The office, though, was a symphony. The rhythms, harmonies and counterpoint blended perfectly. When Steve held court, there was laughter and when he stepped out of the limelight, Annamaria mobilized everybody into action. Everything got done, except sales. The effort Annamaria had begun; bringing in customers one at a time to slowly ramp up, had been superseded by Steve’s strategy of loading up the distributors with product and then hitting the market in one huge burst, with all guns blazing. The biggest flaw in the plan, so far, was that the distributors had yet to give us an order, and without their channels there was no way it could work.
      Meanwhile, the money was pouring out at a frightening rate, with nothing coming back in. The time was quickly approaching when I’d have to get down on my knees again to the venture capitalists and (shudder) Medusa’s family.
      Every few days, Annamaria would give me a written report of Steve’s activities; the true ones. These were the details of his expense account that never appeared on his report. Using information garnered through a very specialized “security” agency, Annamaria’s report included details and photographs of “working” lunches, dinner “meetings” with “clients”, golf rounds and hotel suites, massages, room service breakfasts for two with champagne, boat charters with the “potential customer” with whom he’d shared breakfast, and a case of vintage wine for a distributor whom I knew confidentially from Annamaria had not only not received any gifts from Steve, but to the contrary, had left standing orders with his staff that our senior marketing guy was never to be allowed into his building.

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