How Not To Propose a Partnership

by noahlh on March 4, 2010

This morning I received a phone call from a guy from Florida who wanted a job.  It started off fairly innocuously, as may of these calls do – he was looking for something (anything) to do with with our company — he could provide photographic services, he could provide marketing services, he could help wash cars.  Unfortunately we’re not hiring out of our Florida office and I politely let him know this, said goodbye, and hung up.  Total time of the call was under 5 minutes.

30 seconds later he calls back.  “Instead of working for you,” he says, “how about I work with you? I’ll start a franchised branch of Gotham Dream Cars out of the Tampa area, etc.”  I explained why we wouldn’t be interested.  He asked if he could email me some of his ideas.  No problem.

Here are some excepts from the email that arrived a few minutes later:


This is <name> … talked to you a bit ago.  Some at Legendary levels call me a mechanical and creative genius.  I am thankful for such labels.

I’d like to make you a deal.

1) $1,000 down for my consulting for a day.
2) Fly me into NY to meet with you, pay the ticket, and expenses to put me up and get me around while I’m there, and I will blow your mind with innovative thoughts, creative abilities, marketing direction and profit center concepts.

This is my initial thought:

A $70k per year 3 year guaranteed bank to bank letter of credit supplied to a new division of your company that you and I own …

…From the $70k guarantee for three years to the new venture (that you control with your left hand supporting your right hand), I can develop this franchise ready micro version of your theme (for a modest weekly inside the budget) …

In a personal meeting, you will be blown away to see what I have done, and who says what about me.

<name> Multi-Patented US Inventor / Pro Motor Sports Marketer

Needless to say, I’ve decided to pass on the superb opportunity.  But I did write back and explain why I’m running for the hills (I decided not to just delete the email or send a 1-line blow-off email).

Perhaps it’s patronizing of me, but at least some sort of feedback to this flavor of craziness is necessary.  It’s wholly inappropriate to send an email demanding a laundry list of payments and bank-letter-of-credit guarantees to someone who you’ve spoken with for <5 minutes and for whom you’re ostensibly trying to build a relationship with.  It comes off as, well, crazy.  Never met the guy, never heard of the guy, don’t know a thing about him, but he thinks it’s OK to demand payment terms on the intro email. 

Thanks but no thanks.