Chasing After Power – “I Can Control My World”

Noah pulled into the Brothers Consolidated staff parking lot to find his spot was taken. The interloper, a new kid who had recently joined the firm as a researcher, was just getting out of the car. Noah pulled up behind him and shouted, “When did you become a senior analyst?”

The kid jumped. “Hey, I’m sorry. Did I park in your space? I’ll move. I’m really sorry.”

“Consider it a gift today. Do it again, I’ll have you towed—or give you an assignment that’ll keep you here all night.”

The kid kept on apologizing, but Noah had lost interest. He wanted to get his ducks in a row well in advance of today’s meeting, where senior staff members were going to review their portfolios and reassess all their past decisions—including Pearson Furniture.

Pearson stock had recently dropped a few points on the NASDAQ and appeared to be sliding downward, but Noah believed the decline was just a minor blip in Pearson’s progress. Pearson Furniture had recently lost a bid to place some of their products in a national chain of business stores—ostensibly because their line was not well developed and their offering incomplete. Noah believed Pearson’s line was just ahead of its time—that the company was so good and so innovative it would soon dominate the business market.

Brothers Consolidated, of course, wanted the stock to fail so they could pick up their options as it slid. Jonathan Satterwhite, Noah’s chief rival, would argue with his usual suave confidence that his decision to select Pearson as a loser had been confirmed. But Satterwhite knew little about the personalities behind Pearson Furniture. He knew, as did everyone else in the business world, that the CEO, Scott Fitch, was an upstart, a jeans-wearing renegade. But Jonathan didn’t understand Fitch’s past, his personality or his passion.

Noah did.

Noah had followed Fitch’s life, studied his work, even talked with his senior staff. He had studied a tape of a talk Fitch gave his staff. The man had wept when he talked about a Pearson truck driver whose son had died of cancer. He’d expressed amazement at the man’s heart to suffer for his son. Fitch was a hard-driving entrepreneur, but rather than talk to the staff about corporate policy or profits, he had shared what the truck driver taught him about life and then describing the kind of husband, father and friend he wanted to be—and what kind of company he wanted to build.

That speech haunted Noah. Not the tears, which he found maudlin, but the vision. The passion. Noah’s instincts told him Fitch would use the rejection by the national chain to spur his troops on toward setting up a national business furniture wing under the Pearson name.

That stock was definitely going to rise. If Noah played his cards right, his stock in the company would rise as well.

Noah checked in with Janet, his assistant, then carried his binder and coffee cup into the sleek conference room. He took a seat next to Lee Reynolds, senior vice president of research and analysis for the Chicago office. Satterwhite, on the other side of the table, had already distributed copies of his report and opened his own leather binder, ready to begin his review. Noah skimmed the report quickly, then sat back, waiting for his moment.

Satterwhite launched into his usual smooth spiel. He quickly ran through the numbers and concluded crisply, “It’s more than a good bet that Pearson will drop at least 20 percent over the next ten weeks. I think the market will be all over this in about a week, so we have only a brief window to take advantage.”

Lee nodded, ready to move to another stock: “Any more discussion on Pearson? It appears we have a winner here, and due to Jonathan’s careful tracking, we may make this a great quarter.”