give jack saturn his old job back!
July 25, 2002 10:20 PM   Subscribe

give jack saturn his old job back! of course one could assault me for posting something found from the infamous j.ko that has to do with blogger - and lord knows there's enough of those threads already - but i found this to be too interesting to pass up. if you weren't already aware, pyra [blogger's parent company/alter ego] is looking for someone to handle customer support and jack saturn [who had the job before and hasn't had one since] is looking to get his job back. i don't know about anyone else, but i'd like to see the old team have the chance to come back....
posted by boogah (62 comments total)
I wonder whether this thread will metastasize or be deleted posthaste.
posted by donkeyschlong at 10:24 PM on July 25, 2002

Quick, someone say something pithy.
posted by mikhail at 10:29 PM on July 25, 2002

It's a brave man who will post his phone number on the web for everyone to see...
posted by crankydoodle at 10:33 PM on July 25, 2002

One of these days all this Pyra dirt is gonna come out and make an interesting book/movie/porn flick.
posted by owillis at 11:10 PM on July 25, 2002

Definitely porn flick. Or afterschool special.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:11 PM on July 25, 2002

That was actually maybe the funniest thing I have seen all week. Excluding all those pictures of the rockers posted earlier in the day.
posted by Andrea at 11:26 PM on July 25, 2002

a straight porn flick? save for meg, wasn't the company predominatly male?

gay porn, maybe... at least then they could be really catty about the uglier details.
posted by boogah at 11:31 PM on July 25, 2002

Something pithy.

posted by justgary at 11:32 PM on July 25, 2002

The pith helmet is the new tinfoil hat.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 11:36 PM on July 25, 2002

save for meg, wasn't the company predominatly male?

Meg sorta looked like a dude in those days too....

So who would we cast in the made for public access cable version of these events?
posted by artifex at 11:38 PM on July 25, 2002

David Arquette as Ev
Elizabeth Perkins as Meg
Ben Stiller as Matt
Vin Diesel as pb
Ashton Kutcher as Jack
posted by mikhail at 11:44 PM on July 25, 2002

Afterschool porn flick. With everyone wearing only pith helmets. "Burning Pyramaniacs"
posted by pracowity at 11:47 PM on July 25, 2002

ooh wait... instead of Elizabeth Perkins, maybe Gwyneth Paltrow or Cameron Diaz.
posted by mikhail at 11:48 PM on July 25, 2002

The Verizon Wireless guy as a composite of Matt *and* Ev.
Ellen De Generes as Meg.
The kid who played Dennis Quaid's young son in Frequency as Jack.

I don't know who PB is. Peanut Butter?
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:51 PM on July 25, 2002

Oh, and either Whit Stillman or Mike Judge to direct.
posted by donkeyschlong at 11:53 PM on July 25, 2002

I can't wait. This film is guaranteed to be action-packed.
posted by jjg at 11:56 PM on July 25, 2002

pb is Paul Bausch
posted by mikhail at 11:57 PM on July 25, 2002

Also, just in case you didn't pick up on the little clue at the bottom the page, view the source code for some clarification on the whole Pyra-porno-after-school-special-soap-opera thing.
posted by jia at 12:06 AM on July 26, 2002

That source code stuff reads like a Loser Manifesto. Too cool for school. Money is lame. Yeah, whatever.
posted by donkeyschlong at 12:28 AM on July 26, 2002

So much for the relative anonymity that having a Web pseudonym provides.
posted by pb at 1:11 AM on July 26, 2002

Yes, but then there's the Vin Diesel thing. Aren't you excited?
posted by mikhail at 2:16 AM on July 26, 2002

Of course it would be a porn flick. Most everybody got screwed, right?
posted by dhartung at 2:17 AM on July 26, 2002

I dunno, I just think 'Jack Saturn' is about the coolest name going. I imagine myself saying in a Space Ghost kind of voice 'Hi! I'm Jack Saturn'.

