A funny thing happened to me the other day which I’ve been wanting to write about.
I walked into a cafe in Budapest called G4 right after after waking up. The cafe is on Garabaldi Utca, right next to where I live. The second I order some breakfast the waiter starts to talk to me about the resteraunt; what’s on the menu, when it was started, who the previous owner was. I thought it was a bit strange but I really didn’t have a choice but to sit there and listen as I had already ordered and didn’t really mind to hear a bit of history on the place.
As he fixes up the orange juice and water for me, he starts talking to me from the bar, though I don’t really listen to him, as it’s kinda strange now.
So get this, as he walks over to me and places the water and orange juice that I order across the table… he also places a coffee directly across from me as if someone was sitting there. I thought to myself, “hrm, either he left his coffee there by accident or he thinks I ordered one.”. I didn’t make too much of it but I thought it was odd.
About fifteen minutes later, he comes back with my breakfast. I’m simply checking the mail on my phone, and doing a bit of small work. He places the meal down infront of me and sits down. I look at him a bit perplexed, as it’s a two person table and we’re now sitting together… and he’s my waiter… so it’s quite strange.
He looks at at me and gestures as if he’s about to talk, pauses, and then just puts it out there..
“So listen, do you have access to large amounts of gold or cane sugar? As in, metric tones of it? I got a buyer, the Bank of China, they’ll by unlimited supplies.”. With a completely straight face I just look at him and say, “Possibly.”. I mean, who knows, I might! I never really checked my network for that one.
Being in Budapest for the last few months, nothing really surprises me anymore, so I figured I would go along with it. I continued and said, “I don’t really understand why you need me though, you can just go on LinkedIn, Facebook or Alibaba.com and get someone who might be a bit more targeted to your demography; you have absolutely no clue who I am; why me?”.
I don’t quite recall his explanation perfectly, but I do remember it was strange; something about my look and accent (I guess there’s a look to people with access to this much gold). He then starts to go into details about the commodities business and how it all works, and he seemed informed enough and enthusiastic enough to share the information with me willingly as to how this entire business and industry operates. We then started talking about ideas and ways to make a better Alibaba.com, which is actually quite fascinating and complicated.
We start talking numbers and he says that he can buy between $1-$7 trillion dollars worth of gold. I didn’t really know what to make of that but I said “Well, I’ll do my best! If I find someone I’ll let you know.”; not ever thinking this is going to be real or that I’m going to spent an ounce of my time on it.
Now, I don’t mind hanging or associating to people who are a bit on the edge, as you never really know what the future has in store for them; this guy seemed genuinely motivated. Though… as I finished my meal (hastily), he gave me his Skype and said “Now… don’t talk about too much secrets on Skype, they are listening.”. When he said that, I just labeled him as crazy, but really, who knows. There are crazier people with crazier stories I’m sure.
The next morning though, a very strange thing happened.
I woke up and went to breakfast with one of my friends Jay Datesh who works out here at McKinsey in Budapest. He was new here so I took him to the nicest brunch which I usually go to on Sundays. It’s this absolutely top-notch 5-star hotel called the Corinthia; the brunch is seriously surreal. I’ve never experienced anything like it before I’ve been there. Thankfully I experience it almost every week now.
When we sit down, I start telling him the story (this one that I’m writing right here) about how I met this guy, and he randomly sat down to try to buy trillions of dollars worth of gold from me. Jay then replied, “Oh no way man, I just met a guy who is trying to sell tones of gold and he came up to me in a bar asking if he knew any buyers!”. I was really in shock and amazing simply by the symmetry of the coincidences lining up (definitely not by some remote possibility of a real opportunity being there.).
Jay is supposed to setup a meeting with the guy to talk how much gold he could sell. I’m supposed to setup the meeting with the crazy guy from the cafe. It has not happened yet, but if it does and something comes of it, I’ll certainly continue this one.