This is a completely true story from the hey days of the start-up
revolution. Names have been changed to protect the innocent
(or stupid). It was written by our Turkish lead developer. It is important to note that we had only 8 employees at the time.
On the eve of delivering an incredibly important project to a potential investor/partner, a huge problem arrises.
Dear CI Team,
Please take a moment to see the monument of shame that we camouflaged behind Chi Chi's desk to hide it from the landlord-a genuine "extreme duty" 5000 watt gasoline powered generator that Morris had us buy last night.
For those who missed the fun, here are the details of the "Wirthlin Operation", an incredible, zany adventure by Jeff and humble myself, Bayrak the programmer.
15:00 - Electrical power is lost in Silver Spring (Maryland) as a huge rain storm moves through the area.
15:06 - GangstaFeelsGood and Shawn leave for the bar.
16:00 - CI is almost empty. Jeff and I are frantically thinking about ways to get the Wirthlin demo up.
17:00 - Batteries of almost every UPS in the office are empty at this point. The only UPSs that are working are connected to the dev box, and that is the only server we need to finish the operation. My UPS is on chair in the kitchen, suspended on a Rube Goldberg-style contraption I devised at the last moment to supply power to the hub, which is our connection to the Internet. But there is no way we can get Jeff working on his machine - his UPS is dead.
17:30 - We drive to my house with Jeff to edit the HTML pages for the demo. Barely two minutes after we copy the files to my PC at home, the UPSs that power the hub and the dev box fail SIMULTANEOUSLY. Consumer Insight is completely dead at this moment.
17:45 - Jeff edits the pages on my home machine and Net connection, and we send the files to Wirthlin. We still have to verify the functionality of the pages, so we call Morris to ask what to do.
17:56 - GangstaFeelsGood and Shawn call from the bar, piss drunk, to see how it is going.
18:30 - Morris Boisson, the CEO of Consumer Insight, gives us the historical directive: "GO GET A GENERATOR IF NECESSARY"
19:00 - Jeff and I drive to Home Depot. Still not believing our ears, we call Morris for verification. He really wants a generator in here! We pay $922 for a generator and related stuff.
19:15 - We have to rip off the box to make the generator fit in my car, and drive off the Consumer Insight. We also buy two flashlights. The generator barely fits in the car, and Jeff sits in the back seat hugging the generator so it will not hit the windows. At the same time he is reading the manual..
20:00 - The manual says we need a "ferrous rod at least 9 feet long planted into ground" to ground the generator. Oh well.
20:05 - We arrive in CI, and locked outside the building. Jeff runs to the Chinese place and calls Lisa to come and open the door.
21:00 - We painstakingly take the 160 lb. generator up four floors, aided by a small flashlight.
21:10 - After spending some time to figure out what kind of fuel to run the generator, We drive off to a gas station to get gas.
21:40 - We return with the gas and motor oil required to run the generator. The landlord is outside, smoking his pipe, and staring suspiciously at us. At this point, with a gas bottle in hand, we look more like arsonists than employees of an Internet start-up. We leave the gas in the car, and have the landlord open the door for us. After we sneak in, we hide in the ground floor until the landlord leaves. Remember, it is totally dark everywhere.
21:50 - The landlord goes away, and we get the gas into the office. Lisa opens all doors and windows, and the generator is placed strategically into the hallway.
22:00 - Jeff pours motor oil into the generator. In the process he drops the dipstick into the gas tank. We manage to get the dipstick out with two forks.
22:10 - We start to fuel the generator, and spill some gas on the floor. The CI office is reeking of gasoline at this point.
22:15 - Moment of truth: I am pouring gas into the fuel tank.
22:16 - Electrical power is restored in Silver Spring, approx. 1 minute before we pull the ripcord to start our brand new generator.