Thursday, March 17, 2011

Be Careful Who You Underestimate

I have been toying around with business ideas for years.  Everything from storefronts to products to service businesses have crossed my mind.   I have tried a few businesses, hell I even tried to teach myself how to DJ so that I could do parties when I was living in Texas.  When I walk by things or go inside restaurants I wonder what it would be like to own one.  I went back to school because I wanted to work in television.  I opened up my business and then started another.  When my brother was little I was sending pics all over the place to get him at a modeling agency and he got hired.  I have always tried to hustle and figure out a plan to carve my own way. 

So last year I think of a product idea that I thought would solve a problem for some women.  I told my girl Kim and Chipotle (my blog name for my Mexican ex-boyfriend) and they both thought it was a good idea.  Chipotle is very analytical and could help me design it.  Kim is like my cheerleader on things I do, or my nay sayer on things that I shouldn't do.  I didn't feel that it was a problem to speak to them.  Anyway I just discussed with them the problem that I wanted to solve,  but I didn't have a clear visual of the product design in my head yet.  I just knew what I wanted it to do.  So for the next couple of weeks the product was just a fleeting thought at best, but still in the back of mind. 

Then one day out of the blue, another ex called me to say hello.  I talked about him before.  He is Mr. Porno because he watches that shyt on the daily.  And I do mean DAILY along with his daily jacking off routine.  He has no shame in telling you that he is addicted to porn and whacking off.  He sent me a text or two of his thang and I must say it is quite impressive.  I think he said he wanted to try out to do the pornos, but I can't remember why he didn't do it?  I think it was the unprotected sex part.  Haha.  Hey, whatever floats his boat.  He ain't my man so who cares?

I met him about seven years ago when he came to check out my business after it first opened.  The chemistry between was just smoking hot and we got along pretty cool.  We would do it in the back room of the store and then when a customer came in I had to hurry to the front looking all crazy like I wasn't doing anything.  Then we would laugh about it like crazy.  He worked at this school and I would go there after school and we would do it in the classroom.  Whew!  We were just too damn nasty back then.  He was a sweetheart too and we kicked it for a while, but it became very apparent to me that he wasn't gonna be someone to push me forward; I would just end up pulling him.  His motivation level was just non-existent.  He didn't have any real goals other than producing another kid and I certainly wasn't a candidate for that.  So eventually the intimacy faded and we evolved into friends.  Over the years we would talk to each other about anything and everything, and business.  We probably talk every few months or so.  Nothing major.

So that's the backstory.

So like I said, he called me.  This was late summer/early fall.  We were chatting and then we started talking about business and what I was doing.   I don't know how it came about exactly but I told him about the product that I was thinking about.  Fireworks!!!  He got all excited and was saying it was a great idea and that it would make money.  Mind you this guy is NOT a business-minded person, more like a how-to-get-over type of brotha so his thoughts on assessing a business idea were cool, but didn't hold a lot of weight with me.  That's being honest.  We talked some more and I was telling him my thoughts....but a little voice inside was telling me, "Are you crazy?  Don't tell anyone about your idea!  I don't care if he is cool people or not!!!"  But I kept on running my mouth and the conversation blossomed.  I then got a little worried and said to myself, in order to keep this idea close to me let me involve him in some way.  So we discussed him doing some research on a particular angle which was basically asking some female friends of his some questions.  I would do my research on the internet.  All the while he was talking and sounding all excited, I was asking myself why was I telling him.    Then I thought, "Ah, this is Mr. Wanna Be Porn Star.  He's not gonna do anything with it because he ain't motivated like that.  Don't sweat it.  I'm telling him just like I told my girl Kim and Chipotle - for feedback and that's it."

We touch bases over the next week or so and discussed his research.  Ok now he was supposed to talk to females, but he only talked to like three women.  "I'm done!"  Um no you ain't bruh!  That's not enough info and if you ask around more I might find that golden nugget.  Just keep going.  But he wanted to move fast and starts talking about "All you need to do is..."  He had a vision in his head of the product, but it wasn't solving the problem that I initially set out to solve.  I reminded him that on the Home Shopping Network they like products that SOLVE a problem.   His idea 'kinda' did it, but it wasn't quite what I was thinking.  But I didn't dismiss the idea.  I just told him let's get some more info.

