Corporate Memorabilia

It looks like I failed to attract any Microsoft readers, but I have at least two readers from the Big Blue. Let the pandering to the audience commence!

As those of you who actually read my journal might know that I used to work for a dot com agency called iXL where I had many unforgettable experiences.

(I finally found a metrocard that casa” posted in his journal a while ago).

Anyway, iXL had a logo that looked like this:

In the beginning it was a hip company – dress code was not enforced and neither was anyone required to come in at 9 AM. I don’t remember what it was, insistance on business casual or the mandatory 9AM meeting that made sysadmin named Lee to make enough of these buttons for everyone to wear in the 9AM meeting.

Looking At The Things Flashing By

Lj user saltdog reminded me of something from the not so long gone era of dotcoms. Back then there was a tremendous proliferation of web development companies that called themselves “agencies”. I worked for one back then.

These companies behaved kind of like bacteria in a pool of agar-agar. At first they multiplied. Razorfish, iXL, Scient, Viant, Sapient, Agency.com, Organic, Xpedior, Proxicom. Then they tried to enlarge themselves. Some by what they called “organic growth” which is like when a bacteria that grows more cells. If I remember correctly Razorfish tried doing that. Others engorged themselves by swallowing smaller companies like some corporate amoeba. A prime example of that was iXL. Then there was a type of companies that multiplied by cloning. Scient, Viant and Sapient even had cloned names.

Clients that wanted websites (agar-agar) were plentiful, but coding monkeys (minerals) were the growth limiting factor. The agencies spent much of their profits on advertising to lure in potential employees. One of the more creative ways I’ve seen at Sapient (I think, it could have been some other -nt clone). They rigged their website to detect referrals from ip addresses that belonged to other agencies and present a customized front page that presented top reasons to leave that agency and start working for the clone.

A magazine ad (I think from Silicon Alley Reporter) that stuck in my head and what lj user “saltdog” reminded me of was rather unique. It was just a copy of a ticket. A real ticket given by an MTA cop to some codemonkey at some now defunct agency. It was a little hard to read and probably not very eye catching. In the memo field of the ticket it said something like this: ” MTA police officer [Cop’s name] encountered [Codemonkey’s name] riding between the cars of the [some letter or number] train. When asked about what he was doing [Codemonkey] answered, that he was “looking at the things flashing by” “. The ticket was for $25 or $50 dollars, or something like that. The copy below the ticket invited people who like “looking at the things flashing by” to go work for that agency.

Yeah, that in itself was the epitome of the dot com era. Looking at the things flashing by. Then the amoebas, multicellular scum and clones ran out of agar-agar and began to merge, become swallowed by more evolved corporations and die.

Murder at the ABA or The Pod People

There is one project that I am glad I was not on. A few people that were sitting in a octapod next to me at iXL worked on the http://www.aba.com website. It turned out to be a horrible death march. I found out about the project because one of the coders had an Asimov’s book displayed on her table (interestingly enough, I had that book in my collection).

The book in question was “Murder at the ABA”, a detective story about a murder at the American Bookseller Association convention.

Oh, if you are wondering what the “octapod” is. An octapod is this weird replacement of a standard cubicle. It looks somewhat like this:

In other news: Scient that swallowed iXL has now been swallowed by sbi. So long to Scient, Viant, Sapient jokes.

Are You Proud of Your Workplace?

I like decorated workplaces. And I don’t mean a cube with a swimsuit calendar and “motivational” posters from http://www.motivational-posters-animal-posters-sunset-beach-photos.com/ (that’s a real address too). I don’t like Despair, Inc Demotivators TM, although I wish I came up with that idea myself. It’s a big business, as illustrated by this spooky picture of their warehouse:

What I do like, is when an office has some artifact or artifacts that everybody is extremely proud of. For instance in Boston office of defunct company iXL they had an Aibo dog (the expensive first version), which they’ve got for creating http://www.aibo.com. I worked in New York office of iXl.

A company that I worship, iDEO, has an office which has the ultimate office decoration. Some engineers went to the airplane scrap yard and brought back a huge WWII bomber wing, which they polished and hung above a meeting room.

Art. Lebedev Studio, a company, which I think will become Russia’s iDEO, and which I also worship, has the coolest collection of old technology

Fog Creek Software (yeah, I worship a lot of companies) strives to provide the best working enviroment possible. From their website: ” … That means the nicest work environment we can get. For now, that means an historic brownstone in an exciting Manhattan neighborhood full of caf├ęs, bookstores, ethnic restaurants, movie theatres, and a rather disproportionate number of Persian rug shops. We have a real garden out back, a full kitchen, a pinball machine, and natural light… ” And that is even more amazing than an airplane wing.

Me? Well, I have a small collection of old vacuum tubes (or valves as Brits call them) in my cube. But I think a nice jet fighter’s helmet and a nice jet instrument panel from eBay’s fine selection would be much cooler.

Ok, I am off to install a 120 gig drive (a bargain at $130) in my Tivo. Wish me luck.