I found a site with more sordid tales of the very late '90s at sfgirl.com. Check it out before it's dot-gone -- which won't be long.
There is just a dazzling array of 20-something caught-in-a-bubble stories. I think I should archive them on my own web server. Wouldn't it really capture the spirit of the era as the home page for my 3Com Audrey? Maybe I'll run the site on OpenACS.
-- (September 26, 2002) on Diary of a Startup
Well, the important thing is that you're not bitter.
Sorry, that was a cheap shot. I have by no means traveled 1.6km in your shoes. As a young woman you've already tasted more success than most people ever will, and there's no reason to believe you'll stop here. I'm just a guy and you don't know me from Adam, so let me open by saying that my opinion matters not one bit. Now I can get on with my stupid little observations.
- I cringe at the words, "Non-profit work is an excellent marketing technique." I'm sure you mean well, but I had to get that off my chest. Even J.P. Morgan had a better angle on charity.
- Are you really finding fault with not motivating employees to work more than 40 hours a week? Unless you're motivating them with time-and-a-half, you can forget it. You sign a contract with an employee for 40 hours, and you don't complain when a contractee fails to deliver more than was agreed. Nor do you expect it, nor hinge your profit margin upon it. That's just bad business.
- Despite allusions to the contrary, it was a highly anomalous business environment. By March 2000, many goodly portions of this country's mutual funds had been sunk into internet professional services. People thought they had a magic box and wouldn't be convinced otherwise, until ROI -- math -- reared its ugly head.
- I'm probably fascinated because this story intertwines the two themes of macroeconomical bubble microcosm (whew!) and academic hacker meets corporate board room.
- By now you understand the importance of knowing how the VCs could file suit against you with ArsDigita Corp as a plaintiff. I suspect the VCs understood this long before signing a deal in the first place. It's standard practice to have sort of a hidden emergency brake in case the investors get panicky, which they did.
- You may be right that the lawsuit had no merit. Possibly it would have been thrown out its first day of court, though any lawyer will tell you nothing is certain, and I haven't seen any of the court documents (can you provide links? I'm fascinated for some reason). From your description it sounds like the VCs had nothing more than a clever way to buy controlling shares. Depositions are an excellent venue for breaking down a person's will to resist. I can only speculate here, but any lawyer worth his salt would have a several hats full of motivating factors ($7M not being the least). If, in fact, they never intended to win this lawsuit, then the day before opening statements is the ideal time to offer the carrot, after depositions full of sharp, nasty sticks.
- Control of the company is the brass ring of the corporate merry-go-round.
- Human nature averages out to economics in much the same way that quantum mechanics averages out to classical physics.
Finally, fc is (or was) a great site, where quasi-insider dope mingled with cathartic insults. Something to watch, and occassionally jump in playing the role of know-it-all jerk. Like many of my talents, it is both a gift and a curse. For what it's worth, I was "rainbow suspenders", "Mediocrity with Attitude", and "evil bender (registered sinner)". The banter on that thread would indicate you had some clever people there.
You might appreciate the book, "The Billion Dollar Monopoly Swindle," by Ralph Anspach. Aside from the fascinating history of Monopoly (and Anti-Monopoly), it includes a riveting account of invention rustling and sordid board room maneuvering.
I wish you luck, not that you need it. We all know that you're going to be just fine. Even those of us who don't know you.
However, you might want to add some html integrity checking on this application. What if somebody doesn't close his <b> tag! And you allow <br> but not <br />? It's legal XHTML, for cryin' out loud...
-- (June 30, 2002) on Diary of a Startup
There once was a girl who loved pi I never could quite fathom why To her it's a wonder To me just a number Its beauty revealed by and by
-- (June 27, 2002) on Pi Poetry