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>> Episode 8 - ALTERNATIVE ENDING by Mike Petinarelis <<

The 2ndSite brand has been MURDERED!

Why We're Doing This
2ndSite is re-branding. So we decided to kill our old brand off in the format of a murder mystery story, released in 8 episodes, which you can read here at www.brandmurder.com. In conjunction with each episode, we will release a podcast that tells you how things are evolving and describes the business case for such an experiment. Sign up and follow along!

Who We Are
2ndSite is an online billing service that is incredibly easy to use for small businesses, freelancers, consultants and their clients. It saves time, helps businesses save money and get paid faster. First released in May 2004, the service now has 40,000 users. Find out more or try it for free (fully functional, nothing held back) at www.2ndSite.biz.

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Episode One

In short, it was a miserable Monday morning. The 2ndSite team is gathering like the storm clouds outside.

The Scene: The Monthly Sales Meeting in the 2ndSite Boardroom
Present: Mike, Joe, Kathy, Daniel, Levi, Jeff and of course, the Brand

Mike, the Co-Founder and CEO of 2ndSite, raises his lean lanky frame from the overstuffed leather boardroom chair. For a moment he is reminiscent of young Donald Trump (without the bad hair) who started corporations and had a mean backswing. The moment passed and suddenly Mike was back to present: overworked, exhausted, yet still passionate about his business. He was all business all the time, yet still kept a six-string Yamaha in the closet of his office.

Mike: Kathy, could you please take minutes?

Detailed-oriented Kathy glares her reply, yet elegantly extracts a Staedtler Mars Lumograph 0.3mm Sky Blue pen (SKU 389754-G) from her writing kit, knowing full well that Mike will never read the minutes. He'll already be onto conjuring the next million-dollar idea that strikes his fancy. Sure sure, he was a brilliant Visionary, but when it came to the day-to-day minutiae of running a profitable business, Kathy knew this would all fall to her once again.

Straggling in is the rest of the team. They take their seats in groups: Kathy, Daniel and Levi on one side of the wide mahogany table. Mike, Joe and Jeff on the other. The Brand is nowhere to be seen.

Mike looks around the room, taking in the scene, noting as he did so that once again his Web Designer and Developer, Daniel, looked as though he'd slept in his clothes. Mike pats the bulge in his jacket pocket. Later , he thought to himself. Not now. Later. No witnesses. This is just between me and….

Levi enters, carrying a large silvery tin.

Levi: My girlfriend made cookies. Anybody want one?

Levi passes the cookies around the table, pleased that the team all took him up on the offer, except, of course, Jeff. Jeff never took anyone's offerings.

The Brand swaggers in late, humming a tuneless ditty. He takes the seat at the head of the table, or rather, stands behind it.

Brand: Good morning all. Mike? A bit early in the morning for the sales meeting, wouldn't you say?

The Brand is cocksure and full of bravado. Butter wouldn't melt in his mouth, which is just as well, as it was busy puffing on a clove cigarette. The Brand takes up the coffee Kathy passes him. He places the hot cup directly on the table, using the saucer to ash his cigarette. Mike cringes but refuses to remedy the situation. Perhaps Lemon Pledge will fix the cup mark.

Brand: Mike? <gesturing with the cigarette> Hello? Good morning? What gives? Anyone got anything to say or can I go back to doing what I do best?

Joe: Brand. Why don't you take a seat?

Brand: I'd rather stand, thanks all the same, Joey.

Joe, the co-Founder of 2ndSite, smiles wryly, letting the name pass. There were more important things to focus on , thought the devilishly handsome CTO and Chief Architect. He didn't get this far by chasing butterflies or every mundane little annoyance that came his way. Hard work and commitment to the project at hand were what worked best for Joe.

Mike: Alright, let's get to it. As you can see <distributes copies of a report>, we're down once again this quarter. Anyone care to comment? Daniel, I noticed we're still getting a fair number of sales calls, what's the lay of the land?

Daniel: Well Mike, we had 217 calls last month.

Mike: What seems to be the problem?

Daniel: No problem as such. As you can see, some 188 of the calls are for a psychic hotline: Second Sight .

The team murmurs their assurance that this is so.

Levi: Brand… Mike… I know some of us have been thinking…

Brand: <chuckling and wagging his finger> Now Levi, you've been warned about that. Hasn't he Joe? Daniel, I'm out of smokes. Why don't you be a good guy and go get me some?

Daniel hops up and is out the door, returning not a minute later, tossing Brand an already opened pack.

Brand: They're selling them pre-opened are they?

Daniel: My pack. Take ‘em.

Levi: … anyway, we've been thinking that it's time to change our Brand.

Brand: I don't think I got that Levi. Nice cookies, by the way. Give your honey a squeeze for me. No wait, I'll do it myself <gestures inappropriately>. Sorry, I wasn't really listening to you. Did you say ‘change the brand'?

Kathy: Well Brand, maybe I can step in here. We, that is, the team, no, some of the team think the Brand may have run its course. Mike, can we open this up to discussion?

Mike catches the Brand's eye and shakes his head as if to say humour her , then nods at Kathy.

