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Yet Another Story of Disillusion from Within the Corporate World

Omnipod, Inc. is a New York City-based provider of secure instant messaging and file-sharing solutions for corporations large and small. That, however, was not always the case…

In business since 1999, the company originally started with the intention of creating a product for personal use. What became known as “The P.O.D.” (short for Personal Online Desktop) was designed and administrated over a private network of servers, basically allowing people to share files and stream media instantly and free of charge. This was all occurring right before the end and dramatic death of the “E-Commerce” boom, so the fact that the product wasn’t bringing in any money was of little concern to then CEOs Gideon Stein and John Oppenheimer, the co-founders not only of Omnipod, but also of Monkeyrock, its main source of investment.

Eventually, as more and more people were brought in to the company (i.e. designers, ops, Q & A, interns, sales/marketers, etc.), it became evident that some money had to be brought in, pronto. Oppenheimer had the idea to use people’s spare memory (or some other type of computer jargon-y thing) for cancer research, much like the fine folks at SETI use our computers to analyze data packets in the search for extraterrestrial life. This was met with a groundswell of support. However, it failed to yield the customers that it originally promised to hook, and the investors (Stein’s father, grandfather, and golf buddies) demanded a major “re-organization”. Enter Ryan Alexander.

Alexander, whose baby faced features made people think he was a new intern, was actually hired to evaluate the Omnipod staff and determine who would stay and who would go. Major changes were underway. Alexander spend a good two months sitting in the middle of Omnipod’s 11th street office, observing and taking notes. Nobody suspected a thing.

Meanwhile, P.O.D. use was at its highest (Omnipod was free, and it was ideally making its money from advertisers… which is exactly what wasn’t happening). User surveys reported that, overall, the vast majority of people were using the P.O.D. primarily to stream porno like nobody’s business. The company that was hosting Omnipod’s servers was so overloaded that it completely did away with its bandwidth cap, allowing a temporary free-for-all of internet porno, illegal mp3s, pirated software, and the occasional movie trailer. Partnerships with Skittles, Ebay, and even Snoop Doggy Dogg (yes, read that again- it’s completely true) fell through as Omnipod’s reputation for porn grew, and combined with the pending reorganizations led by Alexander, the focus of the company began to shift from personal to professional use.

Unveiled on October 11th, 2001, Omnipod officially changed its product from the Personal Online Desktop to the Professional Online Desktop. John Oppenheimer and his ilk (i.e. young, open-minded, free thinkers) were given the boot in favor of, you guessed it, Ryan Alexander and a host of corporate cronies. A whole new layer of middle management was brought in, and all but one of the designers got fired (after all, what’s beauty and form got to do with the business world? Not a thing). The P.O.D. now serves as a “secure instant messaging and file sharing solution” (read: legal spyware for corporate employers).

update as of 10-31

So guess what ended up happening? Today, a friday, Ryan Alexander came to me and asked if we could talk for a minute. He took me into the conference room and told me that he and Gideon had decided that "our business relationship wasn't working out", and that it was "terminated" as of today. No notice, no severence, not even an explaination as to why they fucking fired me.

The backstory to this is that, since getting hired, I have continually been asking them to give me a title, to officially hire me as opposed to continuing to give me whatever work they figured they could assign me. I told them that I was paying rent and living on my own, and if I was going to work for them I needed at least the security that I was going to be treated like all the other employees. Well, my fears were realized. I've been canned. Just like all the others who Ryan Alexander and Gideon Stein have fired. No good reason. That company is fucked, I guarantee that within the year they'll go bankrupt because of their bad karma.

This is just more evidence that the business world is disgustingly bleak and cold. I have been further disillusioned by corporate Amerikkka.

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