Tribulation Stories

Customers’ Trials & Tribulations

Being in business is not for the faint of heart. Entrepreneurs work hard to make their corner of the world better, but it rarely happens without trials and tribulations.

Regardless, true entrepreneurs fight through every problem and survive. This is why we proclaim…

American Businesses are Patriots!

Showcase of Trials & Tribulations

Read below what a few of your peers have endured. Better yet, share an interesting hardship and survival story of your own and receive a $25 credit off of a future invoice.

Patriot’s Stories of Tribulations For starters, below are just a few of Patriot’s early tribulation stories.

Listen to our

"Hired & Fired"

1988 – Hired & Fired Our 1st Employee on the Same Day

Patriot Software, CEO Mike Kappel

In 1988 I called the local high school to send me a senior to be an administrative intern. She showed up. I hired her and put her to work. She was incapable of simple clerical tasks. Six hours later, I fired her.

She refused to leave. She locked herself in the bathroom for 90 minutes and screamed. A high school teacher finally convinced her to go home. I felt like scum. I was a terrible employer!

Listen to our

"Ugly Phone Call"

1992 – Our Employee Blew Up a Laundromat

Patriot Software, CEO Mike Kappel

My employee took chemical-soaked cleaning rags to a laundromat and caused a dryer fire. I told him never to do that again, and gave him a different procedure for drying our cleaning rags. Behind my back, he ignored my instructions and went to the laundromat again. This time, the gas dryer literally exploded.

The employee was blown across the room - went to the hospital. The roof was blown off the building. Fire & smoke were everywhere. The police and fire marshal pronounced that my company was guilty. Thank God we had insurance.

1993 – Our Company Was Attacked by a Con Artist

Patriot Software, CEO Mike Kappel

In 1993 (before the Internet was even a thing), there was a con artist operating in Pittsburgh, PA. The con artist copied our sales literature and customer list. He worked anonymously from a PO Box. He phoned my customers, spoke with them, and claimed to be me, the actual owner of my company.

He told my customers that his PO Box was my company’s new address. He then sent them all invoices. My customers were fooled and paid him. Some actually believed him more than they believed me. I hired a Private Investigator (Detective Fagioletti) to find the con-artist. The PI called regularly with updates, but always in the middle of the night. Why the middle of the night? I don’t know, but receiving those calls from a PI with a thick Italian accent was exciting! The PI told me that he found the con-artist and turned him over to the PA Attorney General for prosecution. The con-artist eventually went to jail for other charges. Thankfully, I was able to repair the damage done to my customers and learned how to protect against all forms of fraud and identity theft.

2008 – Sued by a Patent Troll

Patriot Software, CEO Mike Kappel

We have always designed and written our own software. We never copied anyone, ever. In 2008 we received a lawsuit by certified mail. The lawsuit named and attacked: 2 of the world’s largest career sites, and the world’s largest software company, and the world’s largest newspaper company, and a tiny Ohio company owned by Mike Kappel. The lawsuit was from a Patent Troll.

[Google definition: What is a patent troll? A patent troll uses patents as legal weapons, instead of actually creating any new products or coming up with new ideas. Instead, trolls are in the business of litigation] The Patent Troll had no employees and no product; just a patent. The goal of the Patent Troll was to push Mike Kappel’s tiny company toward bankruptcy by claiming patent infringement. If the Troll could get Kappel to agree to “unintentional” patent infringement, that would “set precedence” with the San Francisco judge which would force the other large defendants to be required to pay up! Kappel’s tiny Ohio company wiggled vigorously in the San Francisco lawsuit for ~3 weeks because they were innocent. However, those 3 weeks cost ~$100,000 in attorney’s fees. Kappel had no choice but to agree to the word “unintentional” patent infringement and pay an undisclosed settlement. As for the big companies? We imagine that they paid the Troll millions. Ugh. We learned from that experience. Now, Patriot has controls in place, so that no Troll (or anyone) will ever be able to claim that we didn’t write our own software.