marchFIRST implodes.
April 13, 2001 10:18 AM   Subscribe

marchFIRST implodes. We've known it's been coming for a long time, but only yesterday did they finally do the chapter 11 thing. Just one of the bigger victims of the dot-com fallout, or the inevitable result of two companies (Whittman-Hart, USWeb/CKS) that shouldn't have even considered merging in the first place?
posted by mrbula (15 comments total)
And partially bought out by local (Chicago) odd-ball VC wunderkind, Flip Flipkowski, whose own companies give new meaning to the word 'struggle'.

Recently laid off myself, I'm settling in and waiting for all the implosions to simply stop and for business to get a grip on what it wants to do on the web, so that I can get back to doing work I am proud of.

For whatever reason, too many CEOs thought the web was a great big game with easily beatable odds. Customers and employees were tossed about and bruised. Maybe we're getting what we deserved for trying - I don't know.

Anyway: do check out The May Report, for dirt on MarchFirst as it goes under.
posted by gsh at 11:08 AM on April 13, 2001

As a former employee of USWeb who left just as this merger was announced, I can say that "two companies (Whittman-Hart, USWeb/CKS) that shouldn't have even considered merging in the first place?" was the first thought we all had.
posted by trox at 12:33 PM on April 13, 2001
posted by judith at 1:17 PM on April 13, 2001

But they had a great name, and a cool lobby on 17th St.! Could someone explain what this company did? I read stuff about them but couldn't figure it out.
posted by ParisParamus at 1:46 PM on April 13, 2001

What really gets me is that, as I am looking over job listings at various sites, I see openings at marchFIRST! Active! I can apply!

Also: check out the "pop up quote" on the linked page. It shows the stock as being at $10,127 a share.

Remember the days when Mayor Daley helped fuel Divine's vision of turning Goose Island into a Silicon Valley of sorts? It seems so long ago now.
posted by hijinx at 2:13 PM on April 13, 2001

Gotta love Flip Flipkowski and Divine Interventures. Every one of their companies are floundering - including my former design firm (which has been hacked apart; hence my current unemployed status).

As I can't claim to have any knowledge of business, can anyone speculate as to why a company that's hemorrhaging money and has laid off hundreds of people would invest in a failed design firm that's become the "Ishtar" of internet startups?

Looking at the way things are going, I feel rather fortunate to be among those who got laid off.
posted by aladfar at 2:20 PM on April 13, 2001

$10,127... Maybe that's the combined value of all the shares?

If you have an evil sense of humor, check out the stock graph.
posted by mrbula at 2:28 PM on April 13, 2001

Count me among those who could never understand what those two companies were doing merging in the first place. Whitman-Hart had done some work for us at MegaGlobalDomination Corp. in the past and we'd been pretty happy with them; we stopped contracting them when this happened, simply because we couldn't get anybody to explain to us exactly what this "marchFirst" was going to be and why we should continue doing business with them... I have picked up a couple of pretty good employees from this debacle though.
posted by m.polo at 2:33 PM on April 13, 2001

What really gets me is that, as I am looking over job listings at various sites, I see openings at marchFIRST! Active! I can apply!

Although marchFirst just went Ch. 11, it makes me wonder how many companies are advertising positions which don't exist because advertising jobs provides the appearence of being a healthy company--that would be an interesting investigation to conduct...
posted by ParisParamus at 3:46 PM on April 13, 2001

(sigh) This is really getting so...routine...this whole business of hearing announcements of companies that start with a bang and then just whimper away. Very sad. I, too, was puzzled as to what marchFirst was all about, but their commercials from several months (year?) ago sure got my attention. Love the spoof site!
posted by davidmsc at 4:27 PM on April 13, 2001

MarchFirst was an awful name for a company anyway. Half the year, it sounds like you're months out of date.
posted by kindall at 6:09 PM on April 13, 2001

The price popup thing shows their shares being at $0.00, and the 10,127 is listed right under the heading "Dow Jones," which is probably what it was at at the time shown on their quote. And what DID marchfirst do? Their commercials got my attention, but never really did inform me as to what I would be using marchfirst for.
posted by zempf at 7:51 PM on April 13, 2001

I always thought MarchFirst was some charitable organization that was working to change the world for tomorrow's children, or something. Only until their design/navigation/flash was paralleled with razorfish's, did I ever think they had anything to do with the Internet...or technology...or whatever. I think razorfish's design actually came second to marchfirst's, but still.
posted by Hankins at 8:05 PM on April 13, 2001

ahh, the demise of two good companies by an ill fated marriage (or is that just my own personal experience speaking?)
posted by trox at 9:48 PM on April 13, 2001

Well, if people really are asking, it was a half-assed merger of two companies. Whittman-Hart was a consultancy with a long history, supplying button-down corporate IT types to run your minicomputers or databases. They predated the ascendancy of Microsoft in the corporation and while I'm sure they were catching up in a big way, the ones I knew worked on Unix or IBM iron. And they mostly wore striped Oxford shirts with ties.

USWeb/CKS was, of course, a web consultancy cobbled together from a lot of local firms over the mid-90s. A completely different culture, a completely different set of clients and fortes.

The combination was intended to make them competitive with companies like Anderson Consulting (now Accenture), Computer Sciences Corporation, and Computer Associates, who pretty much own that segment. Didn't work out so well.

Incidentally, the old WH consulting practice is basically what Flip acquired. There are probably a lot of contracts that have steamed along unharried for years.
posted by dhartung at 10:21 PM on April 13, 2001

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