I call the man the Mayor, because he takes control of any Starbucks he enters and goes around introducing himself to everyone.
His business is creating videos for small businesses. He shows me his new business card and asks what I think of it. His picture is on the front of card. In the photo, he is wearing dark sunglasses and striking a pose that reminded me of Al Pacino in Scarface.
“That’s different,” I tell him.
“I showed it to my partners and they said it didn’t look businesslike. You know what I told them? Good!”
“That’s different too.”
“I’m a street guy,” he says. “I want to be a little different. I want to stand out. I don’t think that’s something you should be afraid of.”
I told him it reminded me of marketing consultant Dan Brown, who advocates doing outrages things. The Mayor’s eyes light up and he asks me to repeat the consultant’s name and writes it down.
“If you’re not being a little outrageous, you’re probably being a lot boring, huh?”
The Mayor stops people as they pass by the table to ask their opinion on his card. I realize he is only using this as pretext to sell his services.
Once he told me that more than half his website business is generated from striking up conversations at Starbucks.
The next day, the Mayor sits down next to me this morning and he instantly begins selling me. He has a Kickstarter campaign to raise money for some herbal concoction that you are supposed to take before you are about to drink heavily to prevent a hangover.
When he sat down, he placed his phone in a little stand so he could use it as a second screen. That struck the attention of a young man with a Mohawk-like splash of red hair. The Mayor told him the cell phone stand doubled as a selfie stick. When the man with the Mohawk praised the idea, the Mayor pull a bunch of the selfie sticks, in their packaging, from his bag.
“I sell them!” the Mayor said. “I’ll give you a deal – two for twenty dollars. How about a blue one for you and a pink one for your wife?”
The Mohawk man bought two. He had no cash, but emailed him the money right there.
“I’ll give you the same deal any time you want,” the Mayor said. “And as a free bonus, I will give you my chair!”
The Mayor was leaving anyway, so he gave up his seat to the Mohawk-man, making it seem like a freebie. As he made his way out the Mayor paused to offer a quick goodbye and slap the back of someone he had talked to earlier.
Always selling, always closing, always a little outrageous.