Friday, November 05, 2010

The Enterprise - 6

The company was not limited to the cozy office in New York. We had a twin out west, in Silicon Valley. In Sunnyvale. The reason for the split went to the root of the company's existence: the two founders, Bill and Sam. Our Romulus and Remus. Bill was the wiz behind the enterprise, the one who engineered the prototype. His accomplishments in the field of computer science were at once spectacular and obscure. He'd won an Academy Award for his breakthrough in the digital representation of animal fur. Sam was the idea man. The concept was his idea. The framework, the skeleton. The very notion that it could be done at all. That was Sam. In our foundation myth the light bulb went on over his head. Sam was never in the office.

Bill lived in California. Sam lived in New Jersey. Neither one was inclined to budge. So Bill lorded over his fiefdom in California, hiring trusted confederates from the hifalutinest realms of West Coast innovation, the venerated tech schools, the esoteric startups. For some reason this specifically meant a close-knit group of expatriate French software developers. And Sam's the one who separated the venture capitalists from their money, not a nickel too little, not a minute too soon. And Sam hired the people I worked with. Us.

There was push and pull between Sunnyvale and New York. We pushed, they pulled. Generally.

One day an explosion of staticky rage erupted from the glass-walled conference room in the corner of the office. It was Bill on the speakerphone, addressing Brett's crew.

"There is no fucking excuse! No fucking excuse!"

Protests were meekly stammered around the table.

"You did not follow the test plan! You did not follow the test plan!"

Brett tried to interject. "Bill –"

"Brett! Brett! Brett! Brett! Brett! Did you receive my test plan document? Did you receive my test plan document?"

A sheepish pause. Then: "Yes."


The team sat around the table in stunned silence, staring at the triangle.


As I peered over the horizon of multicolored cubicle walls into the conference room I noticed something odd: a woman with long blond hair hovered around the table. She was carrying a cumbersome apparatus on her shoulder which she pointed towards each chastened face in turn.

I swiveled my chair towards David. "Who is that in there?"


"Who is that in there? Standing around. Is that a camera?"

"Oh," he said. "That's Debbie."

"Who's Debbie?"

"Debbie is our documentarian."