Better'n Tad Ghostal, that's for sure.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:18 AM on July 26, 2002

Jack Saturn isn't his real name anyway, from what I've heard. At least, he wasn't born with it.
posted by artifex at 2:28 AM on July 26, 2002

I think the coolest net-use real name I ever saw was Dave Riller, who of course had "driller" as his login.
posted by NortonDC at 4:54 AM on July 26, 2002

Time to move on, blogger kids.
posted by xiffix at 4:55 AM on July 26, 2002

"16. oh, and yes, i would actually like to speak to media outlets about my pyra experience, if anyone is interested in airing a different angle." -- J. Saturn.

I don't think Jack's going to be getting that job any time soon.
posted by RJ Reynolds at 5:40 AM on July 26, 2002

A perfect example of the old saying, "If I had had more time, I would've written a shorter letter." I wouldn't hire anyone who expected me to read something of that length!
posted by yarf at 6:02 AM on July 26, 2002

Ellen De Generes as Meg.

Back in Dec 2000/Jan 2001, I had this idea that we could use Blogger to foster discussion among and vastly improve the communication between librarians in the (large) system I worked in at the time (i.e. have a series of community blogs, a la MeFi, where we could discuss certain topics, make announcements, etc). While giving a presentation to the "library brass" about the idea, I showed them Megnut as an example of a personal blog, as none of them had any clue what the hell a blog was. (Megnut looked like this at the time.) As soon as the page came up, someone in the back said, loudly, "Why is there a picture of Ellen DeGeneres on the top?"

My presentation was derailed, as they all started talking about MegEllen rather than Blogger. Eventually, they all pretty much liked the idea, but nobody "got" it enough to give me much support in following through. (And, of course, Pyra imploded, etc.)

Just felt like sharing.
posted by arco at 6:17 AM on July 26, 2002

psst. check the source code of the letter for more info on Mr. Saturn....gotta good laugh out of that one too.
posted by mkelley at 6:29 AM on July 26, 2002

That source code stuff reads like a Loser Manifesto. Too cool for school. Money is lame. Yeah, whatever.

I think, though, that there is a kernel of truth in what Jack said. If you can do what you want and live how you want without a lot of money, what's the point in doing things you don't like to do just to accumulate more than you really need? With money, as with all things, there is a point of diminishing returns.

That being said, Fortune magazine is not complete crap.
posted by monju_bosatsu at 6:33 AM on July 26, 2002

I am Jack's inflamed sense of rejection...
posted by Danelope at 6:44 AM on July 26, 2002

ha ha ha. i get it. jack is bitter and arrogant.
posted by Marquis at 6:52 AM on July 26, 2002

ha ha ha. i get it. jack is bitter and arrogant.

Probably more bitter than arrogant, though not getting paid will do that to a guy.
posted by justgary at 7:31 AM on July 26, 2002

Ha ha justgary, you also missed the ability at the top of that whois screen to get another domain

"Click here to check availability for BLOGGERSUCKS.US"
posted by mkelley at 7:37 AM on July 26, 2002

... and Jason Kottke as himself

"I dunno, I just think 'Jack Saturn' is about the coolest name going"

joe nova.
jack saturn is good but something about
joe nova
posted by clavdivs at 7:59 AM on July 26, 2002

It is not my style to comment on other people's business, so I will just say that i am amused by the idea of a pyra-porno. Now the trick is to match up porno stars to the people. If only Matt wore a mustache, we could get Ron Jeremy to play him.
posted by thirteen at 8:05 AM on July 26, 2002

It seems I missed a bevy of posts somehow. You people are way ahead of me.
posted by thirteen at 8:07 AM on July 26, 2002

The Verizon Wireless guy as a composite of Matt *and* Ev.

