01 April 2008

Startup Life and Death -- April Fools

I have an odd story about April Fools jokes...or lack thereof.

One April 1st, I got to work at the startup that I was working at, did my usual morning ritual of checking the builds and answering my morning email. Then I decided to troll the Interweb to see what amusing new IETF RFC had come out that day.

Right at that moment our CEO called for an all-hands meeting, so I went to the meeting. The CEO came in and said "sorry, we're going out of business". I kept on waiting for him to scream "April Fools!" but he never did -- he was completely serious. The company's board decided to go out of business the night before.

I spent the rest of the day packing my boxes and drinking beer that one of our field techs obtained from the local brewery. Eventually somebody in management came by and told us we really had to be leaving and somebody chimed in "whaddaya going to do -- fire us?". To be clear, this was said in jest -- most of the people left in the company at this point got along just fine. It was just an unfortunate situation. We'd all been through so much together and now it was ending for good.

I never did get to see any April Fools jokes that day. It's not like the day itself brings me down -- I've long since gotten over that place. I guess the day was just an odd reminder that there is never a dull moment in high-tech.