My original concept for what I wanted to do was something I called The Knowledge Cafe. The idea was easy enough: Create an internet cafe where people feel comfortable learning, and are rewarded for doing so.
I wanted to have video games, a home theater room, a large database of music and films, discounts to local merchants – all as rewards for good educational behavior. Good grades? One free hour on the 360. Present a topic you’ve researched? 20% off your next purchase. Do good, get good – that was the idea.
As we toured the space, Dan talked a little bit about how it was already under contract. Of course my spirits fell for a bit when he started describing the situation, but as he began talking about what the mystery contract holder was planning, they began to lift again: Video games? Shared space for community? Internet cafe? It was 80 percent of what I wanted to do!
It was Dan’s idea to put us in contact – or at least he was the one who suggested it! By the time he finished talking about what was going on with the space I already had business cards out and was ready to beg for an introduction.
His name was Richard, and of course I was nervous about calling him. This was someone who was doing a lot of what I had wanted to do. More importantly, this was someone who had “my building” on contract.
If the conversation went well I could have a partner who shared my vision. On the other hand if things went south I would lose all access to the building I’d quite literally dreamed of.
A lot of this weighed on me as I dialed Richard’s number. What would he be like? What were his motivations? What were his plans and just how similar were they to mine?
For all my speculation I could never have imagined just how incredible the result of that conversation would be.
To be continued …