No one can accuse us of not caring, of just sitting around and watching our stock go through the roof. We at e-conjob.com are deeply concerned about the rise of antistartupism — the most recent "ism" to plague our society and one of today's most pernicious forms of hate. That alone was what led us to host e-conjob.com's First Annual Hobby and Craft Faire. We weren't trying to ruin anyone's life. We were simply trying to bring down antistartupism. We wanted to forge closer ties between Dotcom-Americans and those who discriminate against us.
Antistartupism is no joke. Consider: Darth, cofounder of e-conjob.com, went into a local burger joint and tried to pay for his meal with a black American Express card. The folks behind the counter refused to accept it. Instead, they first made him do dishes and then made him help the owner figure out how to install Quicken. It was a clear case of discrimination.
Do people think, just because we are richer than the past four generations of Old Econ-Americans combined, that we Dotcom-Americans don't have any feelings? Has everyone forgotten why we went into computers in the first place? We were losers. Our eyes wept behind greasy glasses mended with duct tape; our hearts broke beneath well-worn pocket protectors.
The fact is, lots of people hate us because we've redefined what it means to have no life. They hate us because we don't know how to do anything that's personally gratifying but otherwise useless.
The e-conjob.com First Annual Hobby and Craft Faire was meant to address the hobby gap between Dotcom-Americans and people who have lots of time on their hands because they've been laid off. Okay, okay: The new economy has produced a lot of, um, redundant, um, old-economy, um, workers. Hey, people! Can't we all just get along?
In the same spirit in which Yahoo!, in a show of solidarity with the brick-and-mortar world, formed a marketing alliance with PepsiCo, we invited Dotcom-Americans to shut down their Web sites for a weekend, so that they could revel in two days of snow-cone eating, seminars on whittling small woodland creatures, and fun! fun! fun!
It was beautiful! Who knew that Steve Case had such a gift for ham-radio operation? And how about that Geraldine Laybourne: That lady crochets a mean afghan!
But we live in an economy of unanticipated consequences: Our success proved to be our undoing. Dotcom-Americans, unaccustomed to seeing the sun, or to using their hands for any purpose other than booting up, became unglued. One startup CEO, who wishes to remain nameless, split for a rock-collecting show in Quartzite, Arizona and has yet to be seen back at his incubator. The entire team at HotBot stayed home to make dollhouse furniture.
All of the reports aren't in yet, but there was a pretty definitive piece in the New York Times. Antistartupism hit a new high as the world united against us. Antistartupists couldn't get their junk email, read their online horoscopes, or hit their favorite porn sites. Women who rely on drugstore.com for their nail-polish remover were forced to live with chipped nails.
We were called "uppity" and "un-American." We were accused of trying to overthrow capitalism. We at e-conjob.com apologize not only for any inconvenience that we caused but also for this spike in antistartupism. But we're not really sorry. The look on Esther Dyson's face as she launched her first model rocket made it all worthwhile. That's something that we'll never forget.
This is the latest episode in The Spy's continuing saga, "Working Behind Enemy Lines." You can find the entire Spy chronicles on the Web (www.askthespy.com).
A version of this article appeared in the June 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.