Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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More Rick Umali web sites at:

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The World
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Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Saturday, September 29, 2001
I just finished reading The Executioner's Song, the story of Gary Gilmore.

I'll have more to say about this later, but I must announce it was the longest book I've read in quite some time (it's 1054 pages), and it was exhausting!

Today I received the shareholders document describing the merger between divine and Open Market. By October 19, if everything is done right, my old company will be 'something else'.

When I worked at Open Market, I had these crazy dreams that it would grow to be an Oracle, or an SAP. I was at Open Market when it went public, and it is still the headiest day I've ever experienced as a 'working person'. In the span of day, I had a six-figure net worth. Many that day became millionaires. The sky was the limit, I thought deliriously.

But as the years wore on from that bright day, I started hoping we could be a division of an IBM, or some other such company.

As it is, the rise, and peak, and subsequent descent of Open Market would be mirrored across the nation as Internet companies shot for the moon, then crashed on the return trip. Po Bronson, a savvy author who exemplified those ecstatic times wrote an apology to all his readers who followed him into the boom, only to go bust.

One of the things on my mantle at home is a glass cube containing a miniature copy of the Open Market initial public offering document. You could almost read the text on the fanned out pages, and I often wondered what would happen if I broke open the glass.

From the safety of my new job, I can look back on Open Market with a little more composure. I learned a lot there. And my stock options, whose value varied dramatically, allowed Jenn and I to get into a good house, get a nice car, pay down our credit cards. It was a good trip. I wish we didn't have to land.

Wednesday, September 26, 2001
Since the tragedy, I've been in a funk entertainment-wise. Strangely, I've been drawn to stories about the cataloging of body parts. I've been listening to Howard Stern. I haven't watched a single DVD.

I spend the evenings reading e-mail, and plowing through Executioner's Song. I'm now towards the end of this book, and it is taking on the somber details of how a single man gets executed. And I have Dead Man Walking on my NetFlix DVD rental queue. Morbid.

I'm slowly getting out of the funk, though. I did tune into The Ellen Show. I am anxiously awaiting the start of the NHL season.

Tuesday, September 25, 2001
I picked up Executioner's Song again. I'm closing in on the finish of this 1000+ page book.

Sunday, September 23, 2001
This past weekend, I ran into Pete Winston, the president of ICS, the company I worked for immediately after college.

Pete interviewed me all those many years ago, when I was a young buck finishing up college. I spent a wonderful four years at ICS, watching the company grow from 40 to 100 people. The first week I was there, we moved from tight attic-space to a spacious floor in a brand new building near the heart of MIT. There was a feeling of opportunity and excitement that prevailed those first few months I was there.

At ICS, I was given every opportunity to flourish and grow. I worked on C and UNIX programs (eventually shipping code that facilitated software installation from a CD-ROM). I worked on technical training (hitting San Jose and Dallas seemingly every month for almost a year). I learned about technical sales, and technical marketing. I knew everyone at the company, and for a while, it was my social structure. I met a lot of good people there. It was the perfect place for a new graduate.

Pete and I chatted about a few people, and traded views on the hi-tech economy. We caught up with where things were. It's amazing how quickly you can 'catch up'.

As I write this, I'm now remembering the one thing I wanted to say after we parted: Thanks for taking a chance and hiring me all those years ago!