Life Decisions, Mud Fights and What I Learned From A Bee Keeper

Some of you may not know this but recently I was involved in what could only be described as, a 10 week mud fight. A power struggle with my business partners over the control and future of Bad Cat Amps. 

For the last five years, I have been a twenty-five percent partner in the Bad Cat Amplifier Company. Through a confluence of events which led to financial difficulties in my partners secondary (to Bad Cat) business , I was asked to invest and acquire more shares in Bad Cat. Of course I was happy to do so. However, Needless to say, the negotiations did not go well. In fact, they were disastrous and ultimately led me resigning my position within the company and stepping away from the business. 

Placing enormous stress on relationships is a little like applying fire to something. If what binds you together is solid like steel, it becomes a test that can harden and strengthen your bonds, if it is anything less, things will burn up and crumble to ash.

Through my business partnership struggles, my wife’s recent back surgery and my 10 week unemployed stint from Bad Cat, I experienced what applying a little fire, in the form of intense stress can do. In the case of my wife, it only helped to make us closer. The love and support between her and I revealed our relationship to be firmly cast in steel and now stronger than ever. We showed each other the depth of our devotion to each other and to our marriage. 

The same could not be said for my business partnership. Things were said, ghosts were let out and a twenty year relationship was scorched and cast to the wind. You learn a lot about people and their character in these types of situations. The stress torched all that was between us and revealed the basis of our association to be superficial and based on circumstance and convenience. We too showed each other the level of our devotion. it was non-existent.

Throughout the entire ten week ordeal I was faced with two options, I could walk away and pursue other interests or stay and fight for the company I believed in. Bad Cat Amplifier company or at least my future, hung in the balance. 

As fate would have it, one day I decided to finally do something about the enormous beehive that had been quietly constructed in a tree in my front yard. So I made a call to the heavily advertised and self proclaimed Craigslist, “Bee Guy”. A couple of days later Mr. “Guy” showed up at my gate with a proposal. “ $750 to relocate the hive , or I can just spray ‘em for $200” he said.

“Just spray em” kind of surprised me , as I had just read in the paper that bees were actually being added to the endangered species list. When I asked Mr. “Guy” , or may I call you “Bee”, about the wisdom of exterminating what appeared to be a quite healthy hive of about 10,000 bees, he said “nah, that’s old news, they’re not correct about there being a shortage”. Then it occurred to me that perhaps there actually was a shortage partially due to this jackass. So I sent him on his way. 

After a few other calls I chanced upon another sort of guy. I could hear in his voice that the description of my “problem” in the front yard had his interest. He was asking questions about their behavior and the general construction of the hive. This guy cared as much about bees as I care about Bad Cat Amplifiers, more precisely the people who love these amplifiers. There were unmistakable parallels in circumstance between the situation with the beehive and the amplifier company. 

Bad Cat was the hive. and all of the friends, supporters and players were the bees.This is often what the shop resembles on a typical day. People buzzing in and out and certainly making music a sweet as honey. 

My partners just wanted to spray it and kill it, it had become an inconvenience. I, on the other hand wanted to carefully relocated it to a place where we could keep the hive intact and let it grow and thrive. My mind was made up, I would stay and fight for ownership and control no matter what it took. 

It took, patience , prayers, 3 am walks around my house, the support of family, friends and enough money in legal fees to buy a very nice car, to close the deal and acquire 100% of Bad Cat Amps. Like I said, it was a mud fight. 

You see, if you don’t love something enough, you would never take the time and energy to painstakingly move the hive and do what is necessary to put it in a place where it can grow thrive. It is painstaking work and you will get stung a couple of times. It’s a whole lot easier to just spray it. Somewhere in Southern California sits a very heathy beehive, contributing in it’s own way to the betterment of it’s surroundings, producing delicious honey, all courtesy of a man and his passion. Actually there are two such places, the other we just call Bad Cat Amps. 

John ThompsonComment