Startup hell. It was Quake-O’Clock, and Ratchet was kicking ass in our daily engineering fragfest. A few minutes earlier someone had yelled “Quaaaake!” from a cubical, and most of us dropped what we were doing and joined up for half an hour or so of blowing off steam. Smeg and SkyBlue and FluffyBunnyKins were being hammered by Ratchet, who was using a trackball of all things. Yelling over the cubical walls was part of the fun: “Owww! Take it out, it hurts!” and “I’m gonna get you for that, you M-F!”. Typical deathmatch interaction. It offended the hell out of some of the marketing and sales types, who were a few rows of cubicals over. We’d been Spoken To about our offensive yelling. Somehow, maybe because our average day extended to 2AM and theirs didn’t, we couldn’t bring ourselves to care. Oops. Sorry about that, boss. We’ll do better … until next time.
Months later (and after I had bailed), that startup was bought in badly negotiated stock merger that included layoffs for the less valuable folks. But the spirit had gone out of people far earlier. There is a time when the nerf fights and deathmatching come to an end, and when it doesn’t involve the success and maturing of the company it usually means the death of innovation and caring amongst the core people.
Some things must stick in your subconcious, though. A friend of mine and cow-orker from that startup now runs a web site for his consulting company. Here’s a fragment of his title page:
I noticed this amusing
rotations and edits
finally exposing the subliminal: