Posts for Tag: recession

Remember the Sock Puppet? He's rolling with us now.

Ah, an icon of the great internet bubble of the late 1990's. Back in the day, nothing signaled that you "arrived" on the internet scene like a Super Bowl commercial. Start-ups plunged a good chunk of their funding into Super Bowl ads hoping for the exposure and eventually IPO to riches. One of these ill-fated companies was and their Sock Puppet. After blowing through about $300M of capital, went under in November of 2000, just under two years after it started. As part of the fire sale, BarNone, an online marketer specializing in auto finance and auto sales leads for less than stellar credit, became the new home of the sock puppet and coined the phrase "Everybody deserves a second chance!" as their slogan. For a time BarNone was doing quite well and then took a big hit (who didn't take a hit?) when the current recession hit full force in 2008-2009.

Fast forward to today, we are announcing that we have purchased the BarNone unit from First Advantage Corp. It's been an exhausting couple of months (I've taken a lot of flights to Baltimore and San Diego) but well worth it. We're getting a great brand in the auto dealer community plus a product that once the auto sector picks up again, will be poised for great success. Thanks to all the folks on the First Advantage team plus much thanks to the BarNone staff who continue to help us during the integration phase. We look forward to returning the Sock Puppet to its glory of yesteryear (minus the Super Bowl ads).

The dot com douche bags

Just read this story over at TechCrunch. Though the gist of it is technically more about file sharing and the music industry, it reminded me of the old days of 1999-2001 when all the dot-com douche bags (myself included) would cram into SOMA bars and think they were the kings/queens of the world. I distinctly remember a confrontation when one group of folks from Start Up A was monopolizing bar space and a group from Start Up B were trying to order drinks. As expected a little pushing and shoving match ensued with the requisite "Do you know where we work?" and "We're gonna buy this place!" was thrown around. Basically, young knuckle heads with too much money and too few failures in their young careers to know any better. A scant year or two later and most of them probably were unemployed. Another conversation I overheard was where a guy was talking about jumping to another start up only 3 months after joining his current one. His friend was saying "Do it man! That place is gonna take off! Take less money and get more equity. It's all about the equity man!" It was definitely a sign of the times.
As we have gone through one dot com implosion and are currently in the midst of a major recession, the number of young start ups has definitely diminished. Plus the fact that most start ups aren't getting monster investments and hiring just for the sake of hiring. The people who work at start ups today do it because they prefer to work in that environment versus trying to make a quick buck (believe me, there are far easier ways to make money than working at a web start up). This culling of the herd has definitely reduced the number of douche bags I see in the industry. But as the old adage goes, a douche bag never thinks he/she is a douche bag. Maybe someone is reading this and thinking, "This guy is such a douche bag." Wouldn't be my first time.

An evening at Santana Row

We were visiting friends yesterday in the South Bay for dinner and a movie. We ended up hanging out at Santana Row before the movie (specifically for Pink Berry). I'm actually quite amazed at how many people were there eating, drinking, shopping, etc. Guess the recession hasn't really hit Santana Row that much. I've noticed attendance at other mix-use malls like Emeryville's Bay Street has gone down compared to a few years ago.
I was thinking how much this place reminded me of a Vegas theme hotel, specifically the Venetian. Maybe it was the live music, the promenade, or the formulaic restaurant/bar/clubs. Actually, it was probably all the girls in skimpy dresses sloppily/drunkenly coming out of the bars.