John’s business success drew national attention. The same year Cook’s celebrated reaching its first one-million-dollar goal, John was invited to share his secrets of success at the annual National Pest Control Association convention, held that year in New Orleans. This was not an easy time for most businesses in the United States. Interest rates were high. Inflation was fueled by the Vietnam War and neither Cook’s nor its competitors could raise prices enough to cover the increased cost of doing business. They had to scrutinize their operating margins carefully and determine how to work smarter.

With this bleak national morale as a backdrop, hundreds of Association members waited impatiently in their seats, expecting a sobering speech filled with figures and charts and bullet points.

The auditorium went dark.

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