Thursday, April 06, 2006


Startup: 1. A company recently formed, usually till IPO.
2. A company making up for total lack of managerial structure,
business processes and anything resembling a clue
with enthusiasm, smarts, improvisation and money.

"Welcome to the hive. Nice to have you." The Marketing Director (who was also the Art Director and lead designer) looked slightly befuddled, partly since nobody told him I would be starting in his division today, and partly because it was his normal mode of operation. The expression deepened after I answered his question as to what I was supposed to do, with "Something for the CEO, they haven't told me all the details yet." "You'll need a computer and an office." Some fugitive looks through the design department's hallway later, he pointed at a PowerMac 950 next to a 21" monitor. "Why don't you take this one and..."--more looking around--"And set up in that corner office over there." In five minutes, I had snagged the fastest Mac in the building and the largest corner office in the building. Unfortunately, the office didn't last more than a few weeks as the frenetic pace of hiring continued. In fact, I moved into a cubicle before the IT department got around to setting up my phone four weeks later.

Starting without a permanent office and with pilfered equipment is actually par for the course in most computer companies. Back then I attributed it to the relative youth or the company, but the last person I hired ended got his office after a few days sitting at a desk in the library by shuffling the business manager for Oceania into a cubicle in the operations department and its occupant got kicked into an empty office in the sales department. ("We'll fix that later") At least he got his computer within two weeks of starting his job, allowing me to sneak his "borrowed" laptop back into the trade show stock.

If I had any doubts that the hive wasn't like any other place I had worked at, the email from the HR director starting with "In view of recurring complaints, I would ONCE AGAIN like to remind everyone that pants (or skirts or dresses) and shirts have to be worn at all time..."
Accidental streaking--usually from the shower to the perps office--continued to be a recurring issue. The last one I remember was the sales director who walked from the shower to her office on the other side of the building wearing nothing but a towel occasionally when she roller bladed to work. Since she was blond, cute and 35, nobody minded that as much as the geeks who preceded her. This history also explained the hilarity that broke out when a female intern sent email to the office email list wanting to know if the hive's dress code was formal or business casual. Frankly, since she rapidly got nicknamed Debbie after getting here, and shocked the few over 40s in office with her elaborate but skimpy club attire, we never figured out why she bothered to ask in the first place.

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