Monday, August 07, 2006

One of us! One of us!

I tend to avoid writing about work stuff on this blog (other than coffee, apparently), but this is pretty big so I thought I'd go ahead and share.

Rocket Mobile has been acquired by Buongiorno! (henceforth B!), an Italian telecom company. You can check out their website for more info if you're curious about them. They're a large company with a strong worldwide mobile presence, mainly concentrated in Europe but also active on five other continents.

So, how do I feel about this? I guess I'm about 70% pleased, 20% annoyed and 10% apprehensive. It basically breaks down like this.

Reasons why I'm pleased:
  • They're accelerating all our options, so I've acquired 3 years' worth of stock options in 1 year.
  • The acquisition price seems fair - $17 million now, and $10 million if we make our earnout.
  • They're leaving the company alone, at least for the short term. We're a wholly-owned subsidiary, Wayne will remain our CEO, we retain control over our budget.
  • Rumor has it there will be added incentives to hit our earnout.
  • New opportunities for new applications and other fun stuff to work on, tapping into their worldwide market.
  • They sound committed to keeping everyone happy in the Bay Area, and may even move their existing US subsidiary out here.
  • Corporate training in Milan? (Please oh please oh please...)

Reasons why I'm annoyed:
  • If I'd started work here just a month earlier, I would have gotten a lower strike price.
  • I wish I had more options. (Well, stock options. I probably have plenty of options.)

Reasons why I'm apprehensive:
  • In the long run, I'm guessing Rocket Mobile will lose some of its independence and charm as it integrated with B! Now, maybe everything will get better than before, but I can also see it becoming less fun (but probably not in the next year).

So, that's basically where it stands now. Again, on the whole, I'm very pleased with the outcome. My last startup busted, so just seeing this organization succeed has been a thrill.

Realistically, I doubt this will be the last time I join a startup. I would be thrilled to work with Wayne or Scott or any of the folks around here; next time, I would like to get in earlier and have a bigger stake in the outcome. And have it be as nice an environment, of course. The financial side is nice, but it's more important that I'm doing work that is interesting, fulfilling, challenging and varied. They've done a great job of building a team that is supportive and curious, which has been a great environment for me to work in, and I look forward to more experiences in similar settings. Long live Silicon Valley!


  1. HOw could working for an Italian company NOT be fun?

  2. Haha, good point! Operating strictly from ethnic stereotypes, Italian overlords are probably the best kind to have. Hopefully it'll be enough to balance out the general blandness of large corporations.

  3. Chris, I can honestly say, welcome to the wonderful world of a independant subsidiary. The perks are great, there is only one drawback.

    If you guys screw up, they tell you what to do from that point on.

    So as long as the hits keep coming, so do the paychecks! Good luck with work bro, I'll hopefully visit you sometime in beautiful Silicon Valley. :)


  4. Please do! I'll leave a light on for you.

    Yeah, we have a pretty darn good track record so far, so hopefully we won't screw up. Fingers crossed!