Kathy: Look Brand, your name is grammatically incorrect with its combination of letters and numerals and, well, you're just no fun anymore. It's not the same. The company has grown. We've changed. You're keeping us back.

Levi: And your URL doesn't match your name. You're not descriptive enough.

Kathy: Right.

Levi: And let's face it, no one really knows what we do. There's a lot of time and money invested in you, Brand; yet our clients just aren't really sure where you're coming from.

Levi sits back and stretches. The CIO and VP of Operations was not known for making such long speeches in front of the team. He was known for his quiet nature, coming to life for Client Relationship Management, generally leaving the team to their own devices. And he liked this distance the team gave him in return. He was a man who needed privacy… more than most.

Brand: Levi, Levi, Levi. Such a long speech. Been saving up a few days, have you? Daniel, do you have something to add to this, or do you maybe need to get back to your computer urgently for whatever it is you do when no one seems to be noticing?

Daniel: Huh? No. I've got nowhere to be but here. But as long as the knives are out, let me just say this one thing …

Brand: Go on. Looks like something's eating you.

Daniel: Fine. Alright. Here it is: I hate your dot-biz.

Brand looks around the table as half the team, unconsciously, is nodding in time.

Brand: Say that again.

Daniel: I … hate…your … dot … biz.

Brand: Jeff? What about you? Still fond of the old Brand?

Jeff, 2ndSite's Web Designer and Developer, was largely responsible for the visual sensibility of the Brand. Back in the earliest days of the Brand's inception, Jeff spent countless midnight hours tweaking pixels without complaint. He loved the Brand.

Jeff: Yeah, I think you're just fine.

Brand: Well thank God there's one of you. Mike, can you believe your ears?

Mike: Well Brand, you know we have an open door policy here at 2ndSite and I think it's worth hearing them out. But you realize, Levi, Kathy, Daniel <visibly agitated, Mike points at each as he says their names>, we've come this far on the Brand. I'm not sure it makes good business sense to throw this all away.

Joe: And confuse our clients.

Mike: Right, confuse our clients. Make the company look unstable. Listen, this is not the time to discuss changing the Brand.

Kathy: We knew you'd say that. But what better time than when the Brand is clearly showing itself to be no longer a viable entity?

Brand: Mike? Joe? Are you hearing this garbage? What do you have to say about it?

Mike: <Going white about the mouth> Alright team. I think that's about enough! <He becomes louder, more vehement> We may have an open door policy here but there's nothing in the book that says ganging up on the Brand is part of it !

Joe: <face growing redder by the moment> Listen, obviously no one appreciates just what this Brand has done for us. No has any understanding of what your proposing would cost us. DANIEL! Sit down!

Daniel, looking guilty, returns to his seat. He reaches for a cookie with a trembling hand then clearly thinks better of it and retreats.

Brand: You know, I'm going to walk out of this boardroom, take a bio break, and when I come back and we'll start again like this didn't happen. Why don't you all listen to Mike, Joe and Jeff and forget this crap that popped into your tiny brains this morning. I don't know what Kathy put in the coffee but it's making you all act like you think you have a clue. Well here's the 411 on that. You don't. I put you where you are today. I am this company. So while I'm gone why don't all of you try to remember that?

The Brand takes a final sip of his coffee, picks up another cookie and grabs the WSJ on the credenza.

Levi: Brand! Come back here. Let's discuss this.

Brand: End. <butts out his cigarette into the table, punctuating each word> Of. Discussion.

And leaves, slamming the door behind him.

Joe pushes his chair away from the table and stands.

Joe: Well I'm not going to sit here waiting for the Brand's standard twenty-minute bio break. I'm going to check my email. Jeff? Come get me when he's back.

Minutes pass and the tension in the room grows thicker than a London fog as Mike continues to wax eloquent about why the Brand should remain the Brand. Finally, even he cannot stand the tension and he sits, looking at his nails for a minute or two before leaping up.

Mike: This is taking too long. I'm going out to check on him. <Mike leaves, looking perturbed>

The team sits looking at each other and tries to fill the room with innocent chat to ease the strain.

Levi: Anyone want a cookie? They're really good. She uses only organic ingredients.

Kathy: Coffee? Tea?

Daniel and Jeff shake their heads no. The minutes build. When out of the blue, a scream ruptures the silence. Running feet are heard and the door swings open. The Brand literally tumbles into the room, clearly distressing, clutching his throat with one hand, a copy of The Young Poisoner's Handbook in the other. Frothing at the mouth, the Brand collapses with a solid THUD! and is entirely motionless. Following close behind is Mike, then Joe.

Mike: Call 911!! Call 911!

Levi bends down to examine the Brand while Daniel, tears already in his eyes, runs to the phone. Levi checks for vital signs but is grim.

Levi: Forget him <standing up>. He's dead.

Joe: Dead? He's been … murdered !


Do you think you know who murdered 2ndSite?
Submit your answer or read more on the prime suspects.

