Skeletons in 70’s clothing

“Yeah, he said it was Jerry, Jerry Olsen, but honestly he’s so odd I don’t know whether to believe him or not.”

The look on Scott’s face was a mix of fear and dread.

“Oh shit Paul, we have to talk,” He laid his pen down, rose and shut the door to his office.  He didn’t speak until he sat back down.

“We thought we were free of this guy months ago” he said as he shook his head from side to side.

“What do you mean, “free” of him?  You know this guy?”

“I’m afraid we do.  But before we go any further I need your word that this goes no further than this office.”

“What do you mean?  This is some big secret?”

“Well, it’s not really a secret but let’s just say that if word got out about what I’m about to tell you it would be very, very bad for our place of business.  In fact it might be fatal.  You think you can handle that?”

‘Well, sure, I mean I guess so.  Is this something I shouldn’t know?”

“Well, it’s company information so you have a right to know but maybe not a need, technically.  Sort of like I don’t have a need to know everything that goes on in your department or any of the other departments here but I should be able to know if I ask.  Understand?”

“Yeah, I think so.  Is this going to get me in trouble if I know?”

“No, no… like I said, you have a right to the information merely because you work here, but it’s still up to you if you think you want to, based on your run-in with this guy.”

He hesitated for a bit running the “kicking out” conversation and that odd get-up today through his mind.  He half-shuddered,

“Okay, give it to me.  I need to know about this guy.”

“Okay, sure.  Now since I’m making you a party to this information I need to have you sign this disclosure statement that just says I shared this information with you.  It’s not an admission of any involvement, just an acknowledgment of knowledge.  It’s what all of us here in my department sign whenever we start any kind of investment project, sort of like a roster.  You know, like a, “these are the guys on the team in this game” sort of thing?”

“Sure, I get that.”  He signed the form Scott slid across the desk to him and Scott dropped it into a hanging folder in his desk.

“Okay, let me start with a little background on some of the stuff we get into down here.  Obviously our main function is keeping track of the money here at the company, you know, debits and credits and all that.  We run all the analysis of how we’re making money, where and how we stack up against other companies.”

“Sure, of course, that makes sense” he agreed.

“What you probably don’t know is that we also have a big part in saying yay or nay on other side projects that someone might dream up.  Like, you remember a couple of years back when Jensen came up with that program to auto-balance and run projections?”

Paul nodded in agreement.

“Well obviously when Bill came up with that he needed some resources, some time to troubleshoot, write the code, everything, and resources, time, equals money.  So, he had to get our approval to allocate those.  We said okay and when it really, really worked, he wanted to offer it publicly.  Now, we’re not in the software marketing business but since we technically built it, it was ours.  Bill would still get the recognition and reap some rewards salary wise and might be able to go on to bigger and better things but if we made the decision to try and market it, the income would come back to us.  Still following?”

“Yep” was all Paul said.

“Great.  So take this one step further.  We’re not in the software business, we don’t really want to put out funds to market it as a company but we’ll support one of our employees if he wants to make this a sort of side project.  So, when Bill wanted to go this next step we reviewed it and said ‘Sure, go see if you can find-“

“Venture capital” Paul interrupted.

“Right, venture capital.  And not to bore you with any other details, but enter Jerry Olson.”

Scott let that sink in just a little.

“Okay, so the guy’s in venture capital and Bill Jensen gets hooked up with him to try and fund the marketing of the software.  How do things go sideways and why are you all trying to stay away from him?”

“Well, besides being a total loon, which I’m sure you’ve seen enough evidence of, the guy is just wicked brilliant.”

“Brilliant?  He must be some sort of crazy, “beautiful mind,” “Rain man” brilliant then.”

“Paul, I don’t throw the term around but I’d call this guy scary brilliant all day long.  The thing is, he’s so erratic and so obsessive compulsive if you’re around him very much at all you realize you never know where that mind of his is going to run off on one of its tangents next.”

“Oh shit, that’s what he was talking about when he said ‘kicked out’.”

“You got it man.  I need you to tell me everything, as much as you can remember, verbatim, what you said to the guy and what he said to you.”

This time Scott was really ready with his pen.