Ah-ha! So it's not just me who thinks Matt's been moonlighting doing those ads!
posted by briank at 8:14 AM on July 26, 2002

posted by sixfoot6 at 12:50 PM on July 26, 2002

I always wondered why you didn't hear as much about this guy. I guess tech support is always at the bottom of the pecking order.
posted by timeistight at 1:15 PM on July 26, 2002

my mailman in annapolis looked exactly like matt haughey. every day i saw him, i wanted to give him a big hug, but mailmen scare me, even if they are matt haughey doubles.
posted by pikachulolita at 2:03 PM on July 26, 2002

why the long face, sixfoot6?
posted by donkeyschlong at 2:21 PM on July 26, 2002

for those of you who haven't picked up on it yet or didn't read the source code to the page, the letter was (at least partially) an attempt at humor. jason kottke's link to the letter kind of gave the wrong impression, but he was going along with my angl e by keeping a straight face about things, so i expected some people to get the wrong impression. i don't want my old job back and that was never the intention. at the same time, i should add that money is not a motivator in my decision to post that art icle; if i don't ever get paid, i don't care -- but at the same time i don't feel like being quiet about the breach of ethics on the part of my old boss.

oh, and donkeyschlong, sixfoot6 has the long face because he can probably relate to my "loser manifesto."
posted by jacksaturn at 5:36 PM on July 26, 2002

Has "Jack Saturn" ever posted here not to talk about himself?
posted by artifex at 5:43 PM on July 26, 2002

Heh heh heh.
posted by pracowity at 10:51 PM on July 26, 2002

and i guess, more importantly, does it matter?

(regarding the quotation marks: do you need to see my ID or something? jack saturn is my name. is "artifex" yours? i didn't think so.)a
posted by jacksaturn at 12:35 AM on July 27, 2002

Whew. Okay, I missed the humor in the letter, and I thought some major bad blood was welling up amongst the old guard. Jack, use some winky emoticons next time you apply for a job, ok? ;D
posted by brownpau at 5:30 AM on July 27, 2002

brownpau, there is bad blood. that part was true.
posted by jacksaturn at 11:25 AM on July 27, 2002

I think it's interesting that Jack, who was brought in as a helper monkey during Blogger's ramp-up, and therefore contributed little-to-nothing to the actual development of the product, continues to insinuate himself into the drama more forcefully than any of the core participants. If a poser falls in the forest....
posted by donkeyschlong at 5:06 PM on July 27, 2002

wait, someone got screwed during the crash? stop the fucking presses!
posted by Hackworth at 2:29 PM on July 28, 2002

Jack, just so I don't get your attempts at humor confused with your main gripe, could you define what exactly "the breach of ethics on the part of my old boss" is?

Is it that the company has not paid you the money it owes you, despite -- as I told you last time you self-righteously demanded it instead of inquiring as to what the situation was -- that we don't and have never had enough to pay you (unless we were to do so without at the same time paying the other two guys, which doesn't seem fair)?

I have never denied the company owes you this money. Paying you has been in every financial projection I've done since you left. You seem to have the impression that we're loaded now. I've gotten that a lot since the Fortune thing -- "does that mean you have a fortune?" Unfortunately, it doesn't. We're surviving month to month, slowly getting back on our feat from, as you know, near death. Yes, there are other people working for Pyra now, some of whom are getting paid. If they weren't here, Pyra would be making no money at all, and there still wouldn't be any to pay you.

I'm sorry it's taken so long. I truly am. We're getting closer, and I promise to make paying you an even bigger priority (even though you don't care). I didn't previously communicate my plans to do this, because I knew none of you expected to get paid when you left, and I much preferred the idea of paying you all and making it a nice surprise one day, rather than keep saying, "yeah, real soon now," and then not being able to. But in retrospect, maybe that just raised suspicions.

[An aside for the spectators: In his letter, Jack writes, "it was odd, people were talking about 'burn rate' one day (as if money wasn't really a physical object in one form) and the next day everyone was wracked with stress, wondering how we'd pay our rent." I suppose this is an attempt to make it sound like the payroll we missed in mid-December 2000 was a big surprise. I don't think it was. Not only had we been talking for months and having discussions with the whole team about what we were going to do, since we weren't making any progress raising the money we had planned to (which, for those who read the news during that time, wasn't terribly shocking either), I sent a written warning to all employees on October 19, telling everyone that the money in the bank was almost gone, and if they stayed past November, it was at their own risk. After the one missed payroll in December, everyone (except Meg and I) was paid the next three pay days.]

