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the eric update - day 71: jumping the shark on the snowdeal show ®

if "the eric update" were a fictional account, you might sit back upon learning that i've been laid off and exclaim, "oh come on! that's a fairly over-the-top plot twist, now don't you think!" and snort in disgust at my fairly obvious attempt to jump the shark on the snowdeal show ®.

but no, this really is the the really, realest, real reality show and friday was my last day of employment at motorola after being handed a pink slip. after six years of surviving thousands and thousands of layoffs, the irony of being shown the door at this particular time in my life is so rich that it almost makes me laugh.

conspiracy theorist might conclude that my getting the pink slip might in some way be related to little odin and my struggle to balance focusing on work with my new role as a full time nicu dad. the truth is that we've known for a long, long time that unemployment was inevitable and the only unknown was exactly when the pink slip would arrive. in fact, not many know that when we moved to michigan from illinois two and half years ago, i had tried to quit because the perpetual job uncertainly was getting to be tiring. of course, it would have been nice to have a few more months of breathing room, but layoffs at big, international organizations are planned well in advance and it just wasn't going to happen.

in some ways, the pink splip comes at a great time. odin's stupendous progress means that he's going to be coming home sooner than any of us expected and i'd like nothing more than to spend every single waking moment with him after he gets home. thanks to a very modest severance package from the mothership , i'll be able to do that. so, i think i'm going to take the next month to clear my head, spend time with my son and try to imagine what i'd like to do next.

hopefully this won't sound too much like an infomercial, but the time off also gives me a great opportunity to focus on facefive, which is a company that i cofounded with a longtime friend over two years ago. we've spent the past two years developing a reputation for providing wireless internet service in some of the most popular locations in chicago for people who don't mind paying a little money for a super fast and reliable service. we've always thought of the wireless internet as a "trojan horse" service and have been diligently working in the background to offer additional services. my newfound free time means that we'll be able to more quickly roll out fun things like facefive fone, which will let our customers make phone calls to anywhere in the u.s. at no charge, from their computers or even a regular telephone. in fact, we'll be announcing a more widepsread beta test soon, so if you're in the chicago area and you're interested in free local and long distance phone service, let me know.

despite how well facefive has been doing, it'll still be awhile before it's the kind of thing that can support a full time salary, so after spending time getting new services going, i'll probably start looking for a regular day job. i've slapped together a resume because you never really know who is reading the site these days. please, i beg you to consider the resume for what it is - a rough draft that was thrown together from scratch in very short order.

i'll betray my somewhat legendary confidence ( some say arrogance :-) ), and tell you, somewhat immodestly, that i can do pretty much anything. i'm the guy you want if you're looking for someone with experience wearing the many hats that one must wear at the fuzzy front end of product development. i'm the guy you want if you're looking for someone who can chat afffably with customers and suits right before running to the server closet to fiddle with the knobs. i'm the guy you want if you're looking for someone who can move smoothly from removing the central nervous systems of fruitfly larvae to business development ( perhaps not as different a skill as you might think ) to running marathons and developing internet phone applications in his spare time. oh. and i'm pretty good with a camera and have passable written and oral skills.

while i'm always open to more traditional business development, strategy and marketing types of roles, i'm also always willing to trying something new. after years of trying to get the powers that be at motorola to more creatively embrace blogging to no avail, i would certainly be interested in entertaining any "technical evangelist" offers that would allow me to do the kinds of things that tim bray is doing for sun or robert scoble for microsoft ( yes, i understand that 99.99% of the people who are visiting for updates on odin, have no idea what i'm talking about ).

so take a gander at the resume and maybe pass it around, as i go downstairs to make a big batch of lemonade from all the lemons i've been handed before i head off to the nicu.

oh, and i apologize in advance to all the family members who are reading about this for the first time without getting a warning phone call. i've obviously been quite busy and calling everyone to tell them the news has not been very high on my priority list.

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9/13/2004 02:17:00 PM 7 comments


Well, crap - the layoffs are everywhere these days! Jonathan is currently waiting to be pinkslipped at Bank Of America, must be something going around...