And then things went silent.  For months.  We texted here or there and I think he came by once, but we didn't talk about the product anymore.  In the back of mind I was like cool.  That's what I expected him to do was fizzle out and not stick to the task.

Boy was I wrong.

So two weeks ago he calls me.  We chit chat and then I tell him I had to bounce because I was on my way to bartend for the night. 

"Wait, I wanna send you something over email.  I have a surprise for you."

Really?  Honestly speaking, I thought it was another d*ck pic. 

And again honestly speaking, I was actually looking forward to getting it.  Giggle.


My phone alerts me that I have a text message.  It's from him and I open it.


It's a picture of a flyer with the product on it!  He has given the product a name, put his contact info on the flyer, and has a few pictures showing the uses the product.

My heart jumped.  Is this for real?

My fingers were shaking so bad that I could barely pound out the text message in reply:

"So you stole my idea?"

As I hurry to try stuff my legs into my pants I wait for his response.

"How I stole your idea?" (see that grammar?)


"Were you thinking about a product like this until we spoke about it?  Um, I don't think so?"

"Well that's all you did was talk about it.  You didn't make any moves."

Huh?  My throat was getting hot and I could barely even see.  Angry or mad could not even describe how I felt standing there in my room.  I did more than talk about it muthafucca!  I CAME UP WITH IT.  I planted the seed in yo' big head and invited YOU into my shyt.  And then you go and do a variation of it?  And that's not stealing?

He calls me immediately but I don't pick up.  I had to go and didn't have time to get into with him at that moment.  I fired back with a text saying that I would talk to him the next day, but as I went down the stairs my body felt weak. 

"Mr. Porno?  Of all people?  He is probably one of the top THREE unmotivated men that I know, and he took my idea and ran with it?  I don't believe this is happening."

I called Chipotle the next day and made my rant.  After I finished he was like, "So what are you mad about again?" 

Just like a man.  "What the hell you mean what am I mad about?"

"Well you should have kept your mouth shut so don't get mad if he beat you to it."


But wait, this wasn't a competition!  We were supposed to be working together (even though I didn't really need his azz).  This was supposed to be my friend.  So yeah I'm mad.  Ethically this was not cool.  I helped him with mad shyt over the years and TRIED to motivate him to do better, but his motivation always just laid there like a cold ass pancake.  I helped him write resumes, apply to jobs, etc, but he never did anything.  And you do this to me? 

I told Kim.  She agreed that it was foul.

I asked my therapist (without elaborating on the idea because I'm scared now) and she agreed with Kim.  It was more than foul, it was just plain f*cked up.

Days go by and I don't answer his texts or calls.  I had to get my head together first.  So finally Sunday I called.  The big dummy was trying to tell me he didn't see how he did anything wrong.  Oh my gosh are you serious?  Then he told me he discussed it with someone else to come up with his prototype, etc.  Now it's just getting more worse the more we talk.  It took me a damn hour to make him see what the problem was here:

  1. Just because we didn't discuss it anymore didn't mean that the idea was free for the taking.
  2. I didn't approach you with this idea, it just happened to come up in a conversation.  We did not brainstorm and come up with this idea - I told YOU about it mister.  So yes, it was my idea.
  3. This was something you and I discussed...and I told you to keep it confidential.  Now your azz went and told someone else MY IDEA, and now what is stopping them from coming up with something too? 
  4. I don't care how much research you claim you did, that did not earn you the rights to the idea.  You don't know what research I have been doing because we haven't talked about it anymore.
  5. If you were going in a different direction with the product, you should have said, "Well I have this idea and I put something together.  Since you did bring this up to me, do you want to work together on this thing with me?"  Basically, just like I invited you into my world, you should have invited me into yours.  Not after you have come up with a name and flyer and shyt for it?  WTH?
Oh I went on and on.  At the end of the convo he apologized and did agree that he STOLE my idea.  He even went and filled out the patent application on the damn thing! 

"Oh I can still put your name on it though?"

Geez Louise.