Or was the breach of ethics my not willing to give up, even though everyone else thought it was hopeless? You wrote that by staying on, I "was totally neglecting the fact that he had already laid off or let go all the colleagues who had helped him to build that very website." I'm sorry, I don't quite get that.

First, what kind of immature, arrogant logic says that if not everyone can be a part of a company, no one should -- including those who started it? (If it were me, I honestly think I'd be much happier to see something I was a part of live on, even if I weren't involved.)

Secondly, where did this "forced out" idea come from ("everyone else on the team were laid off and/or forced to quit or leave the company at the same time")? Despite what you may have heard, Meg left voluntarily. Oh wait, you were in the meeting when she told you all she was leaving voluntarily, so it's not despite what you may have heard. Yes, she gave me an ultimatum that unless she got to be CEO, she would leave. I didn't quite see the logic in this, since, while I knew I had made mistakes (tell me a company founder who hasn't), I didn't see any evidence that she could do a better job -- especially considering that we jointly made virtually every major decision while she was there (except launching Blogger -- my bad).

The other two guys (whom, I'd like to acknowledge, were more involved, but have been much cooler towards me about all this) were asked to stick around, money permitting, but decided not to. I was very disappointed by this. (The sixth you refer to was gone before any of this came up.)

I couldn't leave as long as I saw a glimmer of hope (which, admittedly, being an eternal, hallucinatory optimist is almost always), because of the obligation I felt to our investors, users, and other people who supported us (and, yes, to myself). If that makes me a bad guy in your eyes, I guess we're just going to have to agree to disagree about that (and by that I mean: grow the fuck up).

[An aside for the spectators: The ironic thing is, if I would have quit, I would have screwed everybody ever involved with Pyra, and no one would be mad at me. What's even funnier is that I often rued the decision not to walk out and let Meg take over. During 2001, my job totally sucked. I now had this huge burden all to myself, a financial hole to dig out of, was getting paid dick, and had no time to develop new stuff -- which was my whole purpose in the first place. Oops, I guess this the martyr thing Jack was talking about that I gave him a year ago, when he presumed to know the financial situation of the company and that there "was never any intention to pay [his debt] in the first place." Anyway, as I saw it at the time, Meg got to move on, while her co-creation lived on (if it was to live -- very doubtful at the time. If not, she at least had a head start.) What's more, she still owned (and continued to vest) a huge chunk of the company, and if it was ever worth anything, she would (and still will) benefit almost as much as me. I still couldn't bring myself to give up, but being attacked on top of all that sure made me consider it.]

Oh wait, perhaps the "old boss" you're referring to is someone else? The one whom, two months ago, Pyra paid a sum of cash multiple times what it owes you, in order to end a year-long legal dispute that was the number one drain on this struggling company of cash (many, many times what we owe you was paid in legal fees), as well as time and energy (which could have went to producing a better service and becoming more sustainable) since you guys left -- despite this person having far more to gain than almost anyone should the company succeed? A legal dispute, by the way, based on claims which, unlike yours, we believe were not legitimate -- but, which, nonetheless, we had to settle because the company simply couldn't afford the cost of fighting it. If you care about the money (and I know you don't), you might wonder how long ago we could have paid you if not for that nightmare.

For some reason, I have a feeling that's probably not the breach of ethics you're talking about, though.

If I've missed one, fill me in.
posted by evhead at 12:21 AM on July 29, 2002 [4 favorites]

Mr. Saturn replies.
posted by Mid at 6:22 AM on July 29, 2002

I wonder if Mr. Saturn would be so upset if he didn't think the company would "making the big bucks" some time down the road. If he thought Ev was really on a fool's errand, would it all matter? It's funny how money changes situations...miscommunication leads to complication.
posted by cell divide at 9:49 AM on July 29, 2002

I think it's pretty pathetic that Jack had to "explain" his "performance art." Poser to the core.
posted by donkeyschlong at 3:33 PM on July 29, 2002

From Jack Saturn's response: "obviously it was not the feelings of his fellow employees that mattered most to ev, it was the feelings of the people who could potentially give him money: ev writes in his metafilter response, 'I couldn't leave as long as I saw a glimmer of hope because of the obligation I felt to our investors, users, and other people who supported us,' as i ask that the reader note the order in which those are listed."

