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Chapter 3

Dylan arrived at his office on the Fieldy Lands’ campus at 10:45 on Monday morning. He believed in keeping a schedule which allowed him an easier commute by missing the Silicon Valley rush hours. As always, Alan was waiting for him with a complete recap of everything a CEO should be aware of.

“Hey, Alan,” Dylan greeted him, as he entered the anteroom outside of his personal office.

“Morning, Dylan,” Alan began, in his sugary sweet way, “How was your weekend?”

Dylan marched straight through the door into his office and hung his messenger bag on a hook behind his desk. Alan sat down in a leather wingback chair off to the side of the room while Dylan turned on his computer and got his desk in order. Finally, leaning back in his plush leather desk chair, Dylan looked seriously at Alan.

“It was fine. It’s your weekend that I’m interested in.”

“Well, I did actually find something to do,” Alan started somewhat nervously. “I found a website a while back that has all sorts of DIY projects on it. So I decided thatI’d give one a shot.”

“Really?” Dylan leaned forward, genuinely interested in what he had promised to pay for.

“Yeah. I made a list, and went to the home improvement store…”

“Back home we always called them hardware stores.” Dylan interjected. “Sorry, go on.”

“And basically I picked up the stuff I need to add a koi pond to my backyard.” Alan said it as though it was a confession and sat nervously awaiting judgment.

“No kidding. That’ll be great out there. How confident are you about doing it yourself?”

“Well, not very, really. But we’ll see.”

“Stick with it, no matter what. It’ll mean a thousand times more to you if you do it yourself.” Dylan advised him, a rural midwesterner to a lifelong west coast city dweller. “I might even want to pitch in, if you’d welcome it, that is. Got a receipt?”

“That’d be awesome. Of course you’d be welcome.” Alan, nervous again, fumbled through his wallet, and handed Dylan the receipt from the hardware store.

Dylan looked the receipt over, noting the items. Stones, plastic sheeting, a shovel, river rock, concrete along with other miscellaneous items. The total of the sale was $273.52. Dylan opened his desk drawer and got out his checkbook and began writing.

“I offered you five hundred dollars, why’d you stop at two seventy-five?” Dylan asked without looking up.

“I got everything on the list. Didn’t want to take advantage of anything.” Alan answered, childlike.

“Well, you’ll need some fish.” Dylan ripped the check from the book and handed it to Alan. It was made out for five hundred dollars. “And hurry it up, too, I want to see this thing finished.”

“Sure thing, Dylan.  Thank you.” Alan verged on becoming overly emotional.

“Alright, so fill me in on the news.” Dylan commanded in an upbeat tone as he reclined in his seat again.

Alan picked up his tablet computer and began paraphrasing the data he had compiled on it.  

“Right, umm, well, should I start with the graduation?” Alan looks at Dylan and sees in his face that that was a stupid question. “Of course I should. The speech is a viral sensation. The most viewed version has over twenty-million views, but there are at least a hundred different videos of it online. So, that’s huge. The website has already hit forty thousand views. Press coverage has been incredible and very positive. The stock opened up four percent today. We’ve verified that seventy-two percent of the graduates have already signed up. That was as of first thing this morning, we anticipate another surge by day’s end. And, as a result of all the press, we’ve seen an overall eight percent increase in traffic on the Fieldy Lands sites compared to an average Saturday/Sunday. Accounting says that if we can milk this, and stay so high in mindshare that just one week at that rate would increase our quarterly profit by seven and a half million dollars. One week!”

“How are the graduates signing up? Any trends emerging in the three categories?” Dylan quickly changed the subject. He seldom concerned himself with the advice of the bean counters. Dylan had always believed that a high-quality product managed properly would never fail to remain financially viable.

“Let’s see. The split is sixty percent undecided, twelve percent for the million bucks, fourteen percent for the investment, and fourteen percent for the jobs. I can’t believe it’s that even.”

“Those are the ones that will win out. Nothing against the rest, but the ones that rushed home to sign up, they’ve already got their pitches all figured out. There will be some late entries, the meticulous types that insist on perfecting every last detail, but by and large, the undecideds don’t have a pitch at all, they’re just hoping for the five million dollar prize. Do me a favor, and get someone to note those first forty percent by name. I don’t want to know, but when it’s all said and done I want to see how many of the winners were early entrants.”

“Sure. Anything else?” Alan had calmed down and was now in his comfort zone as an assistant.

“That’s all I’ve got. Do you have anything else?”

“No, not really anything important.”

Dylan stood up and walked toward the door, Alan quickly fell in behind him. Back in the anteroom, Dylan stopped at Alan’s desk.

“Okay, I’m going to be all over campus today, staying down to earth with everyone.” Dylan told Alan who had already taken a seat. “Use my cell if anything important comes up, otherwise just hold down the fort.” Dylan began to walk away but stopped abruptly, turning back toward Alan. “Find out when Jeff would be available for a meeting. It’s nothing urgent, I just want to have a sit-down. Lunch would work if its easier for him.”

“I’ll get right on it.”

Dylan vanished out the door just as Alan reached for his phone.

Dylan spent the next two hours walking through the various buildings, offices and cubicle areas of the campus shaking hands and speaking to his employees. He had always done this on a regular basis, feeling that detachment from the ground level of his empire would lead to its collapse. He had made a solemn vow to never turn into Nero. This behavior served to make him one of the most beloved CEO’s in the world, based on third-party internal polling.

In addition to direct exposure to the common workers, he also used the time to speak face to face with the various department and division managers about any concerns that they have at the moment. This sort of bureaucratic workaround had allowed him to recognize and remedy several potentially disastrous problems over the years.

He had seemingly perfected the art of micromanagement to the point that no one even realized he was doing it. Dylan always had a penchant for doing things that would generally be poorly received in such a way that those bearing witness praised his artful execution of such tasks.

Next Chapter: Chapter 4