Shark Tank & Oiseau


Seated, working on a Tuesday like any other my cell starts to buzz. Typically on high density days like this I'll go on something called a 'phone fast', where I hide my personal to be more productive. Glancing listlessly at the glass display I grew mildly upset. Not only have the sonics interrupted a good idea but even worse it's a number I don't recognize. My first thought: Tele-marketers. The bane of my data plan. I motion to hush my old nemesis before digits in the parentheses give reason to pause. Southern California. I weight the cost of risk vs. reward with the cycled hum rushing me along then reluctantly hit the hue of approval. A spry middle-aged man gave a name with a lot of hard consonants and after a small delay his affiliation.

"Hi is this Jesse? Dave Polanzak calling from from ABC's Shark Tank."

It's a conversation you only have standing up. Then standing turns to pacing and masking a rumbling emotion. Keep your cool, sound professional. Outside: baritone, alert, slow to speak. Inside: tickets to Disneyland-I got accepted-She said yes. Our company submission over a month ago had advanced to the final round of contestants. Dave ran off the particulars as I hurriedly scribed a transcript. 

"We want you to make an investor presentation video," he says "No more than five minutes, infomercial type energy, answering twelve specific questions in no particular order. You have four days."


In the thrush of creating a novel and new collection everything stopped. Flicking through my contacts, I drop my thumb on a studio I've used before and less than 24 hours later I'm at headquarters in Utah on a 36 hour sleepless binge putting together this film. There was tons of paperwork. Business documents, records, written interviews and personal surveys. I filled it out like it was a job application and I was a man with fo' kids. The cardboard Express envelope was packed thick with content as I slapped on a Delivery Confirmation for added assurance. I was supposed to include one copy of the video. I put two and entered the tracking in my phone. With all to be done, done now I had to wait.

Days turned as I lingered impatiently for the good ole 'do you like me? yes or no?' Difference is this wasn't some chubby little girl in plaid three desks up it was 5 multi-millionaire investors ready to sink windfalls of capital and connections if they saw fit. After almost a month of suspended animation the strangest thing happened. Nothing. Their listed shoot date was approaching swiftly as days X-ed off the calendar. I emailed, I called, I gave time. I waited, I emailed, I called. They were Yvonne. I was Da'rell. Our entire 12 month business plan was settled on the axis of this outcome.


Later I got a call from a woman talking close to the receiver with a frail voice to learn it hadn't worked out. $2,500, 60+ hours of work and plenty of hope deterred. I'd prepared as best I could for an opportunity but that opportunity was not mine. In response to adversity I buried myself in my work. Working harder and smarter as always looking to improve function and design. 

One night the rejection was gnawing more voracious than usual. I leaned back, dropped my pen on the pad and the 'why' was implied. Why would He show me something like that? Bless me with a great video, a great package for it all to fail.

In the dim still of p.m. His answer was potential. If in 16 months this can an attract such an honor, go to the final round and earn a call from the casting director fathom what it could do with another 16 and another. It was meant to excite you. The miss showed us our strange business concept was worthy of something despite it's infantile stage. Yet still with those answers it still took six months. Six months of growth, improving the products, finishing a manuscript, and garnering better resources to get it and understand. A good thing too early can be bad. When it's time for our prize bull to go to the show, it'll be ready to seize the moment. 

Appetizers in the Inverse: A lot of times people only want to share adversity after success. Shrouded in the now they don't have to worry about being judged, as less or inadequate. For a long time I thought the same, wanting to hide my testimony until after the battle was won. To look down at the hurt and glamor-less work in chuckling nostalgia. But a lot of folks are struggling with similar notions in the journey of a dream their own. Am I really good enough? Does it make sense to keep this up? I don't have the money of that company or the connections like that one. How can I compete? What is for you is for you and no one can make fall short but you. Mustard Seed.

*Shark Tank comes on ABC Fridays at 9/8c

Jesse Byrd3 Comments