Richard parked his car in front of the Perch Capital HQ. Upon exiting his car, he got his first, proper look upon the building he was about to enter. He was awestruck. The building gleamed in the Californian sun, like an obelisk in the Sahara. It seemed to stand as an affront to God, a monument to the greatness of man, and the victory of post-modern human philosophy. If God were dead, this would be his grave.
Richard was petrified, nay, mortified by the aura the building gave off. It was like the building was testing him to see how prepared he was for the world he was about to enter. He powered through the atmosphere, taking one step at a time from his car to the front doors. By the time he had reached the lobby, he was already exhausted. He was, above all else, ready to call it quits for the day.
Just then, a familiar voice called out to him.
“You made it!” said the familiar voice in an excited tone. It was Gregory. And at that moment, all traces of anguish, lethargy, and fear left Richard.
“Gregory! It’s so nice to see you again!” Richard was, for the first time today, truly relieved.
“Boy, you look shaken! What happened?”
“I have no idea. I feel as if the world just changed under my feet.”
“Well, let’s get you something to drink, then. Coffee?”
The two headed for Gregory’s office. They took the elevator. Much like the lobby of the building, it, too was spectacularly lavish. Richard felt a recurring theme at this point. He began to wonder just how ostentatious Gregory’s office would be. They rocketed towards the top floor, all the while, the view of the world shot past the windows of the elevator.
They reached the 21st floor. Richard felt as though he was at the top of the world. He could see well past the rooftops of the other buildings. He was mesmerized by everything he was seeing, and Gregory took notice. It put a grin to Gregory’s face. He hadn’t been wrong about Richard after all. Perhaps Richard was the very person Gregory was looking for.
Gregory opened the doors to his office, revealing, perhaps, the most extravagant display of wealth anyone could imagine. It was something straight out of Batman or Iron Man. Nay, perhaps it was even more so. He had heard rumors about Perch Capital before, but seeing it first hand was truly something else.
Richard was strafing around the room as though it were the Sistine Chapel. He came to a top, mouth open, silent. Gregory interrupted by offering a mug. It was coffee. For a second, Richard blankly stared at the mug. It was as if he had fallen into the rabbit hole, and had yet to reach bottom.
Gregory was the first to break the silence. “Craving anything in particular?” he inquired.
Richard quickly reacted and grabbed the mug out of Gregory’s hand. “Nothing in particular,” he replied. “I was hoping you could introduce me to the area.”
“Of course, I figured as much,” said Gregory. “This area is very much a mystery to new comers like you. I already made reservations. We have a moment to kill before we have to head out.”
Gregory took a sip from the mug sitting on his desk. “So what have you been up to, Richard?”
“I managed to land a job as an in house accountant at a local startup,” Richard replied. As he made his reply, he could feel the room judging him. It was as if the room had a mind of its own, thinking ‘how could one as low as him be in our presence?’
“Oh, good!” exclaimed Gregory. This joyful exclamation seemed to kill the negative atmosphere the room was giving off. “So you’re an accountant by trade?”
“Heavens, no,” Richard had a knee jerk reaction to this question. “I took this job to cover the bills. God knows I’ve only taken a couple courses in accounting in college.”
“So then, what is your background?”
“Huh,” Gregory had a confused look on his face. “I never would’ve guessed.”
Richard let out an awkward laughter. The negative sentiment was back. He was feeling the pressure now. He looked at the clock. Still much time left. He began to cold sweat. He felt his body tremble a bit.
Gregory broke the silence again.
“Why did you come to Silicon Valley? Can I ask you about that?”
Richard drew a blank. He didn’t know how to go about answering that question.
“Well…” he started. “I saw an editorial piece in my local paper back in Minneapolis. And when I read that article, my gut feeling told me I had to be here.” This was, perhaps, as candid a response he could give Gregory at this point.
Gregory had an intrigued look upon his face. It was as if that last answer triggered something in him.
Richard then took to the offensive. He began to inquire about Perch Capital, Gregory, and Silicon Valley. Gregory was delighted that Richard began to ask questions. He was afraid Richard was too introverted to do anything. But Richard seemed to get motivated at the strangest of times — this happening to be one of them.
Richard quickly learnt Gregory was a founding partner of Perch Capital, and that there were other people with significant stakes in the organization. He further learnt that Gregory, along with the other partners, were highly successful entrepreneurs themselves, from the dot com era.
The two continued their conversation over lunch. Thankfully, the change in atmosphere did wonders for Richard’s social skills. They had gone to a simple restaurant — North African cuisine. It was Richard’s first exposure to such exotic cuisine, but the food was more than palatable.
“How are you enjoying the food?” asked Gregory.
“Wonderful. I’ve never had such great food in my life,” replied Richard.
Just then, the phone rang. Gregory’s phone. Gregory picked up the phone. After a short conversation, he hung up, and looked at Richard.
“Hey,” said Gregory. “Let’s stop by my place for coffee.”