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[P]
One Sleazy Businessman

By the77x42 in Culture
Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:00:00 PM EST
Tags: contract, work, scam (all tags)

A few years ago, in my early twenties, I was set to graduate from university. At the time, I lived with my parents and had an easy job as the network administrator of a local fishing company. A few months before convocation, my parents divorced, my boss fired me (incidentally, for this article), and I had stopped school because I thought my life of free room and board was over. I spammed my address book crying for work. An acquaintance called me to do some contract work for a startup board game company. What followed was a lesson in something that I would have never learned in university: reality.


The first 'interview' was essentially picking my brain for solutions to a botched installation of Small Business Server 2000. What can I say; I needed the work. Money was immediately an issue - for them. Within the first minutes of the interview, I was told that money was tight, but that the cheques were coming. I found out that the interviewer, my acquaintance, had not been paid in a month. I began to wonder. The company had some grand plans for its board games, which were essentially a medium for advertising space. Think of the adverts around hockey rinks and baseball fields. Now picture those ads on a board game of the same sport. Novel? Sure. Profitable? Not a hope in hell.

I had the opportunity to 'play' one of the games. Much like my experience that day, it was gimmicky and very shoddy. The video game generation would not have the patience for something like this. Between the product itself and money problems, I was nervous. Then I met the CEO - I was already half way out the door.

Kerry looked like The Penguin from Batman Returns, had the voice of Kaa from The Jungle Book, and dressed in fifty dollar suits pretending to look like Patrick Bateman from American Psycho. This was one sleazy businessman.

His slick lies and discount apparel were somehow able to blind his employees. Even though people had gone months without a paycheck, they still devoted countless hours to the cause because Kerry assured them they would be "well rewarded". In fact, his guise would eventually bring an entire town of 1,500 people behind him in the promise of moving his manufacturing facility there from China. Nevertheless, his talk was as cheap as his suits.

Late last year he sold his stock and ran, leaving over $5.5 million in debt to creditors. Earlier this year the company filed for bankruptcy. I got out after the first day. My acquaintance wasn't that lucky and went four months without receiving a single dime before walking.

Intelligent people at the company were paid only by their imagination. Everyone thought it was the next big thing and that no one could be so full of shit. In the end, Kerry had built up a loyal, free workforce. He had squeezed desperate publicity by exploiting a small town. He made himself rich by selling a stupid idea to even stupider creditors. After meeting a couple more Kerrys, I've since stopped doing contract work and finished my degree. The odd job request still comes in, but I highball the offer so they politely refuse.

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One Sleazy Businessman | 26 comments (21 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
excellent (2.80 / 5) (#1)
by mybostinks on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:15:34 AM EST

but it could be a little longer, maybe expand it some more?

I remember "The World's Most Dangerous Server Room" and the pictures at the Reg. That was something.

I worked one time in a sleazy outfit such as you describe. It was my first programming job back in the late 80s and early 90s. Eventually, it went into receivership and was taken over by the SEC (Securities and Exchange Commission) and SIPC (Securities Insurance Protection Corp.). The owner eventually did hard time and I hung on until AND miraculously got paid until SIPC finished pillaging everything in sight. Up to that point I figured it was my only chance for the "Brass Ring".

Good luck

I was thinking of making it longer (none / 0) (#5)
by the77x42 on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 03:09:29 PM EST

But I'm still baby stepping my writing skills :)


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
Agreed. (none / 1) (#25)
by fluxrad on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:43:54 PM EST

It was a nice diary, but where the hell was the story?

--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
Nice story, (none / 0) (#26)
by k31 on Tue Jul 10, 2007 at 11:51:28 AM EST

I had a similar experience, except I'm still working on the finish-my-degree phase.

In any case, thanks for sharing.

Your dollar is you only Word, the wrath of it your only fear. He who has an EAR to hear....
[ Parent ]

good point (3.00 / 3) (#3)
by mybostinks on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 12:17:37 PM EST

I have been here over six. Disgusting isnt it?

Some of my clients have been that way (2.00 / 3) (#4)
by MichaelCrawford on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 01:49:44 PM EST

I had great dreams of making a business of software consulting. One reason it didn't work out was that sometimes the clients were either cruel or dishonest.


Looking for some free songs?


