“No! Doctors offices. Most of it won’t be laid out like a standard office building. Will have the traditional patient waiting rooms and therapy rooms most likely. Will know more in a few days. We can have a letter of intent pending inspections in a couple of weeks. Then you have to find someone to do all of that other stuff.”
“Can’t you . . .”
“No. Flat out no. I don’t even do it for the retail space we have. I just negotiate an allowance for build out. You said you had an architect though. They can either handle it or find someone to handle it. Whatever you do, don’t rush this. Now that I know you can make something like this work and you don’t have to be co-located with the data center I have a lot more freedom.”
“What square footage do you need for the server farm?”
“Most of them are around one million square feet. The one Microsoft is building in Des Moines will be over six million square feet.”
“Yikes. Like trying to hide an elephant in a bathtub” responded Mo.
“It doesn’t have to all be on one floor. Most places try to for cooling but I’ve heard some stack the racks in tall places like old warehouses. Power, cooling and air flow are the important things. Need quite a bit of spacing around the things for service personnel to work on them.”
“I’ll poke around for abandoned shopping malls”
“I tried searching for those, didn’t find a lot” interrupted Gina.
“Your search only found the ones creepy photo takers snuck into. There are quite a few small malls they wouldn’t find interesting which have went under over the years or are about to go under. Will already have lots of power, city water and be designed for air flow.”
“I even tried looking for factories”
“Yeah, everybody is doing that, but, you weren’t looking in the listing databases. Some companies are moving here, glomming onto Rust-Belt factories. Other people like you, want them to set up a data center because they already have industrial power wired to them. Owners have gotten wind and what once could be bought for pennies on the dollar now sell for $5-$20 on the dollar. Old shopping malls haven’t went that route yet.”
“Why not, if I may ask?” queried Gina.
“Greedy, stupid politicians and greedy stupid property owners. Sometimes the owners know the property is done but they want to sell it as prime retail space into a market which couldn’t care less about prime retail space. Office space tends to be cheaper than prime retail space. Then you have the politicians who created budgets based on all of that tax revenue not going away so they want the mall owner to bring in more stores to keep the gravy train rolling. After a decade or so the building is in such disrepair it has to be dozed. Still, it’s catching on. I’ve read about it. There is even an urban legend one company left all of the signage in place. Just took out the merchandise shelves and put in server racks then used the signage to identify locations. Oh, that bank of servers is in J.C. Penny mensware, second floor.”
Gina broke up laughing.
“I haven’t seen the place or the pictures, but the story is out there. It even makes sense. If you are scattering computers over 750,000 square feet you have to have some way to locate them” defended Mo.
“Ah Mo. That’s why you are on the payroll. You always give me a good laugh even if I have no idea what you are talking about” said Gina in a joyful voice. “You have a great weekend and let me know what you come up with. Multiple phases is fine. It will keep me out of your hair. Getting that company up and running will probably take a year anyway. Lots of staff to screen and software to write.”
“You have a good weekend too Gina.”
Gina powered down her “new” laptop placing it and the thumb drive in her bag. The company laptop still required her attention. She had been so caught up in this new enterprise that she ignored her email all day. After it powered up she found the usual litany of emails discussing things she could care less about yet requiring her to respond. It was a tedious task she normally did at home with a glass of wine but the company laptop was staying here this weekend. The first order of business was to officially put this company up for sale.
With this email I am instructing you to officially place this company up for sale with an asking price of $50 million. We already have unsolicited offers of around $30 million so we will ask for $50 million on the open market, most likely settling somewhere north of $40 million.
I also need you to begin the paperwork of setting up a new privately held corporation with myself and Bobby as the only officers. Please set this up as a Delaware, Cayman Islands or wherever it is American companies are setting up to avoid taxes these days. Make it one of the major legit locations. We don’t want hassles. When you have established the bank account email it to me so I can wire $1 million to the corporate checking account.
The name of the company is to be “Basis Doctrina Concorporificatus.” It’s Latin for “Knowledge Base Inc.” I already own the domain names which I will need to transfer to the company once it is established. The primary focus of the business will be hosting and vetting peer reviewed research papers. It will also host a patent database providing multi-lingual international patent search services. This will be a private service based on a subscription model and fees for patent searches. Subscriptions will be priced at $1000 per year if that information makes any difference.
Currently do not have a physical location but am working on several possibilities in Illinois to be near the bulk of Midwestern universities where I can easily get PhD. employees for reasonable wages due to the lower cost of living. All of the properties I own in California are to be placed on the market as well with my current residence which will be put up last. It will take several months to acquire office and living quarters and I don’t wish to deal with moving twice. When each property is sold the proceeds are to be deposited into the checking account of the new company. They will provide my seed money until this company is sold. Besides, taxes out here are insane!
Will not be checking any company email this weekend. If you have any questions please call my phone.
“One of the best pieces of advice Mo ever gave me was to never hire lawyers” Gina said into the air after clicking send. “Place a law firm on retainer she told me. Yes, they screw you royally with that retainer fee but you get to take them with you when you sell off a company. Damned good advice Mo. Damned good advice.”
Bobby was copied on the email so the entire family would soon know of her decision. It was now time to let the rest of the company know about her decision.
This email is to let you know I have instructed my lawyers to put the company on the market. If it makes any difference the asking price is $50 million. You are well aware we have had unsolicited offers at around $30 million. I expect a rather quick sale. In Silicon Valley $50 million is a weekend IPO party, or so it seems. Please pass this news along in an HR approved manner to the employees.
I do hope yourself and all of the employees will stay at the company through the sale and as employees for the new owners.
