Pay It Forward Friday Profiles - Julius The Genius
WHAT IS YOUR GENIUS?
In my quest to find inspiration for my own entrepreneurial pursuits, last Sunday while doing deliveries, I ran across a charismatic entrepreneur who was counting more cash on hand than I had made that entire week. I am not sure what it was, maybe it was the way he was counting the bills in broad daylight in a carefree manner, but he struck me as an individual that marched to the beat of a different drum. Determined to gain some insight into his genius I pulled alongside him while still sitting in traffic and gestured for him to approach my vehicle. I then asked him if I could do a quick interview - he said yes.
As I pulled in to park and started to set up my camera - he approached, suddenly launched into a high kick that would make a Radio City Rocket Blush, and before I could fully gather myself he started my interview for me - “Now what you wanna talk about?” he said. Seemingly eager to get back to his days work.
I asked him his name. “My name is Julius, I was born on a leap year “ - he proudly proclaimed, even showing me his Identification as proof. My hunch was right… Julius was a showman with a Phineas T. Barnum like flare. So I cut straight to my question. What is your genius?
This answer was more Master Po than Gary V - Surely there must be more to his genius than that. I listened on like a patient young grasshopper as he continued… Julius went on to explain that no matter the religion we all serve one god. He then asked me if I wanted to hear a song?
Yes I said.
I learned how to live, and depend on jesus,
I found out if I did, we will survive.
And then another
I’m comin' up on the rough side of the mountain,
I’m doin' my best to make it in.
Great voice I thought. And there is a theme of survival that I immediately picked up on. After all the tagline of this series is Survival Tales of a Founder. It was then I noticed something else - It was not me who was engaging Julius, instead it was Julius who was engaging me. Was this show one big MacgGuffin? Was I being wooed? It seemed like Julius was courting me like a Paradise Bird doing a mating dance. So is this his genius? He puts on a show, his mark (me in this case) drops their guard, and he goes in for the close. After all who could say no to that voice. As I stated in the article that launched this series.
IN MY EXPERIENCE THE FOLKS WHO SURVIVE IN THE STREETS ARE JUST AS (IF NOT MORE) SAVVY THAN THOSE WHO SURVIVE IN THE CORPORATE WORLD, AS A FILMMAKER AT HEART I AM INTERESTED IN SHINING SOME LIGHT ON THIS THEORY.
You might call this a street hustle and it probably is. Or you might call him a panhandler and you might be right. Some might even use a less flattering description for this pitch. However you label him I see the same entrepreneurial drive in Julius that I see in myself. And amongst his competitors I could see that he was not employing the same tricks I have come accustomed to and even employed myself . What Julius did was he sized me up (What we in sales call qualifying), lured me in without me knowing (What some call a soft pitch), put on a show (The presentation), and led me to his close (which he had not yet accomplished - read on). These are all skills I have been employing on my own daily pitches (which I am documenting on the Free Your Arms social media channels (see links below)).
Finally I reached into my wallet pulled out a $20 and paid it forward to Julius, only asking that he share his love with others. (And there you have it - The Close). I actually did not mention that he made his ask at the top of our encounter (which you will see in the video posted below). The ask is the most important part of any pitch. And presenting it at the very beginning is how you do it (Don’t you watch Shark Tank?). This is a strategy that I did not learn about until recently.
WORTH EVERY PENNY
This seemingly unselfish act of kindness I am displaying by paying it forward, may be more self-serving than it appears. It is not dissimilar to the final scene in Pulp Fiction. The Jules Character (No relation to Julius) played by Samuel Jackson and his sidekick Vincent (Played by John Travolta) voluntarily gives Pumpkin (Played by Tim Roth) $1500 while holding a gun to Pumpkin’s head. This after Jules thwarts Pumpkin’s attempt to take his MacGuffin.
…Now How much is there?
About fifteen hundred dollars…
Put it in your pocket, it’s yours.
Now with the rest of them wallets
and the register, that makes this a
pretty successful little score.
Jules, if you give this nimrod
fifteen hundred bucks, I’m gonna
shoot ‚em on general principle.
I ain’t givin‘ it to him.
I’m buyin‘ somethin‘ for my money.
Like Jules I am also “buyin‘ somethin‘ for my money”
If you were misled at the beginning of this article into thinking Julius was your archetypical entrepreneur we have grown familiar with, I propose that it is in these archetypes where the seeds of bias are planted. For the initiated his genius hides in plain sight. As an educational resource, his genius at the “soft close” is the type of low hanging fruit of knowledge I hope to harvest for the Everybody Is a Genius series.
Enjoy the video below.
EPILOGUE : DIVINE INTERVENTION
A few friends have reminded me that by paying it forward good things will come back to me (which isn’t the goal btw). I do believe in karma. Anecdotally it makes sense that putting out good energy leads to more good things happening. Where I’m more skeptical is in a belief in a higher power. Some call this power God (Btw why is God almost always a man? - A topic for another day - I digress) I'm not a believer or disbeliever in God but since paying it forward I have been encountering some strange coincidences.
For example -
A few weeks back right when I posted Why Should Billionaires Have All the Fun I quoted this verse from the bible.
IF YOU WANT TO BE PERFECT, GO, SELL YOUR POSSESSIONS AND GIVE TO THE POOR, AND YOU WILL HAVE TREASURE IN HEAVEN