In 1999, at the age of twenty, I was working for a company called Thomas A Edison, a now-bankrupt startup in Amarillo, Texas. TAE, as it was internally referenced, was originally concepted as a small appliances company, a spinoff of an Amarillo custom computer operation. They had bought the Edison trademarks, on which the original copyrights had expired, and were going to put out CD players shaped like gramophones, and computers in old-timey cases. Cute. Sounded do-able. So I moved to Texas.
THEN I found out that they were going to resell E-COMMERCE SOFTWARE. By then, two days into my life in Texas, it was already too late to go home. I found myself working around the clock to get a non-existent website up before the commercials they’d bought airtime for ran on CNN. I remember standing outside the converted offices, a cheap building surrounded by too much West Texas space, freezing in the dry, cold night, trying to stay awake in a city where the nearest Starbucks was three hundred miles away. I was pushing to load up some semblance of a website by 5am CST – because at 7am, the CNN commercials went into rotation, giving ONLY the phone number and web address.
It’s six years later now, and I’m in Los Angeles, at the opposite end of the American spectrum from Amarillo, Texas. However, I’m STILL GOING THROUGH THE SAME DUMB CRAP, working long hours to promote a website that isn’t even working. The partner agency that outsources their media buying to my company – also outsources the design of the site and domain that we’re promoting to another third party. And even though TV went live this weekend, the site is down. Broken. And it’s Sunday, and there’s no one working to fix it or tell me what to do about my online campaign that’s supposed to drop tomorrow.
And here I thought that kind of incompetency was limited to startup companies in West Texas. The kind of places that blow their investor millions on eighteen year old secretaries and enough snow to put in a bunny hill. The kind of place where the VPs dip snuff during meetings – and spit into their Dr. Pepper bottles while presenting at COMDEX. Instead, I find out that it isn’t limited to Amarillo at all – although it MAY be a Texas thing. The website developers that didn’t alpha-test their homepage interface? They’re based in DALLAS.
I hate reruns like this. Maybe I should drop Internet work and go work in a respectable field instead.