“You guys are like the Japanese playing baseball, and we are the MLB. Do you get that reference?”

This was how a competitor, who sought us out…to buy us out, spoke to my father and I after I told them their offer was beyond insufficient, it was offensive. 

White, American exceptionalism is so jarring. It is predicated on predatory deals which, if you do not read the fine print, you will be swindled exactly like how their British ancestors laid ruin to the world.

We are the ONLY minority owned company of our kind in the tri-state area; offering Amharic, Tigrigna, Oromiffa, and Spanish. You speak English, only. Strike 1. 

This competitor then went on to say our reputation wasn’t worth our asking price. And yet, they were averaging a 2/5 rating on Google. (Us, a 4.9) Complete patient/customer and referral dissatisfaction is what they are known for. This further substantiated to us by their clientele who left them…for us. Strike 2. 

We were approached under the pretense of our known reputation of excellence. After signing an NDA and offering our books, we were told that we wouldn’t survive past December 2020. It is now May, 2021. Strike 3. 

Who needs the MLB if you’re playing like the Yankees? And please stop calling. You’re at the bottom of the 9th, and time’s run out. I get the reference.

Welcome to the Negro Leagues. Arigato gozmasu. 

In the Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-30) a master leaves his three servants for a journey; and with them he entrusts his wealth. He leaves one with five talents, the second with two, and the last with one. A talent was an ancient Greek unit of measure used for gold. Upon the master’s return he asks each servant what they have each done with the talents given to them.  

The servant given five talents, doubles his money. The servant who was given two talents, also doubles his to four talents. When the master asks the servant given one talent what he has done with it, he tells him that he was too scared to do anything so hid the talent. He presents him with the same talent that was left with him. The master chastises him for not in the very least leaving the talent in a bank to collect interest.

It’s no coincidence the word talent comes from this unit of currency. This parable, even beyond its biblical facets begs the question: what are you doing with your talent? Whether God-given, genetic, or by chance; what are you doing with what only you have? In the story, the master was not more excited by the servant who was able to make the larger profit, because he knew what he gave to each and each held their own measure. The only one who was a disappointment was the one who hid the talent and did nothing with it.

In around 2011 my father started to explore a talent of his own, that he had dreamed of exploring easily almost two decades prior. He has been a practicing respiratory therapist for about as long as I’ve been alive; and always working for someone else. He loved it, though, because he enjoyed helping and treating people. He hated working for them, too. So he decided to finally pursue building his own durable medical equipment company; one where he’d continue to practice care but also be his own boss. By 2013 he was fully operational, but business grew at a glacial speed. So he continued to work full-time as an RT at a local hospital, while simultaneously trying to build his business.

By this time I had moved back home to Baltimore from a stint at NBC in New York City, and faced an inquiry of what I was doing with my talents. My father needed help, and I had the capacity to do it. I had worked doing sleep studies back in undergrad and grad school; so I had the clinical understanding of respiratory care. I decided to pray about whether this was a talent within my capacity to grow and so for the last three years or so  I’ve sown, and sown, and sown. And things are growing. Through my own mistakes, pitfalls, and stumbles; business has more than quadrupled, we’ve hired staff, and are looking to move to a bigger office. Business is good.       

My father and I at a Ravens game.

Are there times where I wish I had hid my talents like that third servant? Yes. Every day. In fact, there are some days where it happens several times within a single hour. I’ve cried at my desk and have been very tempted to quit often. But through this process, I continue to grow and I believe I have some talents to show for it.         

And so here is a space to grow talents; both for our small, family business and for my own ambitions. A POTT (see what I did there?) with which to share stories of other small businesses, lessons, and information on entrepreneurship.

Here’s to prosperity and the growth of many, many talents.