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[TRENCHES] Tuesday, September 2, 2014 - Acquisition

GethGeth LegionPerseus VeilRegistered User, Moderator, Penny Arcade Staff, Vanilla Staff vanilla
edited September 2014 in The Penny Arcade Hub


I Built That, You’re Going To Jail


Back in early 2007 I was hired at a start-up in the Pacific Northwest. One of the big reasons I got hired was my gaming background, although the company had built a CRM product; it was just moving to a new “Game Design” influenced interface.  I was to be the first in the new Analytics Department. The company had a wonderful culture; everyone was involved, the product was something we were actually proud of, the 100-odd people there became like an extended family. I even got to make up my own job title after 6 months.

After a year I was working directly for the CEO and CFO, building all of the projection models for a start-up company that was nearing profitability. In less than 12 months, assuming nothing happened, we would be in the black. Big companies were looking at purchasing us. It came to pass that my financial projections model needed to published, so I cleaned it up and made it “Presentation Ready” for the CEO. A few minor tweaks later and he told me it was the most important thing I’d done yet.

One of those “minor” changes was an adjustment to our starting revenue flow. At the time I didn’t question it, assuming there was revenue I had missed somewhere. When I mentioned this to my brother over lunch (he worked in the area) he too thought it weird, but not alarming.

Seven days later, the CEO didn’t come in to the office. Neither did the CFO. Instead, a member of the Board came in around 11:30 to inform everyone that both of them had “…resigned effective immediately.” At lunch, a reporter called one of our staff to ask if they had a comment on the arrest of our CEO and CFO by the FBI for wire fraud for lying to investors. Three days later none of us had jobs and the company had declared bankruptcy.

During the court proceedings the model I had created was used as evidence of lying to investors about revenue flow. That “minor” change I’d made at the CEO’s instruction? Apparently he’d been doing things like that for years to get more investor money. The model I’d built was too easy to read though and gave the investors the first clue something wasn’t right.

I’ve never felt such conflicting emotions of pride and horror in doing a good job.

Geth on


  • The SamuwriterThe Samuwriter Registered User new member
    I love the bit about "office in-jokes." Oh, and there's a typo in panel 3: "But EAAA didn't get were it is today..." Should read "where."

  • TryCatcherTryCatcher Registered User regular
    Heh. You can almost read the "Christ, I could have gone to jail!" line.

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    TryCatcher wrote: »
    Heh. You can almost read the "Christ, I could have gone to jail!" line.
    Oddly enough one of the few advantages of the crushing modern corporate culture is that, when shit like this happens, your boss has already sent emails to everyone taking credit for your work, and maybe taking sole credit, so when the investigators ask you about it, well here is the email from the CFO talking about how it was all him/her.

    Protip: keep a copy of all of your emails off server.

  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    This is my favorite Tale.

    I love the last panel of Marley huddled over the barrel.

  • hightechartisthightechartist Registered User regular
    "EAAA Games", eh? Any theories on what company this might be a parody of?

    Is it Activision? I bet it's Activision.

  • streeverstreever Registered User regular
    Nah dude obviously Atari.

    And thus began the great e-feud between hightechartist/streever :D

  • zepherinzepherin Russian warship, go fuck yourself Registered User regular
    Take 2 interactive here they come.

  • spool32spool32 Contrary Library Registered User regular
    Good grief that typo

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