It's sad (none / 1) (#7)
by the77x42 on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 03:14:40 PM EST

But I am amazed at how many people can be so unscrupulous.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
Actually (1.50 / 1) (#6)
by the77x42 on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 03:13:12 PM EST

I think I'm one of the few people who doesn't complain about K5...


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

Well done. Enjoyable read. +FP (none / 1) (#9)
by dakini on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 05:39:37 PM EST



" May your vision be clear, your heart strong, and may you always follow your dreams."
You got fired for _that_? (none / 1) (#10)
by ksandstr on Wed Jul 04, 2007 at 09:03:54 PM EST

Ha, some people will take any opportunity to swing their dicks around.

--
JA I AM MADE OF DUR BUTTER UND YOU ARE WORTH 2K MONIES
I couldn't find the exit [nt] (3.00 / 8) (#13)
by Stjck on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 05:42:55 AM EST



not dangerous, but dangerously stupid (2.66 / 3) (#14)
by ccdotnet on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 06:42:33 AM EST

Wish I could send a photo. One of my clients just installed an electronic lock on the door to their server "room". They're pretty excited about it. I say "room" because this space has the usual suspended ceiling made up of easily removed tiles that are common to small offices. You can penetrate their sophisticated new defense by climbing over the wall from either of 2 adjacent, unlocked, meeting rooms.

This new lock has neither manual override nor battery backup. So come mains power failure time they'll be able to hear the UPS beeping away, just not see it. Unless they read K5 and my first paragraph.

Did I mention the servers sit on the floor? Perfect height for even a modest water build-up on the floor from a leaking roof (or bust pipe in the kitchen) to reach the backplanes.

Or that there's no comms between the servers and the UPS? In theory the eventual shut down when the UPS runs out should be graceful, because the workstations will have long since stopped talking to the servers.

It makes me wonder (none / 0) (#20)
by the77x42 on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 02:54:08 AM EST

Why don't more offices just source out their entire server room to an off site company? The cost of renovating a proper, secure, safe server room would probably be far greater.


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]
Don't think... (none / 0) (#22)
by BJH on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 08:13:18 AM EST

...they'll be able to read k5 during a blackout.
--
Roses are red, violets are blue.
I'm schizophrenic, and so am I.
-- Oscar Levant

[ Parent ]
thats it? (2.00 / 2) (#16)
by Del Griffith on Thu Jul 05, 2007 at 11:35:21 PM EST

so in the last 5 years you interviewed 1x, and came here?  I don't get it.

Also if this place was so awesome...  You must have gotten better stories from your 'friend'.

The only thing that seperates losers like this guy, and 'winners' like steve jobs is marketplace acceptance & timing.

I mean the next cube was a failure, but any mac today running the same software on r/w optical disks is a runaway success.

+1 for getting fired for posting their 'data room'...

-------
I...I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. Because I'm the real article. What you see is what you get. - Me


well, no (none / 1) (#18)
by the77x42 on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 02:48:25 AM EST

I was going to school and working at the fish place.
I stopped going to school to work exclusively at the fish place.
I got fired from the fish place.
A week later I did the interview for the bad place.
The next week I went back to school.
I finished my degree.
After school I got one job and left after a year.
A week after that I got a job and a month after that I got another job. I've been working both jobs now for almost two years.

Satisfied?


"We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
"You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

[ Parent ]

it's not much of a story (none / 1) (#21)
by Del Griffith on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 06:48:14 AM EST

is it?

but hey, it's your life.

-------
I...I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. Because I'm the real article. What you see is what you get. - Me


[ Parent ]

So sigged. (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by rusty on Thu Jul 12, 2007 at 01:25:46 PM EST



____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
oh god what happened to my youth? (3.00 / 5) (#17)
by Phssthpok on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:58:40 AM EST


____________

affective flattening has caused me to kill 11,357 people

Some of just don't know when to leave. $ (3.00 / 2) (#23)
by fluxrad on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:41:44 PM EST



--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
Some of *us*. Fuck. Stepped on it again. $ (none / 1) (#24)
by fluxrad on Fri Jul 06, 2007 at 01:42:16 PM EST



--
"It is seldom liberty of any kind that is lost all at once."
-David Hume
[ Parent ]
One Sleazy Businessman | 26 comments (21 topical, 5 editorial, 0 hidden)
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