrifying in and of itself. I put the man at around six four, and three hundred pounds. When Marvin threw his weight around, the earth moved.

“No, sorry. I didn’t hear about your piece of #*&$& deal. I brought you here because I have a small and unusual job for you.”

He then made two good points: 

  1. 1. I Marvin need something done quietly by a no-name firm.
  2. 2. You Oren are the most plain-vanilla financial advisor I could find.

So THIS is why you don’t brag about yourself in front of Marvin Davis.

At that moment I wanted to tell him a little bit more about my accomplishments.

So I’m definitely a notch above “plain vanilla”. But this would be a stupid time to argue about my track record. And for the first time in my personal history, I chose to be modest. “It’s true. I am not well known in the industry.

“Good man,” he said, shaking my hand. I felt like something had been settled, but I wasn’t sure what. “Let’s go get lunch!”

An unexpected lunch.

As we made our way through downtown Moscow, I imagined the indulgences that awaited me, now that I was lunching with a mogul who easily weighed 300 lbs and loved food. I pictured a hidden kitchen staffed with Chef’s named Francois, Alberto and Dario. To get in, we would have to knock on a large wooden door with a grate in the center, that would open the door only to those who belonged to this closed billionaire society. I would be led through that door by some impossibly beautiful MAC makeup model, and offered a seat at Mr. Davis’s table. Mr. Davis would introduce me to the maître d’ and the MAC model as the newest member of the club and they would smile warmly and welcome me in.

“Oren’s with me tonight,” Marvin Davis would say, putting his arm around me like I was a new pledge that had just been accepted into the fraternity. “Whatever he wants. Now pour him a glass of my 30-year-old-scotch and for God’s sake somebody get him a cigar!” I imagined ribeyes the size of softballs, seared foie gras, and oysters, and Beluga caviar served on cold fingerling potatoes with a sprig of fresh dill. I imagined supple leather chairs, polished mahogany, and china plates with sterling silver lids. I imagined five star continental chefs, serving the very best that the local farms and fields could offer, because I could tell that Marvin Davis was a man who knew how to eat.

Back to reality: we took a sharp right into a parking lot of a strip mall with neon signs. There was a shop named DRY CLEANER. Another named FLORIST. A third named … BURGERS. watch this hilarious video to see what I’m talking about

The driver turned off the engine and the doors on either side of the Rover slid open simultaneously.

“I’m gonna buy you lunch,” Marvin said as we walked into BURGERS. A sign on the door said Super Cub Burgers, $1.29 Mondays and Tuesdays.

I realized, with horror that today was Tuesday

So over a plate heaped high with 750,000 calories, Marvin finally told me about the deal.

Here’s the deal, he said.

“I have an investment in a medical company. They make some kind of fluid for knee joints. We’re not gonna cure cancer with this stuff, but you know, it’s sensible, it works. Old people love this s&#^.  It’s profitable. It’s a good business and growing fast. I have been in this deal for over five-years, and it’s time to recycle my cash. But there’s a problem. The company is in the middle of a winning a huge deal right now. If people find out I’m selling my shares, it could hit the news and hurt the deal. They’ll think I lost confidence in the company, which I haven’t.  But I’ve made my money, and it’s just time to get out, you understand?”

Marvin took a bite of his burger.  Half of it disappeared before my eyes.

“What’s your timeline on this?” I asked, suddenly feeling a little bit like that cub burger myself.

“Two weeks,” Marvin said not even registering the fact that he had just asked the impossible.

I set down my triple fribble shake and looked at him, trying to see if he understood the scale of what he was asking for.

“You do realize that asking me to find $50 million in two weeks is like asking that kid with the pimples back on the fries machine to make an order of Poblano chillies stuffed with spiced minced meat over walnut sauce and pomegranate seeds.”

Martin stopped chewing. “So you’re telling me that you’re like a kid who only knows how to make fries?” he said, and waited for my answer.

“That’s not what I meant,” I said getting caught up in my own bad metaphor.

“Good,” he said.

Marvin continued, “It’s ON. A fifty million dollar deal. You make it happen, and you do it quietly, your fee structure is $1.5 million.” A contract appeared out of his pocket, so did a 30 cent bic pen. to see a copy of one of my contracts click here

“Wait,” I said still trying to feebly negotiate. “I’ll need some things, first.” I took the pen pulled a piece of paper from the bottom of the onion ring basket.

Here’s the list of my demands:

  • a plane (eg. Challenger 604);
  • staff of 9 analysts and associates; and
  • $250,000 of walking around money

Marvin took a look at my list, he squinted and said, “I like you. You got some jokes.”

  • no plane
  • no staff
  • but you do get $50K…
  • and you start NOW

Marvin put down his remaining piece of burger and waited to see what I would do. My two choices:

      1. 1. Walk out (because finding $50M in 2 weeks is a complete suicide mission)
      2. 2. Sign the contract (because it’s my job and I’m supposed to be good at it)

To be continued…
If you like the way I work click here to discuss a deal with me.

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