I Remember Exodus

Note: This is a repost of a previous post I had on my older blog, I’m reposting it as it’s still relevant, and I’m migrating some of my older content to this blog.

Left: The “e” from the Exodus logo that formerly used to reside on the HQ building. It’s currently in my garage, and I look at it every time I park my car –because I want to remember

I started my career at Exodus Communications, and was there for three long years. If you know your internet history, Exodus was a flagship turned bloated startup that exploded, then died painfully into highway 101. (I didn’t do it, I swear!). We hosted pretty much everyone, massive data centers with great security, right on the backbone. If you were an internet company, it’s likely you were with Exodus at one time or another. We even bragged “we ARE the internet”.

I still half-jokingly apologize to friends that bought stock just out of guilt for a promise that never was. The Exodus (EXDS) Stock split FIVE times in just a little over 12 months…if I can recall corrently–then it went to pennies and we filed chapter 11 –Twice! 3 CEOs later, 10 rounds of layoffs, I was the final 33% (or was it 12%…I forget) and I left on to greener pastures. I wish someone would create a [Edit: I did create a] wikipedia history of Exodus, it’s worth remembering, and a good lesson.

F*cked Company (one of the original grass roots conversational aggregators) always had clever names for us at Exodus Communications.

“Exit Us” or “Mass Exodus” or “ExoDUHs” or “XX for-eyes-us”

I remember the people
I learned some powerful lessons at Exodus Communications, I saw a complete business cycle in 3 years, had countless reorgs, and figured out how to survive 10 rounds of layoffs. (The secret is “embrace change”, btw). Most importantly, I remember the people. I had a great manager, (John Perera) who became my mentor, even came to my wedding, and we have lunch whenever we can squeeze in the time. Waili was even my groomsmen, Can you believe that? A sales guy in my wedding party. (just kidding…us IT folks figured you hated us and that’s why we got shipped over to the otherside of the freeway)

I know many other Ex-Exodus Alumni read this blog, I think the greatest takeaway was the people that I met, there was a strong caliber of people, risk takers, movers–the enterprenurial spirit ran deep. I’ve noticed that almost everyone I keep in touch with has a day job AND a side business! (rock on!) We still keep in touch, and even had a BBQ a few years ago. I’m even having lunch with a few alumni today at Rivermark.

I remember the Ferrari we had parked outside of the front door at Exodus, which was used to motivate sales closes, eventually it was awarded to the top earner.

Yahoo and EMC now inhabits the Mission College Towers (left) I used to call home, I drive by there frequently on my way to work.

I remember the dot bomb parties. I went to many dot com launch parties in SF, San Jose, and Tahoe. I saw eStamps, Beenz, Pets.com, and a bunch of other silly companies spend thousands on parties for no particular reason –then reality set in, a business model is sorta-kinda needed.

I remember the sock puppets
, lime and purple logos, and a fleet of 3-Series BMWs on 101 in seemingly standstill traffic. I remember that having an Exodus badge got special treatment at luxury car dealers on the peninsula. I remember people doing silly things with big ice blocks and vodka, people dancing and bragging about ‘hittin the gold mine’, and C-level execs performing stunts to garner attention.

I’m sure if I watched carefully, I would have seen people jumping into pools to get attention/money/recognition. So although I was a dot bomber (many others fared way worse that me) I walked away with a lesson.

Now, today things are picking up again for web (called web 2.0). The new era of social software is coming around, and coming fast, really fast. But I’m with Loic, who questions if we’re headed back to the crazy bubble 1.0 again.

Let’s do it right this time, please remember.

Leave a comment, what was the dot bomb experience like for you during late 90s- early 2000s?