Finally Meeting Ken...
With Ken and Nori.
When Theresa dropped me off in front of Ken's building, that very moment I felt as if I was Alice in Wonderland, entering this door to a fantasy world.
The only difference was that I wasn't dropping down a rabbit hole like Alice. I was entering an elevator to go up. I was looking for the White Rabbit to jump in, but instead, just as the elevator doors were about to close, in comes this very familiar girl. It was Yuki, Ken's younger daughter.
This whole SBI! fairy tale story I'd been living in for the past five years suddenly came to life right in front of my bewildered eyes.
Before I go on, I'd like to clarify one point.
I don't worship anyone and I'm not a Ken groupie or what not. Ken, through his very special, down-to-earth style of writing, through his wisdom, through his unconditional commitment to help people change their lives, became my friend way before he ever knew who I was. I remember those longs nights, months before I bought SBI!, when I'd read through his books and try to follow what he was saying. I remember that I felt as if it was my friend talking to me.
And I dare say that most SBI!ers I've met feel the same way about Ken. A friend and a teacher. Nothing more. Nothing less. Nothing spiritual. A virtual friend.
I felt I had to say that because quite a few people I've run into, non-SBI!ers, seem to mistake this admiration for Ken as being something on the verge of religiously worshipping the guy. When, in fact, we're all just so thankful to him creating a product that has helped us change our own lives.
Any way, back to my fairy tale.
I was in the elevator, going up, and Yuki walks in. I introduced myself and I don't think she had any idea who I was. Probably thought to herself that I was another one of her dad's relentless "virtual friends" ;-)
We reach the 12th floor - I think, and as the elevator doors open and Yuki walks out, there's Janice, Ken's wife. And all that's going through my head is, wait a moment, is this real or am I just inside one of Ken's books?
It doesn't stop there.
Janice leads me through this maze of corridors, I think we went up another flight of stairs but I'm not sure, and we reach a door. Janice punches in a security code, and it doesn't open. She tries again, and it still doesn't open.
I started looking around for that bottle of special potion that'd make us small.
And that's when the door opened and there, in front of me, stood Ken.
The first moment it was really weird.
I was standing in that same office where that 2 ½ minute shortcut video of Ken was shot. The one on the SiteSell home page where he's all dressed up and seated in front of those three huge computer screens. If you've seen the video, you must agree that those three amazing screens are where all the focus is.
And there I was, standing right there in front of them!
Back to Ken ;-)
The fairy-tale pretty much ended the moment I met Ken. Not because it wasn't a memorable moment. It was. Just because Ken, after so many years of being my virtual friend, instantly became my real friend.
You'd think that a president of such a successful company, someone who has so many people looking up to him, would maybe, just a bit, have this self-important air around him.
Nothing. Not even a bit. The way Ken writes is the way Ken is. Your friend.
The three of us sat down to chat a bit. (Finally I'm using the word "chat" to describe a real physical action.). And that's what we did for the next 5-6 hours - until we both couldn't chat, nor talk, nor eat, nor drink anymore.
At some point, while still in the office, Janice left us to get some work done. It turns out that Janice is in charge of everything admin in SiteSell. To all those who think that Ken is the star, well, think again. As the saying goes:
"The road to success is filled with women pushing their husbands along." (Lord Dewar 1864-1930)
And, I was surprised to learn that the big driving force behind SiteSell is none other than Janice. Everything would fall apart without her. Ken said that, not me.
What's so inspiring about this duo is that Ken and Janice don't really have to do what they're doing. Way before SiteSell ever came along, they could have bought themselves a luxurious villa in Mexico and just walked up and down the beach all day for the rest of their lives.
Instead, they both choose to work 100-hr weeks!
I'm sure that part of what drives them is the challenge of raising SBI! to greater heights. But I'm also convinced that the other part of what drives them is a genuine desire to help people - like myself - change their lives. And I'm sure that to see their wonderful creation doing just that, is more rewarding than any luxurious villa.
Ken and I rather quickly left the office. After just a minute of walking down one of Montreal's liveliest streets, we both found ourselves drinking Coronas on a jam-packed terrace of a sidewalk bar. It was Happy Hour and everyone around seemed so. happy. It was probably because the sun was finally out after one of the harshest winters ever.
We moved on to a nice little French restaurant where Janice had been waiting for us for about half an hour. She didn't seem annoyed at all. Well, maybe just a tiny bit ;-) But it was very sweet to see how Janice let it slide by. I sort of smiled to myself. Obviously, she knows exactly who she's dealing with.
My dad was very much the same. If my Mom didn't tell him where to be and when, then call him five times on the way just to make sure, he'd get lost somewhere between all those thoughts bouncing around in his head.
And it seems to me, and I'm charmed by this trait, that Ken is the kind of fellow that gets so engaged, he loses perception of time when he leaves the confines of his office (which is not too often :-).
On the way back from the restaurant, we all stopped at the Evoy's PO box to see if there was mail. Janice got a bundle of admin-related SiteSell mail.
Well Ken got two packages. Both with ornamental turtles inside of them. And like an excited child, he proudly carried them home and gently added them to his mind-boggling collection of tortoises.
Everywhere you look in the house, you'll see some sort of tortoise. And next time you read Ken talking about the "way of the tortoise", you can be sure he really means it!
As we were all about to pose for a commemorative family photo, Yuki suddenly stopped everything, went to her room, and brought her... white rabbit!
A family photo with Yuki's rabbit.
Yep. A rabbit!
And that's the moment I understood that I was back in Wonderland and the past six hours with the Evoys was just one big fairy tale.
I suddenly woke up inside my campervan. It was morning and I was about to meet "The Glue" of SiteSell...