The Time I Had Lunch With The Founder of Second Cup


Years ago, when I first read Frank O’Dea’s book When all you have is hope I was inspired. Frank went from being homeless in Toronto to founding the Second Cup franchise that now has over 300 locations. At the end of the book it said now resides in Ottawa (my home town).

I couldn’t believe it. The business community in Ottawa is fairly small and because I’ve been helping business people my whole career I was surprised I had never heard of him.

I started asking around.

Every time I ran into a business person at the gym I would ask them “do you know Frank O’Dea? And I kept getting the answer “no”.

No one seemed to know him but I kept asking.

One day I was going to see my lawyer and he was explaining to me what a shotgun clause was.
I mentioned that the founder of Second Cup had used that clause with his partner.

Then my lawyer said that Frank uses one of their lawyers at his firm.

Finally I found someone who knew him and I asked if he could connect me with that lawyer.

An hour later I received a call, it was the lawyer. I told him how I had read Franks book and was inspired and that I wanted to tell him myself.
He said he would call him and ask.

10 minutes later I received a text “It’s Frank, give me a call”

I called him, we met for lunch and we discussed his whole story.

One of the best strategies to reaching your goal is to find someone who’s already done what you want to do. As Mitch Joel wrote in his book Six Pixels of Separation we are all connected. And as Keith Ferrazzi says don’t be a go getter, be a Go Giver.

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. Everyone no matter how famous starts off small and in my experience most of the people who have “made it” are happy to help the right person if the intention is right.

Also published on Medium.

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