“Do you want to be acquired?” As dot com entrepreneurs, my wife, Shannon, and I couldn’t believe the email. Then plane tickets arrived by FedEx and the next day, we’d agreed to sell our company, with the expectation that the parent company would go public within the year. All we had to do was continue promoting the company and start generating huge amounts of content. We hired staff writers and freelance writers and were on our way.
Then the Internet bubble burst. The parent company called off the IPO and laid off everyone except the CEO and the attorney who had managed our acquisition. Many thousands of dollars of open invoices were on the table from our writers who had contributed content as contracted and in good faith. We were advised the writers would not be paid.
We paid them out of our own pockets. Every cent. We weren’t happy about the situation but we knew it was the right thing to do and today, that’s one expense I still feel good about. It was an investment in our souls that continues to pay returns every time we look in the mirror. Since at least one of our writers now writes for the Wall Street Journal, I also feel much better about calling its reporters to place stories.
Thanks to Shane Johnson for the image.