Power Meeting

August 24, 2016:

Karen Starr meets with Bruce Wayne to discuss some business opportunities

Wayne Enterprises

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

After having made multiple attempts to get in touch with Tony Stark for a joint venture, Karen Starr has eventually arrived to one of two conclusions, either Tony Stark is everybit the sexist his reputation says he is and he just won't work with a woman, or he's everybit the playboy his reputation says he is and he just doesn't care to work. Whatever the real reason, Karen has had enough and gave up on work with Stark Industries, instead she appealed to Bruce Wayne for a meeting, and lo and behold, he actually gave her the time of day.

That's why today she got decked in a professional pants suit, black slacks and blazer with a purple blouse underneath, touched with a purple tinted floral patterned scarf around her neck and purple pumps to match her blouse. Purse, naturally, matches her shoes. Everything in order, purse slung on her shoulder, she makes her way into the Wayne Building for the meeting, just 10 minutes ahead of time, giving her ample time to reach the meeting room or Wayne's office in time, according to where the meeting was scheduled to.

Wayne's apparently the sort to appreciate premature punctuality, because he's waiting for KAren the minute that she lands on the Executive floor. His personal assistant meets her at the elevator— a subtle note of respect, that, instead of a 'mere' receptionist being on hand— and escorts Karen to the large double doors at the end of the hallway, then takes a left into the President's Corner— a full third of the topmost floor that are Bruce Wayne's offices, the corporate board meeting room, and his private penthouse suite.

In the office Bruce is standing by a set of four chairs near a low coffee table. The whole place is old money, old wood, rich leather and smells like linament, leather, and old hardwoods.

"Ms. Starr," Bruce says, smiling at the woman as she's entered into the room. He wears beige, with pinstripes so subtle it takes a keen eye to pick them out (for a human). Wingtip shoes, and the double-breasted jacket is a bit anachronistic but seems to suit him just fine.

"I'm really pleased we could meet up. Bruce Wayne, at your service," he says, offering her a polite, firm handshake. "Can I offer you anything to drink? Tea, coffee, water?" he inquires, touching the back of a chair and inviting her to sit— a nod at a civilized gesture.

Karen is rather touched by the gesture, compared to the complete neglect of Tony Stark even when she tried to reach him through networking means, such as Sam Wilson, his advisor. For once she was not only being regarded, but also treated as a colleague, quite a refreshing change. When she's taken to Bruce Wayne, she greets him with a smile, extending her hand amicably, "Mr. Wayne, a pleasure to meet you, and thank you for taking the time."

"Oh, I'd love some espresso," Karen says at the offer, before reaching into her purse and taking out a tablet, "oh," she chuckles as Bruce reaches for the back of a chair to invite her to sit in a rather gallant fashion, and she moves to sit down first. Waiting for him to be seated as well, while doing a few presses on her tablet, and then pushing it towards his side of the table, "what I wanted to discuss is a joint venture, Starrware Industries have devised a means to create new computer hardware that would cut power consumption by 60 percent. I think this technology would allow for more powerful computing chips in the future, while at the same time lower current power consumption worldwide. While we're very good at the technology side in Starrware Industries, we're not quite as proficent in distribution on all levels. We usually make products for day to day consumers, and I believe this technology would benefit best from penetration into the corporate environment. I dare say military as well, but I have no business connection there whatsoever."

Bruce nods at his assistant, and the young man darts around the corner with a smart motion. Good fellow— competent and quick to move. Bruce certainly would only have the best as a PA, and with the fellow's subtle Omega wristwatch, he probably pays him well for it.

He sits down at the chair adjacent to Karen and crosses his legs towards her, resting his elbow on the chair's arm. The highbacked chairs are almost /too/ comfy for executive work, and they're set at an angle so that no one person can just dominate the conversation, but they're not sitting awkwardly to look at one another.

Bruce Wayne is someone who thoroughly understands psychology.

"Hmm," Bruce says, reading through the technical specifications. "That's impressive. You managed to break the 10nm threshold?" He lifts a brow. "My tech guys told me that was impossible. We've been thinking about diversifying our investment portfolion into alternative semiconductor designs for just that reason."

