The law of presumptive closure

I’m convinced there is an invisible energy in the universe that affects the outcome of events based on how presumptively you treat their probability of closure.

At the moment of conception for an activity that can have a significant outcome on your life or business, an neutral instance of an energy is set up, similar to the declaration of a global variable, but in the space of life. How you respect that instance will determine the outcome.

Let me explain. A few months ago at the tail end of an angel financing round, one of our company officers who happens to also manage our cash, had a recent acquaintance whom was interested in investing. About a week later this gentlemen makes a visit, we do our standard pitch, he wraps up with ‘Yes- I’m very interested, let me liberate some cash to make this investment.”

Whereas our company officer, was assuredly optimistic that the investment would happen, both my business partner and I, both a bit older and with quite a few more years of business experience, would not count on the investment until we saw the cash hit the bank. In fact, our officer went as far as to say that it was ‘Done’.

The moment the word ‘Done’ was uttered, my business partner and I shrieked in agony, and we both put our hands up to deflect the bad energy it caused, and push it away. It was like garlic to a vampire. Literally, at that very moment the word ‘Done’ leaked its way onto the space canvass, the energy turned negative (around the office, we use the term ‘the energy balls leaking’).

For each subsequent positive mention of the deals imminence, more negative energy is tacked on.

To prove us wrong, our officer called the investor and he re-iterated that the funds would come the following Monday. At that point we figured the energy was already so polarized toward the negative that we hardly expected it, but the real deal killer was when the cash from the anticipated investment was put into our company cash flow projections. That was the end. The negative energy was just so hot that the outcome was already set.

As far as the investment, Monday comes and goes, and no word. Our officer is still convinced the deal is going to happen.

Friday comes, and the investor calls us to tell us he had suffered a heart attack.

As my business partner and I concluded somewhat humorously, the moment that investment amount was included in our cash flow projection, was the same moment the investor likely started feeling chest pain.

It’s not a deal until the money is in the bank. Period.

Both my business partner and I broke our rule during the same funding round, and we paid the price.

We were in our company war room doing our standard investor presentation to a new angel candidate. At the same time we had been expecting a check from my business partners cousin, who happened to be a fairly successful Hollywood actress. After a few false starts, she calls us while in the war room doing our pitch, and says she is at the post office and is about to overnight the check. My business partner and I high-five, and we go on to tell the new investor candidate that a new investor was ‘in the deal’, and she was a Hollywood actress with lots of Hollywood contacts. She was at the post office for Gods sake, isn’t that enough to say the deal was as good as done? Next day, no money arrives. We figured it was sent second day air. Next day, nothing still. OK we figured, it was mailed standard postage. The finally calls us later that week to breaks the bad news that her accountant advised her to put her money in an annuity instead of a startup. Deal is dead.

As far as the new investor candidate, he invested, but not after first asking us ‘what every happened to that Hollywood girl? With sheepish look, we had to disclose that deal didn’t happen. Rule #1 – don’t break your own rules.

You might be thinking by now that we are possessed or jinxed, or just two guys with bad luck. Not the case. It’s just the law.

About a month ago, a manager advised us excitedly that a key staff position was filled. The interview went well, the candidate communicated a high degree of interest from the start, and verbally accepted the job. As far as filling this staff position, everyone had already moved on. It was done and she had a start date.

Now secretly, I knew better, and I’ve seen this movie before. Until the person shows up to work, it’s not done.

As it turns out, the candidate calls our office on start day, deciding instead to take another job elsewhere. Many were confused by this, including myself. Based on the initial enthusiasm, none of the staff members that had interviewed the candidate could figure out what went wrong.

It took a week to solve the mystery. My business partner and I had been preparing company power-point slides and we had asked one of our managers for the latest company org chart. Guess who was on it? The candidate. We both did a high-five, relieved that we solved the case. The law of presumptive closure was at work! The moment she was put on the org chart without having first showed up for work was the moment she probably saw a competing ad on Craig’s list that she liked better.

My final example just happened the day before I write this, which actually prompted me to put this to paper.

We were expecting a very sizable order from a new customer on the last business day of the month. Since we didn’t have a track record with the customer, we asked for the majority of the payment to be made in cash via wire transfer. That order would’ve clearly marked a new sales record in the companies history and the timing was right since my business partner and I were about to embark on a new financing round in the coming weeks.

The sales staff members working on the deal were gushing about the size of the order and on several occasions had used the dreaded words that the deal was done. To make matters worse, so high was the state of optimism, that the sales order amount was already forecast into the company sales forecast that the finance folks were preparing for us to take on the road. I could hear the deal whizzing south, sort of like that ‘sucking sound’ that Ross Perot used to speak of during his presidential campaign as he referred to the loss of U.S. jobs. At this point, I had already written the deal off as dead. The moment the sales order was presumptively added to our financial forecasts, the customer probably found it cheaper elsewhere.

To my surprise, the wire arrived as promised and the deal closed for month end. My business partner and I were mystified how a deal that had so much negative polarity could’ve closed without a hitch.

Later that day, we figured it out. Without our asking, our chief financial officer voluntarily had removed the sum from the month’s sales forecast. Once that number was removed from the spreadsheet, the customer probably started making his way to his bank.

That’s just the way it works.


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