For starters, a warped sense of humor helps. When he first came from New York, shortly after college, Paul Geffner began selling handmade leather bound journals, along with a crowd of other street vendors on the sidewalk near The Embarcadero in S.F. Even then people were drawn to him.
Soon, with childhood friends, he started Captain Video. They designed the first video rental display shelves, a style still used today. Video rentals popped up on many street corners back then yet his stores were packed, staff became like family. Some went on to be managers and then part owners.
With Blockbuster looming, he and his partners sold the rental outlets, with money from the sale flowing through to many employees. Along the way, he continued his weekly basketball games, read and wrote poetry, took friends on rock mining trips for Herkimer diamonds and amethysts and more – all pursuits he started in childhood. Longtime partners became friends, split off and invested in each other’s businesses, still staying in touch. Over the years the ones I recall include Amoeba Records, Escape From New York Pizza (pizza and poetry), Purity and (my favorite name) a chicken take-out place in S.F. called Poultry in Motion.
Yes, he’s made money, and deep friendships. He’s happily married to Lisa Bennett. Along the way he’s been a retail start-up helper, owner of several mines, board member, Big Brother, team mate, frequent best man, jokester, – and the rich source of a quirky, soulful life philosophy. He started a “do good” fund called For Love or Money. He launched a holiday that you, too, can celebrate simply by wearing your shirt inside out, an easy way to recognize others who’re celebrating it, eh? I thought of Paul when I first saw The Wire because I knew he’d love the brilliant script, chaotic storyline and true-to-life characters.
Paul embodies the spirit, generosity and ingenuity of the Me2We spirit in enjoying work and life – with others. Want an emotional lift, a few laughs and some insights on how to grow your business and live a life that takes in into different worlds, a life you can savor with steadfast friends? As Robin Sharma wrote, Who Will Cry When You Die?