After the board meeting where it was decided that I had to find a new Vice President of Marketing, I began to fret about who to hire and how to deal with Annamaria until finally there was only one answer and that was to bury myself in coding for a few days and let karma play itself out. It was a total retreat, with no breaks at all. By the time I stuck my head back out, a few days later, sales were moving at an even brisker pace and Annamaria had landed our first major distributor.
      It all should have been grand, but there were also messages from the venture capitalists pressing me about the search for a senior marketing person. Since I hadn’t even started, there was no point in responding, so I avoided them for a few more days.
      One afternoon, during the weekly squash game with my friend, Dave Dante, the marketing VP at Troglodyte, I casually mentioned that I was looking for a senior person to replace Steve. For the past couple of months, I’d been using Dave as a sounding board, so I was surprised when his reaction was a very personal one; he put up his own hand for the job. I couldn’t have asked for better. In the days when we’d worked together at Troglodyte, I’d known him to be extremely competent. He wanted to leave Troglodyte, now, because he’d already made the company about as successful as it could become in the limited marketplace for their highly specialized product.
      “One thing,” he said, “I don’t want any baggage. If I come in, you’ll have to get rid of Annamaria. She worked for me a long time ago, as office manager. Smart as hell, and just as hungry. You need to keep her on for a couple of weeks after I come on board, until I learn everything I need to know, but after that, she’s got to go. Regardless of what she might tell you, now that she’s been running the show she would never accept me as her boss, even though she used to work for me. But you need me or someone like me if

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