His name was either Earl or Carl. He wore a beige ball cap, had white unkempt whiskers and a notebook in his bag for jotting down every tidbit of tech wisdom that my supposedly tech-savvy self could bestow upon him.
The conversation started casually enough. I sat in the back corner with a venti skinny vanilla latte, the new Arcade Fire album blasting through my headphones. He came in, sat his backpack down on the table next to me and smiled. I smiled back absentmindedly.
"What are you working on over there?"
I pull out one earbud.
"Wanna see?" I ask, without really giving him a choice. I flip the laptop around and show him campaign posters I'm working on for a politician in New Jersey (I freelance on the side to keep my creative energy high).
Somewhere between his unfiltered critique of my posters and a schooling in New Jersey politics, I explained the Publish2 News Exchange to Carl (Earl?). His eyes light up. Skipping the middle man to distribute content? He should do that with the book he's writing.
"What's the book about?" I ask.
"About 148 pages," he responds, serious as ever. "You know anything about Amazon Kindle?"
Fifteen minutes later, he walked out of that Beverly Hills coffeehouse with the knowledge of how to export a PDF , upload it to Issuu (for an embeddable preview on his website), and upload it to Amazon's Digital Text Platform for distribution on the Kindle.
I learned that Earl (Carl?) lived in New York. He's going to buy an iPad just so he can get the free One-to-one lessons at the Apple store. He has two iMacs already, both of which he bought so he could use the One-to-one lessons. He doesn't like to talk about the topic of his writings. And before he walked away, he told me to never wear a ring while shaking the hand of a politician.
So good luck Carl (Earl?) -- wherever you are -- on your 148-pager.