15 Comments Posted

kidcorporeal - Posted: Feb 15/2006
Your transcripts are very poorly written. Whatever interest I had in this contest faded after four paragraphs into this bad creative writing exercise.
Brad - Posted: Feb 16/2006
No Stephen King, or Arthur Conan Doyle, but nicely done. Can't wait for the next installment!
Richard - Posted: Feb 16/2006
No time to read this stuff (clever as it may be). I barely have time to bill my clients. I will wait for the new brand to magically appear.
Salo Printing - Posted: Feb 17/2006
It was a quick and fun read. I enjoyed it and will be back for the next episode - hot of the printing press :P *cheers*
Moe Diggity - Posted: Feb 17/2006
It was Jeffyboi... in the library... with the candlestick. Why? Because he could.
Dave - Posted: Feb 17/2006
A unique concept. It's nice to see you guys are good natured and don't take yourselves too seriously. I'm looking forward to seeing the new brand. Cheers.
Tylivia Web Design - Posted: Feb 18/2006
Great plot!!! A very unique way to market your upcoming branding change. I can't wait to read the next episode!
chaucer - Posted: Feb 20/2006
kidcorporeal needs to get laid. sorry to see such a bitter worm felt obliged to write such pathetic comments. sorry loser, this is wonderful writing and a terrific exercise. your rock is calling, crawl back under it.
Moe MyGod - Posted: Feb 20/2006
Hmmmm, very interesting....all you needed was a DARK & STORMY NIGHT and it woulda started off perfect. I MIGHT have to agree with Moe Diggty, that it was JEFFY, though i would say it was "In the Dressing Room".....with a 1 time SlapShot that killed him!!!!
Bill - Posted: Feb 24/2006
This is hardly interesting.
kubalek - Posted: Mar 8/2006
Cute. Creative. Way too long. Send the next version to an editor, though, kidcorporeal is kinda right about the writing. Sounds like someone was on a 1am manic jag and just couldn't stop himself. An editor wouldn't be a bad idea. Still, I applaud the humor. Looking forward to seeing the new brand--You've really needed to make this change for some time. Best of luck!
STOPburnout - Posted: Apr 25/2006
Great concept--well done! I remembered the name (but not the url), so I could not find it quickly. Definately stick with a .com for the new name if you can (if its not too late). Any old timmers remember the German site www.eye4u.com? It stil takes me about 3 attempts to get it right! ;)
[Duup] - Posted: Apr 25/2006
Opps, correct url is http://stopburnout.blogspot.com/
Moe Diggity - Posted: May 16/2006
Ok, seriously. I know there's seven episodes to go, but I'll have to say the culprit is Jeff... But he doesn't "murder" the brand per se -- he just transforms it into a new and improved brand. Contact me via my website to tell me where I can pick up my prize.
Tony - Posted: May 16/2006
Wow this is boloody horrible.

Comments are closed

Do you think you’re
Sherlock? The 2ndSite
brand has been
and the first person
to correctly guess the
culprit (who), the motive (why),
and the means (how), will win a really
cool prize.

The Suspects

Michael McDerment
Michael McDerment Michael has been partying involved with internet technologies since 1999. An entrepreneur and internet marketing consultant with two successful start-ups to his name, Michael is dedicated to helping his clients get more from the internet. Like many entrepreneurs, Michael talks faster than he writes and can deftly juggle and keep his eye on hundreds of balls at one time. But perhaps he is not juggling... perhaps he is plotting murder...?!

Joe Sawada
Joe Sawada In 2000 Joe received his Ph.D in Computer Science from the University of Victoria, specializing in the development of efficient algorithms. (Just in case you think he’s a nerd, Joe is one of those guys you’d never think was this smart because he’s so cool. That's why we don't trust him).

Levi Cooperman
Levi Cooperman Levi is a professional engineer with a B.Eng from the University of Victoria. He is able to grow a beard faster than Superman and can leap a building in a single bound. Before joining 2ndSite, Levi managed projects at Apex Systems Integrators Inc., where his clients included Canadian Tire, Nestlé, and Parmalat. Did we mention he can grow a beard in seconds? All serial killers have beards...hmmm.

Kathy Donoghue
Kathy Donoghue Kathy graduated from City University London with an MSc in Information Systems & Technology. She comes to 2ndSite from PricewaterhouseCoopers and GE Capital where she led many successful web-based IT development and knowledge management projects. Kathy is from the east coast where everyone is nice...too nice...

Jeffrey Sarmiento
Jeffrey Sarmiento Jeff is a consummate perfectionist and ace designer. Jeff-fun includes developing Flash web sites, PHP solutions and snowboarding and he will not hesitate to take on any double black diamond he comes across. Jeff is also obsessed with washing his car (some say his left arm is twice the size of his right arm because of this). Obsessiveness is freaky...we trust him, but we don't trust him if you know what we mean...

Daniel Tsang
Daniel Tsang A recent graduate from University of Toronto's Computer Science programme, Daniel develops new functionality (back-end) for 2ndSite, and answers support requests. Daniel is our resident film critic, and knows when to fold 'em in Texas Hold 'Em. He seemed upset when the Brand died...maybe he's bluffing?

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