I flipped on the projecting monitor, and spreadsheet by spreadsheet, explained how much money he was committing and how little we were getting for it. I avoided discussing the details of his fraudulent expenses, because Annamaria had warned me that if I aired the really dirty laundry, I would wind up smelling of it, too, so instead I intended to prove my point strictly on the business issues. The dirt would have other uses.
      “We haven’t yet signed the contract with the PR agency and I can probably pull us out of most of the advertising commitments if I move quickly enough, but other than that we’ll just have to eat a lot of what he’s cost us and cut our losses as quickly as possible.” Before anyone could interrupt, I went on, “His strategy is not necessarily wrong, although I’d prefer to move a lot slower and more conservatively. Feel our way into the market. But,” I looked over at the venture capitalists, while pointedly ignoring my glowering in-laws on the other side of the table, “although I don’t claim to be a marketing guru, I have learned a hell of a lot in the last couple of months. Enough to know that we can do a lot better than Steve. Regardless of the strategy. Once he’s out the door, we’ll go the conservative route until I find someone competent to take over the senior marketing role. And regardless of the pressure you try to put on me this time, that could take a month or two. I don’t intend to be rushed into making a decision again.”
      One of the venture capitalists actually smiled for the first time since I’d known him. Before he began to speak, I thought he was grinning just because he enjoyed the prospect of a bloodletting, but his next words told me something else. “We’ve been waiting for you to wake up, Bob,” he said. “Get rid of Steve, by all means. Run the fucking company, that’s all we want. Just be proactive.”
      “What about the girl?” Mother Anthea snarled.

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