Alice in wwwLand. Episode 1.0
(This is a work of fiction. All information is a creation of the author's imagination. All persons, alive or dead, or events portrayed or depicted in this story are fictional and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely coincidental.)
Once upon a time, there was a well-respected media director named Alice who built knowledge and strong relationships during her career with associaties and clients on Madison Avenue. One day she received a call from a recruiter who told her that a fast growing interactive-based new media company wanted her to consider joining them to establish a new division she would run, as part of a larger plan to build the best new media communications business ever created on global basis. This was something Alice had never considered. Intrigued, she did her homework, met with Susan Montgomery-Wrestler, the CEO and after taking some precautions and consideration, Alice decided to accept the offer, to join the AAAAA-inc firm as Chief Media Officer. This is her story.
Alice was only at AAAAA-inc 32 days when Susan Montgomery-Wrestler informed her that - the plans and promises Susan had made Alice to lure her away from Alice's previous company - were being scrapped. Born into an upper-crust New Orleans-based southern family, Sue-Mo Wrestler (nick-name from childhood) told Alice that instead, Alice would be given a new task, to lead the integration of AAAAA-inc's just-announced acquisition of iiiiiiii-inc. Dazed and confused were Alice’s initial reactions After it sunk it, she became curious about why didn’t see this coming and then even more curious about who iiiiiiii-inc. was.
Now Sue-Mo suddenly had even more news for Alice, a new role for her to manage the integration of both companies in order to help establish positive relations between AAAAA-inc and iiiiiiii-inc. Sue-Mo made a case that this was needed so that they would coordinate effectively over time now that they were coming together. Negotiations between both companies had been drawn out and particularly arduous, so Sue-Mo was very emphatic that Alice's new responsibilities were even more vital to the success of what was already, the largest web-development company in the world.
Alice had been brought in with great fanfare. Sue-Mo told Alice that she was the sixth most important position in the global organization. Combining technology with media had to date never been well accomplished as of 1999. Sue-Mo re-assured Alice that she had been hand-picked by her and that her decision had been based on Sue-Mo’s estimation that Alice was the kind of person who could rise even higher to the occasion, based on Alice's reputation for her reputation for networking. Alice was told that now, more than ever before (all 32 days worth) her importance within the organization was critical to AAAAA-inc's and iiiiiiii-inc’s future.
Sue-Mo apologized for the fact that all of Alice's expectations, plans and promises would now be null and void. Alice felt bad. She had just recruited several friends, senior-level media talent, all of whom had given notice, resigning from their well-established positions at different companies to join Alice at AAAAA-inc; based on her assurances coming from Sue-Mo herself that Alice and new team would be given cart blanche; the opportunity to build a media department from scratch. It was uncomfortable to Alice when she thought that these promises were scrapped so quickly vs. 6 weeks earlier.
To soften the blow, Sue-Mo informed Alice that she would instruct the CFO to award Alice and her new incoming team significantly more AAAAA-inc stock than was originally promised as a way to make up for the change in plans.
Known for her outstanding new business acumen, Sue-Mo did make a convincing case that Alice's new job would be even more fun than Alice's original responsibilities. Yet, Alice also knew that events had occurred so quickly that she wasn’t sure if Sue-Mo’s new promises were real, or whether she herself simply wanted to believe them.
The fact was, Sue-Mo was putting more on the table. Alice couldn't ignore the fact that additional stock would definitely offset the sting to her friends, about to join her. The upcoming AAAAA-inc IPO had a large buzz on Silicon Alley and in VC land. Inside AAAAA-inc, people were already setting up family trust funds and looking at new summer homes in the Hamptons, as the anticipated value of the company in October, 1999 was literally, sky-high.
Alice still felt let down inside. Her throat and stomach were dry, tied in knots, first, from dealing with a strong sense of betrayal. She was still sick to her stomach. Second, everything that Alice had been planning for the last 2 months upon resigning from her “old” company would be null and void. Third, from fact that her word was on the line with his talented friends who she had wooed to follow her to AAAAA-inc.
She was torn. She kept telling herself that Sue-Mo's offer to compensate her and her (soon to be joining) friends seemed a somewhat reasonable compensation for the abrupt change in plans. After all, this was the “wild west net”. Alice left her own job in traditional media to capitalize on the lucrative stock options being awarded 25 year olds, who at such a young age, were already set for life. With 20 years in the traditional media business, Alice had not been as fortunate. She had worked her way up the corporate ladder the hard way, earning one's trust day by day with her supervisors and clients, which were the top brands in the business. Alice had to be ready for anything with new media, even a shoot-out at OK corral. Notwithstanding all this, boiling in the back of her mind, amid everything else, was a key unanswered question. Who were these iiiiiiii-inc guys and how would they feel about Alice being assigned to coordinate their coming aboard? Alice would soon find out.
To be continued...