Well, duh. Pyra wasn't an agrarian work collective run by some hippies in upstate New York; it was a for-profit company financed by at least $500,000 (and probably a lot more) from several big-name investors such as Condé Nast and O'Reilly. Nobody gets to be CEO of anything without caring more about the investors than anyone else. If the investors suspect the boss thinks more about populist principles than crass capitalism, they come up to the workplace with some lawyers, kick the CEO out, and change the locks.
posted by rcade at 4:43 PM on July 29, 2002

Ok, so what seems to be his major beef here is that he had an emotional attachment to pyra and he feels that Ev running the company alone without everyone else violates that emotional attachment?

Hmm. This seems like something that anyone involved with working at a small company might feel, I'll admit that, but this hardly seems like something that merits so much (public)grief. What did he really want, for pyra/blogger to die and for no one to benefit from it ever (even the users), so it can forever be held precious in their minds? And why do we all have to share in Jack's heartbreaking realization that the world is unfair? Did he just figure this out? Does this mean that he might one day learn how to deal with the atrocities of everyday life in order to find just whatever it is he's looking for?

Jesus, someone really should write a book about this. Or at least a made for TV movie.
posted by Hackworth at 6:46 PM on July 29, 2002

Basically he's whining because Pyra didn't turn into the alterna-teen pearl jam fuck-the-man cool-fest that his DOA worldview dictates it should have become. See, it would have been more painfully pure if the company had just croaked and left users in the lurch. It would have hurt so good! What a selfish brat.

Also, why does he let Megnut off scott-free for (apparently) dragging Ev into court? That must have sucked some cash, I'd imagine.
posted by artifex at 7:06 PM on July 29, 2002


You do some work for someone and agree on a fee of $100.

The client comes back and says they can't afford to pay it at the moment because business is bad. You forget about it, it's only $100, right?

Two years later, the client is seen splashing out on oyster dinners, and buying bottles of vintage champagne. The $100 is still owed.

Is the client unethical? Yes.

That said, this analogy does not really apply so directly to this case, as there seem to be a lot of 'hidden variables'.. and Evan has a point in that if he paid Jack, he'd have to pay a lot of other people.

However, the fact remains that unless a company goes bankrupt or files for Chapter 11, any debts it owed at time X are still owed at time Y.
posted by wackybrit at 7:16 PM on July 29, 2002

Clarification.. from a legal standpoint, it all depends on how "we agree to work with no pay" was actually said and agreed upon. Luckily it appears it won't get to that.
posted by wackybrit at 7:18 PM on July 29, 2002

As someone not even remotely involved, the one thing I've always noticed when Pyra/Blogger intrigue comes up is that Evan always sounds as though he did it all alone from the beginning, not just since the money ran out. Maybe that's not how he means it to sound, but that's how he comes across to me. Even in his rebuttal above he says
"Yes, she gave me an ultimatum that unless she got to be CEO, she would leave. I didn't quite see the logic in this, since, while I knew I had made mistakes (tell me a company founder who hasn't), I didn't see any evidence that she could do a better job -- especially considering that we jointly made virtually every major decision while she was there (except launching Blogger -- my bad)."

I was always under the impression that he and Meg co-founded the Pyra, but it's obvious from his own statement that it must have been a 60/40 sort of thing, where his decision was the final decision. If it was truly an issue of keeping the dream alive for the investors, then why is it that Evan made the decision to stay on as CEO instead of letting the investors make that decision?*

* Pure curiosity without malicious intent and with full knowledge that it is NOMFB
posted by nramsey at 5:02 PM on July 30, 2002

Important lessons to be learned here:

1. Never start a business with your boyfriend/girlfriend

2. Never trust a business to care for your emotional needs.

So who sued the company? I am assuming it was one of the major players.

What a bummer--a core group of cool web people all disintegrated. Not the first time, of course.
posted by mecran01 at 6:36 AM on July 31, 2002

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