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Latest Update: September 11, 2000

Bluetorch's Publishing Unit Flames Out
Maybe the crew at Broadband Interactive Group just did a good job at pretending that they were in no real hurry to generate revenue, but everyone thought they would be the ones to capitalize on the long game. Their mix of TV, Internet, and print seemed like the right idea. And while few were impressed with either their print magazines or Internet site, everyone saw that they were making progress each month.

Aside from the TV show, however, all that flamed out on Monday, September 11, 2000 when about 64 people from Irvine's Number 5 Park Place were asked to pack up their stuff and leave the building by 2 PM or be escorted out by police.

"They didn't even give me a chance to call any freelance people and let them know they should quit working on projects," one employee said. "They shut down the network and wouldn't even let us get access to our computers to get our phone lists."

The mood on the 17th floor was somber as people carried cardboard boxes, and rolled dollies full of their personal effects out to the elevator and waited for the ride down. Conversations were quiet and friendly. "Well," said one employee. "It was fun. Keep in touch."

Visitors to the office were met with wayward glances. "The vultures have arrived," said one acquaintance. "What, did you come by to gloat?"

On the wall in the lobby was a whiteboard that had been used to welcome new employees. It said, "Broadband Interactive Group welcomes the new associate editor of Swerve." It also listed three or four others who had recently been hired.

The reason for the layoffs? BIG needs to shift its resources to the Bluetorch TV show because the head guys believe that TV will be the fastest way to profitability. Of course, the main men were former TV guys so it kind of makes sense. At least they learned that you really can't run a website like a TV network.

As for the future for Bluetorch? The company plans to focus on the TV show and use the webpage to support it. Currently they are looking to fill approximately 35 positions in the TV group which will be headquartered in their new building.

Employees who were laid off were given the opportunity to apply for jobs with the TV group, but some were feeling a little too bitter to consider it at the moment. They all have two months of full pay and six months of insurance so they do have some time to think things over.

One employee stopped to speak with the receptionist on his way out. "Lisa, I'm going to miss it," he said, his voice wavering. "But I'm not going to miss the commute."

By 2:15 the whiteboard in the lobby had been altered. Someone had erased the list of new hires and replaced it with some gallows humor, "Broadband Interactive Group says beat it kooks," it read. "And don't let the door hit you in the ass."

One question still hangs in everyone's minds: who is next.

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Previous Bags o' Crapola:
-September 9 , 2000
-August 29, 2000
-August 18 , 2000
-August 11 , 2000

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to Jim Romenesko's


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