Once Upon A Dot Com

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Joined: January 15th, 2010, 11:13 am

Once Upon A Dot Com

Post by kateinthecloset » January 15th, 2010, 11:26 am

I was at Barnes & Noble last week.

Actually, I was at Barnes & Noble five times last week. It’s my happy place.

Anyway, I was looking for a book on iPhone App development. I browsed through half a dozen or so, picked the one I liked best, and checked the price. I was not pleased. On a whim, I checked the Barnes & Noble Store app on my own handy-dandy iPhone. That's how I discovered the book was eight bucks cheaper from B&N online, shipping included.

*Sigh*. Of course. They have to do that to compete with Amazon. Amazon, Amazon, Amazon. Some days it seems like everything comes back to Amazon. Well, it’s not as though they didn’t warn me...

The year: 1999. Everybody’s got a job. Everybody’s got stock options for their job. Everybody’s got options, period.

I’m practically a veteran after only two-and-a-half years at my consulting firm, but I’m burned out on ninety-hour work-weeks and hundred-percent travel. I’m lonely. I’m also dead certain I can make more money.

A company called Amazon.com flies me to Seattle to interview for a developer position. Amazon is THE dot com. It’s THE dot com when every business wants to be a dot com and every one actually says “dot com”.

Its stock price is famously overvalued.

The recruiter who meets me is named John. He’s wearing a T-shirt that helpfully informs me a life with Amazon is what I need to “Make Friends. Make Money. Make History.”

I roll my eyes while his back is turned.

My technical interviews go well, but they can tell my heart isn’t in it. John wants to know my concerns. I tell him I have a new house on half an acre back in Ohio. “Oh, you’ll never have that here in Seattle,” he says. I tell him I’m worried the stock options won’t be worth anything by the time they vest. He’s visibly offended. I tell him I’m a little sad about moving away from all my friends. He wonders if I can handle the stress. He tells me that Amazon dot com is so very important that if a problem arises on Friday and it takes until Tuesday to fix it, no one goes home until Tuesday. I try to tell him I’ve spent two years doing really important stuff under a lot of pressure, but he seems to think I don’t understand the definition of the word.

I’m still in Seattle the next day when he calls. “We’ve decided not to ahead with you.”

“Yes,” I say, “I agree that’s best. Thanks so much for-“

“I don’t think you understand what you’re giving up here! This is where everything is happening,” he says, “this is the future!”

I try to keep my tone even. “John, with all due respect, if you aren’t going to extend an offer, what difference does it make?”

He’s quiet for a moment. “I just can’t understand why you would want to go back to Ohio.”

I don’t tell him I’ve decided to accept the offer from Microsoft.

Anyhoo, I put the iPhone book back on the shelf. I decided to order it when I got home, then forgot, and then decided I didn’t really need it after all.

Sophie Minter
Posts: 14
Joined: January 14th, 2010, 7:00 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Once Upon A Dot Com

Post by Sophie Minter » January 15th, 2010, 1:17 pm

Ouch, (I'm giggling because it's funny and painful at the same time) Amazon is everywhere. Thanks for sharing--great story.

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