On a related note, if you happen to know of anyone who would make an incredibly great head of HR and be willing to live in central Illinois (not Chicago) I would appreciate your passing their contact information along, even if it is yourself. I will be launching a new company there, Basis Doctrina Concorporificatus. It will be a company for hosting and vetting peer reviewed research. The scientist in me is getting her day in the sun, or snow or whatever they have there right now.
I will not be checking company email all weekend once I leave the office today. If you need clarification please call my cell phone. Hopefully this email is self explanatory.
“Never work late on Friday if you think you’re going to be let go” chuckled Gina. “I remember hearing some of the staff say that. It is so true. Now to wade through the trash heap.” It was actually going faster than Gina had hoped. When you no longer give a shit you can just reply I trust your judgment to just about everything. It wouldn’t even seem out of character because she had been doing that a lot this past year. There were four new product announcements buried in her inbox. Of course the message threads had the obligatory dozen or so “Congrats!” and “Woot!” replies. She forwarded the original announcement emails to Fredrick with a note that the new owners would be the ones receiving these revenue streams. Again she copied Bobby on this.
Just as she got to the last message in her inbox there was a knock at her door. “My God Patricia! You scared the shit out of me!”
“Sorry. When I read your email and saw you were still in the office I thought it would be a good time to talk. Everybody else is gone.”
“Not much to talk about unless you are coming to tell me you’ve always wanted to drive a Jeep in Illinois snow as part of your daily commute” replied Gina.
“What brought this on?” asked Patricia.
“It’s what company owners do in Silicon Valley. If you don’t go bust you either sell your business or launch an IPO. I have no interest in an IPO and, honestly, I’m bored to tears. I don’t have a degree, but I’m a scientist. Bobby is an amazing research engineer. He can live in a lab anywhere in the world. This company has become a business which makes apps for idiot phones. While I had some interest early on, it’s gone. Even developing the software doesn’t interest me. That market is all about chasing the latest script kiddie language of the week. It’s not a place for adults. Honestly, what’s the general age of all the developers on this floor? Tell me.”
“Around 25 I think though we’re not supposed”
“We’re not supposed to ask or talk about it yes I know” Gina said nearly snapping. “This isn’t about age discrimination, this is about age reality. By 30 they all quit. It doesn’t matter what we pay them and we pay them more than Google. Learning another busted worthless script language or even more busted worthless tool kit every month if not week is a treadmill you have to get off. The kids creating that stuff never go back and actually fix the language or tool set they created. They build a new one from scratch because that is fun. Fixing, maintaining and delivering a stable product is something adults do. They aren’t grown up enough for that, I don’t care how old their birth certificate says they are.”
“I just forwarded four new product announcements to my lawyer to help justify the asking price” continued Gina. “Only one was a new version of an existing product. We are kind of trapped in that same cycle. Oh sure, we have a couple of products which get maintained but most just get replaced. Even some of the new versions we release aren’t written in the same language as the original program. They aren’t updates, they are replacements. I’m not faulting the developers. That’s what this business segment demands. I just don’t want to be in this segment anymore.”
“So you are starting this Basis Doctrina whatever to do something new, but why Illinois?” asked Patricia.
“California is a foreign country. Always has been, always will be. The weather may be nice but the culture sucks and the prices are astronomical. I’ve never been a bikini rocking fuck puppet and I never wanted to be one. I’m a scientist though most scientists would choke hearing me say that. I’ve got more money that most people could ever spend and I’m going to spend it doing what I love.”
“Illinois is strategic” Gina continued. “There are a lot of universities within a six hour drive. They crank out a lot of PhD. students who generally have to leave the area to get a job in their field. Cost of living is less than half what it is out here. An $80,000/year starting salary in Silicon Valley won’t let you live in your car so you have to commute hours to get to work. An $80,000 starting salary will let a person have a pretty good life in the Midwest, away from Chicago. One might even be able to pay back their student loans.”
“Most importantly” Gina paused for dramatic effect then continued. “Most importantly. It will let me build a high end data center very close to the Dark Fiber backbone of the Internet at a fraction of the cost. Why do you think Microsoft is building their largest data center in Des Moines, Iowa? They could afford to build in California but it would be ludicrous. They could probably build two of those centers for what it would cost around here.”
“No, Patricia. I realize you like the weather and beach weekends, but in truth, California is a good state to be from, not living in” finished Gina. “You don’t want to be a 35 year old comparing how she looks in a bikini against the teenagers on the beach. That’s not a good life.”
“Wow! I didn’t expect both barrels” responded Patricia.
“You wanted the truth and there it is. Consider it free advice as well” replied Gina. As far as Gina knew Patricia wasn’t married but had been actively looking for a husband. She had also just turned 26. Getting close to long in the tooth for a first wife out here. True the stats say closer to 28 but the stats don’t take into account the progression of things. Generally a year of living together and full cohabitation typically doesn’t happen until you’ve been dating a few months. It starts out with five day weekends and then somebody’s lease comes up for renewal.
“Well” began Patricia. “I will announce this to the staff. I’m sure it will be a shock.”
“Don’t be silly. I’ve heard them talking about the other offers of $30 million. They are all hoping this gets sold to a company that will give them stock options. All still wet behind the ears and willing to believe they will get in on the ground floor of the next Google or Amazon. Those days are over. The dangling of the carrot on the stick isn’t over, but those days definitely are” Gina stated as she powered down her company laptop and rose from her chair.
“Aren’t you going to take that?” asked Patricia.
“Nope. This weekend is all mine.”
“Probably should lock it in a drawer then. The cleaning crew doesn’t work for us and that is an easy snag.”
The thought had never occurred to Gina. The again, she had never left the laptop here. She found an empty drawer in her credenza and left it there. She had often heard about that “spring in your step” feeling people get when they quit their job. Until today she never understood it.