After being chased out of hearth and home, last week, Readers… We’re still out of hearth and home!
There remain over fifty of us here at TheLadders without essentials such as power, water, or internet (interesting to note that people now include ‘internet’ among the essentials; wasn’t true during 9/11).
Your notes to us last week in response to our Sandy-gram were… well, they were more than we could’ve expected. Your hundreds upon thousands of thanks and prayers and offers of help and whiskey were so very much appreciated. Especially the whiskey.
After losing power, my eight-months-pregnant wife and I hiked two miles north in Sandy’s rainy, messy aftermath to find a taxi, eventually landing in the welcoming arms of the in-laws. Northern Manhattan was, this past week, the oddest sort of refugee zone, and the Manhattan Bridge, weirdly half-dark and half-lit, represented a connection from this off-kilter, flooded world to our normal lives more aptly than words can say.
I have to tell you, though, that the spirit that made our country great is alive and well here in Manhattan. Knocked down by the storm, the Big Apple got back up with a can-do Yankee spirit, that is remarkable for being as old & traditional as it is young, urgent, and new.
Some of my colleagues in the tech world undertook the most amazing challenges.
Power out at your hosting company on Wall Street? How about creating a bucket brigade of software engineers to huff diesel up 18 flights of stairs to fuel a backup generator?
Website knocked out? How about re-coding the whole thing in a day so it works on the popular Tumblr service instead? And then selling ad space to State Farm insurance on the new site?
New York City’s evacuation map loading too slowly? How about getting a copy live on your site in a jiffy so that people have the information they need?
And while I’m most familiar with, and proud of, the people in my industry, across New York City this past week, from the taxis to the taco trucks to the telecomm stores, the power of entrepreneurs and businesses to make our lives better even in a pinch (or, in the case of a Sandy, a punch) reminds you of how great our diverse, determined country can be.
There is so little of the “woe is me” and so much of the “just do it”. It’s inspiring and it makes you realize that our problems are all problems we can solve.
Speaking of problems, you might be curious to know that our own challenges were the result of all of our contingency planning over the years working perfectly — except for that one little thing.
As you might expect for a company of our size, we’ve got backup systems for our backup systems. And we’ve tested and prodded and simulated emergencies to the nth degree.
But you know how these things go.
A subcomponent of a subsystem was housed in a data center in downtown Manhattan — which is in the same power sub-grid as the Fed and the New York Stock Exchange, and which has never been without power for a week in its history — and of course, that one sub-sub system is what enables us to chat and talk on the phone with you all.
It’s still down.
The fates laugh at us wryly, don’t they?
Well, the good news with all that is that we nonetheless have a record number of jobs onsite, and a record number of employers looking for you. The upside of being an Internet business is that the site is still live even when your office is closed.
So with that, we’re going to get back to cleaning up the office and working remotely and gathering up the jobs and recruiters you want to connect with. If there’s anything we can help you with, please drop us an email at email@example.com, which has been up and working since Wednesday. We’ll get back to you right away!
And I’ll leave you with this video of the Boss singing “Sandy” at the Hammersmith in 1975. It is a poignant elegy for a place that is perhaps now gone from us forever. The sadness and the beauty and the Jersey-ness and the Boss-ness and the folk title of the song are just the right poetry to get you through the week. I know it’s gotten me through mine.