Well, I know Eric is my brother so I'm biased, but just in case some HR person is lurking... you couldn't ask for a smarter employee. I wouldn't doubt that Eric's IQ is through the roof - or at least higher than the average bear. Even though he may show up wearing a jackelope protruding from his zipper at your corporate halloween party or eat doritos and blueberry syrup during a brainstorming meeting, Eric is a real problem solver and he consistently thinks out of the box. A genius. Snatch him up before the competition gets him!

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:52 PM  

Dang, I'm sorry to hear about your job. Will your health insurance be effected? We had to switch Susan from my policy to my husband's when I quit my job after FMLA ran out. Fortunately, medicaid covered the deductibles and co-pays. In case your hospital hasn't told you, micropreemies generally qualify for medicaid while they are in the hospital and it's a tremendous help.

Catching up after a couple days and I'm amazed how great EricIV is doing. An open crib already! He sounds really close to going home. Susan has reflux also and is on the same medications, plus Prilosec. The reflux has contributed to her feeding problems so it's really good you're on top of it. We NEVER got to the point she was consistently finishing bottles and ultimately got a g-tube. Go eating Eric! It sounds like his oxygen needs are fading out as well. Susan came home on 1/8 liter of O2 and it wasn't that big of a deal once we were used to it. Of course, having a cordless baby is much preferred.

Sending you good employment vibes from stormy New Orleans,

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:41 PM  

Well we're glad to hear Eric is doing well, but I'm sorry to hear about the job. A few weeks back I remember reading that the guys at Gizmodo were looking for some blogging help. I don't know if you read their blog, but it's fantastic and perhaps you could check into it at

By Blogger Chris Lohroff, at 4:36 PM  

I was laid off before Andy came. I understand this twist more than you can imagine.


By Blogger Robb, at 6:38 PM  

Should you need to borrow the jackelope again, I would be happy to lend it to you. I can't think of a better way to make an impression in an interview than having a rabbit with antlers protruding from your zipper. Sorry to hear about your job, but I'm happy to hear Odin is doing so well.


By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:19 PM  

robb, it sounds as if we're living some sort of wierd parallel existance, what with micropreemies, layoffs and dog parks. if you tell me that you own a 1965 galaxie 500 then i'm really going to start to freak out :-)

By Blogger e3, at 11:10 PM  

first, thanks to everyone for their supportive comments. between my severance package which allows us to keep our current spectacular insurance until january 2005, COBRA ( expensive, i know, but it's better than nothing in a pinch ) and eric's plethora of sources of aid ( including medicaid ), i'm not immediately in a panic about how we're going to pay the bill, at least on the healthcare front.

if worst comes to worst, i can always guilt everyone into buying some x-treemie swag ( at the moment, that's my best attempt at a joke. )

leave it to my sister to compliment me so graciously while simutaneously letting thousands of people know that, indeed, i did once create a halloween outfit that included a jackelope. and a red union suit. and a cowboy hat. i was young! and it only happened once. i swear. o.k. maybe twice. ( ye who only signs your comments, "M.N.", it's nice to know that you still have the jackelope, in case the urge strikes me to recreate the infamous costume. ) hey, don't knock doritos and blueberry sauce until you've tried it. while i don't eat that too much anymore, i am still a big fan of corn chips and peanut butter.

hi chris! i hope your new house is treating you well ( our old house ) and thanks for the tip on gizmodo. when i had a big more free time it was on the regular reading list, so i'll check out the prospect, although they must surely have filled the position if a few weeks have passed.

By Blogger e3, at 11:22 PM  

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"it is hard to be brave," said piglet, sniffing slightly, "when you're only a Very Small Animal." rabbit, who had begun to write very busily, looked up and said: "it is because you are a very small animal that you will be Useful in the adventure before us."

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this site chronicles the continuing adventures of my son, odin, who was unexpectedly born on the fourth of july at 25 weeks gestation, weighing 1 pound 7 ounces.

he's quite a fighter and you can always send him a postcard to the most current address listed here if you're inspired by his adventures. see the postcard project/google maps mashup to see a map of the postcards.

if you're new, you can browse the archives to catch up. and don't forget to watch a few movies that i made while we were in the neonatal intensive care unit. or if you want the abridged version and you can find a copy, you can read about his adventures in the november 2005 issue of parents magazine.

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