Anyway this post is getting long and I don't need to go into any more details.  He apologized repeatedly.  He said that he made a move on the product after he got laid off and decided he didn't want to work for anybody anymore.  Just crazy.

In my heart I know that he wasn't trying to be underhanded because if he was he probably wouldn't have told me about the SURPRISE.  From an ethical point of view he was wrong, and it's sad that he didn't see that until an hour later.

Bottom line is this...I f*cked up.  I underestimated this guy, and you can never really underestimate someone that just hustles and looks for ways to get over.  Anything I have going on in my head I'll just keep it to Kim and Chipotle just like I have always done before.  I thought Mr. Porno was my friend, but our relationship will probably be changed forever.  I can't trust him now.   His mouth is just as big as mine.  Who knows who he told at this point.

Lesson learned:  Stop talking so damn much about my dreams...because there might be a dream stealer in my midst.  When it comes to money and friendship --- money usually wins.  So that basically means....

keep shyt to myself.


  1. Hey girl!! I know what it's like to get your hustle on, im actually getting my hustle on as of now. For future reference never tell your ideas to anyone, i mean anyone until it's ready for lift off. You can't trust nobody at all. Learn from this and never ever do it again.

  2. Wow, I've experienced this to a degree but don't get discouraged. There's always room for another product/business. He may have "borrowed" the idea, but you can make one that is even better. Vision and action....don't let him still your thunder, chica.

  3. Sounds like "The Social Network". Definitely keep your dreams to yourself! I'm sorry this happened to you but as you've said, you've been toying with business ideas for years. This won't be your last great idea.

  4. @Chele - I was thinking the same thing as I was reading this.

    @EOTP - One monkey don't stop the show! You have more business savvy than he does so I'm confident that your abilities and determination will carry you much further in life. Keep ya head up sis!

  5. Damn! I miss your emails what was the hold up?

  6. Yeah don't let that affect you.

    You know, as I read through this, I thought, "damn...I even speak to any ex of mine." Then as I got closer to the end, I didn't feel so bad about that.


  7. @ Anonymous..

    I know I'm screwing up. LOL. I will come back in a bit to comment on the comments.

    Hey StillGrowinWise...thanks sooooo much for all of your comments. I liked what you said about my hood dummy reference. Too funny!

  8. I have like 25 balls I'm juggling...and no it ain't those kind of balls either.


  9. WOOOOOOOOW...that was pretty cut throat of him but karma is a bitch who is always waiting to strike so TRUST that he'll get it back.

    Let this serve as a lesson learned.

  10. Whaddup chick? You've been MIA for a sec. Everything ok?

  11. Hey Sassyme! Thanks for checking in. Big hugs. All is know I always got sumthin going in my life. :?

    Gurl, I am bugging right? I need to post! I hope today. Jacked up my laptop coming from Bahamas so that's a problem. Then I took my internet out at home cuz they wanted fifty bones a month now. So I found a new provider and I'm gonna get that in place this week. Figured out a work around on the laptop too.

    I'm coming...I'm coming! It ain't like I don't have anything to write about bc I do, I'm just not doing it! Arrrgggh!

  12. I am NOT a lawyer, but I believe the United States has a first to invent rule. Check this wikipedia page for an example.

    I believe in most countries, the patent goes to the first person who files a patent (i.e. Mr Porno).

    But in the US, if you can prove you came up with it first, AND you worked hard to develop it, there's a possibility you can file a patent after Mr Porno and claim ownership.

    You might even have further claim in a court case if you can prove he was supposed to work with you and he simply ran off with your idea as a form of theft. Get him to put something incriminating on himself in writing if you can.

    But most importantly... you need an actual lawyer to discuss this with. If a lawyer thinks there's a case, you may have hope.

    Again I am NOT a lawyer, so seek someone with expertise in this matter. I do not wish to give you false hope, but you should check this.

  13. Hey CF8!!!

    Thanks for that info! For real. I'll probably talk to him this weekend. Feel the situation out and see what's going on. In the meantime, I have made some headway with my own idea.

    It's sad things went this way though. :(

  14. Good luck Eyes

    I've always had alot of optimism in people when I was really young, but I've sadly found myself losing the optimism bit by bit over the years