How to Get a Coffee Meeting With the Busiest Person in the World.

“You’re so annoying, Robbie.” — James Altucher.

I idolized James Altucher. It is okay to say that I had a man crush. If you don’t know James, he wrote one of the most popular posts on LinkedIn about how you should quit your job in 2014.

Mine wasn’t your normal man crush. He didn’t have a body I wanted, nor did he necessarily have the job I wanted.

Have you ever seen someone on television or read someone’s writing, and your first reaction was, “I MUST meet this person?”

James taught me to bleed on the page. He single handedly changed my writing style. Before James I had always been afraid to write.

I was never a good writer. One of the best stories I ever wrote in college, I actually plagiarized. That was the only way I could write anything good. Don’t worry; I got caught.

James always said that if I ever wanted to become a good writer, I needed to write 500 words every day. In 2012 my New Year’s resolution was to write a blog post every day. I wrote 200 posts that year. I forced myself to write. They mostly sucked. Most of the comments on my blog posts were corrections to my grammar.

That was the year I wrote the article, “Fire Me I Beg You,” which eventually turned into a book. I wrote the article in 20 minutes. I told myself I couldn’t leave the office until I wrote something.

I wrote about anything that was on my mind. I wrote about career advancement, sports, startups, mobile apps, food … I even wrote satire.

I honestly can’t tell you what my goal with writing was. I didn’t have a master plan. I just had something inside me that said, “Get it all out, Man.”

I knew one thing for certain though. I knew that I had to meet James Altucher.

I tried everything to meet him. I offered to work for him for free. He responded to my first email, and then never responded again.

I constantly wrote articles about him on my blog, just so he would notice the impact he was having on my writing. No luck.

I added him on Facebook. I followed him on LinkedIn. I joined his newsletter. I constantly tweeted and re-tweeted his posts. He would reply, but what I really wanted was for him to follow me. He never did.

I tried setting up a Mastermind dinner. I got the most successful people I could get for one dinner. I offered to pay for his flight and hotel. Didn’t work.

I tried variations of this for 4 years.

Finally, I was going to New York for vacation and I knew he lived in New York.

Email 1:

Robbie: I’m going to New York on Saturday. Let’s have coffee.

James: I live far from New York.

Robbie: It’s on my way to Boston (It was completely out of my way)

James: <No Response>

Email 2:

Robbie: I’m going to New York. You’re on the way. Can I buy you coffee?

James: I’m only available Friday, sorry.

Robbie: That’s fine. I can make Friday work. How about 2 p.m.?

James: <No Response>

Email 3:

Robbie: I’m going to come by you at 2 p.m. on Friday. Does that work? Can you give me an address?

James: <No Response>

Robbie: (I sent him this tweet since I knew he was active on twitter.)https://twitter.com/RobbieAb/status/532981124084297731

James: @RobbieAb hey Robbie, I’m good. Want to make it noon instead? I have a podcast starting at 11 that should be done by noon

Email 4:

James: Here is the address to the coffee shop. See you at noon.

Robbie: See you there!

OMG. This is happening.

I rented a car in Manhattan and got to the coffee shop 3 hours early. I couldn’t risk being late. I was a nervous wreck. I wanted to do more research on James but I couldn’t because my phone was running out of battery. I had no idea how to get back and needed the GPS. Instead I paid 50 cents for a local newspaper so I could calm down and kill time. I learned that no one is ever happy with how their city or town is being run.

He showed up. We never had coffee. He instead invited me to his house to do a podcast about how I take 250 coffee meetings a year. He tried to pay for my breakfast but I had already paid. I was the first person to ever be invited to his house. I met his wonderful wife Claudia.

We did the podcast. I gave him a gift.

He ended up writing an article about how persistent I was.

The funny thing is before I drove to meet him, my wife told me that I should ask him to be on his podcast. I laughed and said to her, “I wish, but I don’t want to waste his time.” I didn’t have to ask. He asked me.

I picked up my wife from the loading station at the Statue of Liberty. She asked to see the picture I took of all of us.

I never took a picture. I completely forgot. It didn’t matter. I had met James Altucher. He was exactly what I expected and more. I didn’t get to ask him any questions. He did all the talking.

Do yourself a favor. Find someone to admire. Invite them for a cup of coffee. If they don’t respond at first, that’s okay.

It only took me 4 years.

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