He reads over the tablet patiently, while his PA walks in and serve Karen an espresso— cream and sugar on the tray— and sets one in front of Bruce. Karen's superhuman nose would realize it's decaf.

"I think we can work with this," Bruce nods at Karen, setting the table on his thigh. "It's certainly got potential and we've got the network to move it to the commercial sector. I'll talk to my tech people, they'll help me identify preferred markets aside from the ones you've mentioned. Is this just a prototype?" he inquires, tapping the screen. "Or are you able to do scaled-down manufacturing at volume?"

Karen does note the little but notable differences from most executives' offices she's been to, and Bruce Wayne certainly strikes like an unusual character. She doesn't compliment him for it though, it would be uncouth in a professional business meeting. For the time being she just waits for him to review the specs on display in the preentation she loaded on her tablet. "Until recently the consensus was that it is impossible, but that is the mission statement of Starrware Industries, make the impossible into a reality, and improve the quality of life on Earth. I personally think there has been too much research on what is state of the art, power wise, not so much in power efficency wise."

Served an espresso, Karen thanks the PA, before reaching to take a sip, not adding anything to her cup of espresso, she makes no comment on it being a decaf. She is after all not so snobish as to care about the surrounding things, so much as the actualy subject of the meeting itself. Just seeing Bruce actually reading the information on the tablet himself, rather than give it to an assistant makes her very pleased.

"That is excellent news, Mr. Wayne, I'm glad to see you are a man who sees the value in conservation, as much as innovation," Karen nods at the last question, "yes, as of now, I believe we're 6 months off a final product. But once we're there, we can certainly accomodate the manufacturing."

Bruce considers the tablet, then passes it back to Karen, nodding. "I agree," he tells her. "With the larger data centers consuming so much energy and creating so much thermal bloom, power efficiency is almost a more valuable commodity than upper-end performance. If two chips give three-quarters the performance but a third of the thermal signature, that's the sort of thing that major server farms would be very interested in, offhand."

He sips his own coffee, black, and considers his thoughts. "Wayne Enterprises recently acquired an semiconductor plant in Washington State that was going under. I know it'd be fairly expensive for you to re-tool for bulk manufacturing, but it'd be a good avenue for us to redo it, as well as creating a few thousand local jobs." His eyes crinkle in a smile. "So would you be amenable to Wayne Industries licensing your design from you and paying out a royalty, rather than merely handling distribution? That frees your people up to do what they do best— inventing better mousetraps."

Karen takes it in hand, and then stalls for a moment as she turns to Bruce, "is there any email address in your company you'd like me to forward this information to?" She smiles brightly at Bruce's conclusion about the matter, "exactly! That's what I've been trying to get across to people who rejected investments in this project in the past. I concur about data centers, which would be a chief beneficiary from this in the immediate."

She tilts her head for a moment at Bruce's counter offer, and muses over his words, there is much sense in them. And if she's honest with herself, he has a solid point on where she'd like to keep her company's focus. "I think that's actually a brilliant idea, Mr. Wayne, and I would love to conduct business with you. The Wayne name does hold a certain prestige, if you don't mind me stating the obvious, a link with Wayne Industries will also benefit us good will wise."

"I'll send you back with one of our corporate couriers," Bruce tells Karen, shaking his head. "This is the sort of thing I prefer to do with security on hand. My tech people tell me it's the only really secure way to pass technical data around— he'll go to your offices, sit down with your techies, everyone examines the files and the flash drive for viruses or malware, and then we just move it the old fashioned way— by hand."

"I'll have my people work up a few offers for you after marketing and sales gets a chance to look it over. Either we can license the design from you, or you can contract us to produce it for you. Think it over," he suggests. "But, my preference would be for us to carry the burden of manufacture. It's a bit higher risk for us, but we've got some investment capital laying around not doing much for us at the moment."

"It's a real pleasure finally meeting you, Ms. Starr," Bruce says, a smile creasing his stalwart features. "I've heard good things but I don't think we've ever sat and really talked— except for what, polite hellos at the Met Gala two years ago?" he asks with a chuckle. "Pleasantries really aren't the same as a business meeting. Though," he says, a bit whimsically, "I remember you taking Councilman Eddings for a run around the dance floor. I think he overestimated his ability to lead a tango."

"Better safe than sorry, I like that," Karen says with a smile, accepting Mr. Wayne's astute observation. After all, even this presentation can be used to drive a competitor with skilled enough personnel. "I think I will consider the offer most favorable, with the multiple markets this can work for, I'm not sure if Starrware Industries really can withstand should it catch on, as I project it will."

Karen nods as Bruce reminds her of their brief, and very media driven meeting two years ago, "yes, I was something of a unicorn at the time, there are more successful women in the industry today. And that's good progress." She laughs when her infamous tango with Eddings is mentioned, and she offers, "it was all his fault, he suggested he was too much man for me to handle, said he could out perform in any challenge of my choosing, so I took the tango, I wanted the paparrazzi to punish him with embarrassing photos for his arrogance."

Bruce chuckles, a sympathetic wince crossing his face. "That's what some hubris earns you," he says ruefully, shaking his head. "Eddings still thinks it's 1995 and he's the Gold's Gym Man of the Year," he informs her, eyes dancing. "And I understand you dabble a bit in fitness yourself." That's an understatement, absolutely.

"His ego really did need a check to it. I heard he stopped threatening to break deadlocks with arm wrestling matches after that night, so a few gals on the City Council have you to thank for that," he says with an easy grin. "And I think next time we bump into each other at a fundraiser, I'll ask for a waltz or something. Maybe the two-step," he says, grin spreading. "Just to be safe."

Karen laughs at Bruce's concise summary of Eddings, which really, isn't quite how she'd word it, likely why she got caught off guard enough to burst in laughter. "My…your company is good for the soul, Mr. Wayne, that's what they say about laughter, you know." Naturally Karen's business suit doesn't reveal her muscles as much as her Power Girl outfit does, but a keen eye like Bruce's would look at more than just her bust, which is what most of her male colleagues tend to focus on, bringing her quotable 'eyes up here' from around her office. "Yes, I believe in sound mind and body, so I don't neglect on fitness. Also, while it may be obvious enough, you'd be surprised how much women are punished when they don't look as well as they can, compared to their male colleagues, and that's across the industries. You don't ever see required weight and waistline in male's contracts, do you?"

"I hate it when neanderthals like him resort to feats of strength, especially against those he knows are weaker then him," Karen shakes her head, "as if brute strength was ever a sign of who is most correct in the room. Any room." With a playful wink, she quips, "you know, I can dance just to enjoy a dance, that time with Eddings I just wanted to make a point."

Bruce spreads his hands a bit helplessly. "It's not in any contract we have here, but— I can't say for sure it doesn't happen," he admits. "Even some of my senior executives sometimes don't seem to 'get' it, and we've got six out of fourteen spots on the board filled by women. Still, once in a while I get a report about nepotism or sexism coming in from the lower ranks. I find it works pretty well to go down there myself to talk through problems… and drop hints to mid-level managers about where I might be focusing 'staff cutbacks' in October," he grins.

"I can't say as I envied the position Eddings got into, but I was half hoping I might get a chance to ask you for a turn around the dance floor," Bruce tells Karen, returning her sly wink. "Unfortunately I got pigeonholed by Mrs. Obersky— matriarch of the Obersky Airlines family?" he clarifies. "I like to think I'm pretty good at moving in high society, but that woman had me stuck in a corner to introduce me to all four of her daughters."

"I'm glad to hear your company doesn't hold such clauses, mine doesn't either, but I assure you such clauses do exist and it's appaling," Karen seems quite adamant about the matter, though she does seem impressed with Mr. Wayne citing what percent of his board are women, it's certainly a rarity. "I wish more executives would have followed your lead, Mr. Wayne, it's certainly refreshing."

"My. Wayne, I'd love to get to know you over a cup of tea sometime, you seem like a remarkable man," Karen offers flatly, as she starts to rise, gathering her tablet back, wincing a bit as he mentions Mrs. Obersky, "no doubt she was seeking an advantageous marraige, you are famously single, are you not? Well, time to me to get on with the day, thank you so much for your time Mr. Wayne!"

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