30.Mar.2011 Why I Hate Larry Scott
I had a eureka moment last night. It happened right before I passed out. You know, in that hazy state where you're dreaming of something bizarre…like Larry Scott, but also aware enough to realize it and think, "Fuck, why am I dreaming of Larry Scott!?" Smart scientists have labeled this phenomenon "lucid dreaming".
Anyway, in this woozy state I saw Larry Scott circa 1980-something. He was in a Lamborghini, wearing Ray-Bans, feathering his hair with a pocket comb, snorting a line of coke in the bathroom, and trading corporate junk bonds with Michael Milken.
I knew how that story ended, so like a good lucid dreamer I pulled a Michael J Fox and hopped in my DeLorean, fast-forwarding a decade to see what Mr. Scott would be up to.
What did I see? It was 1991 and Scott was now in Seattle, donned in flannel, Doc Martin's, and horned-rimmed glasses. He was hanging outside The Vogue with a cigarette dangling from his lip, and raving to someone who looked like David Geffen about a great new band led by a pretty yet grizzled moribund frontman. "David, he is perfect. You need to sign him. We can go to MTV with this guy and pitch the idea of Buzz Clips and 120 minutes of alternative rock!"…
I lived through that. It was cool and all at the time, but I know that story ends with a deranged, money-hungry chick, a shotgun to said rocker's head, and my trading in Chuck Taylor's for some business loafers. So, I fast-forwarded another decade.
I'm working at Lucent Technologies and one morning walk in to find my co-workers in a craze. Overnight, our company stock shot from $10 a share to $65. "This is GRRRRREAT!!" I yelp, like Tony the Tiger. And there is Larry Scott, our CEO, explaining to us that at his discretion, the Lucent board of directors went ahead and split with the Baby Bells and became it's own entity, entitling it to an IPO.
I know how that story ends, too. I invest my paltry $5000 of savings into the great, new stock; four months later the dot.com bubble bursts, and I'm left holding a piece of paper worth a half-cent. Scott jokes, "A penny for your thoughts, Angry?", and I have to admit to him since I don't even own that much, I could use the money. He flips me a coin…and I give him the longest, most drawn out "Fuck you" humanly possible. I look down at the coin: it's a half-cent piece.
Another decade goes by. It's 2010. There, again, is Larry Scott. This time he's standing before Congress with Ben Bernanke and Hank Paulson. In a Dr. Evil voice, he's pleading with a white-haired congressman from the Great Plains that unless the taxpayers fork over one hundred bazillion dollars (!) to Paulson, the U.S. economy will crash. The septuagenarian, borderline senile at this point in his career, buys into the fear tactics, signs the dotted line, and forks over the money. I know how this story ends, too. The recession turns into a depression, the only thing fending off that label being more propaganda and a government, headed by a promiser much like Larry Scott, that decides it doesn't want to count the long-term unemployed, seasonal workers, the homeless, etc in their economic figures.
In short, Larry Scott is "THAT GUY".
The hot shot chameleon who has pedigree and the charisma to match. The guy with big ideas who charms his way into the good graces of the influential, convinces them that some horrible idea is genius, and ten years down the line everyone's left shaking their head (or blowing it off).
So, when in my lucid state, I shift to modern times and see Larry Scott demanding the highest TV contract in college sports, I see Mike Milken, Hank Paulson, David Geffen, I-Village.com, and the IPO all at his side, all amassed into this one moment.
I wake up. I decide to write a blog about my night. A few hundred people read it. Some, who lived through these times, chuckle…but many don't understand. Most just close the page, muttering "Angry's lost it". They are just glad to be a part of the promised payday. Some respond with justifications longer than Martin Luther's scroll.
It's all good. I ate oatmeal for breakfast. I'm ready for the fight.
Look, I'm at the point in my life where it's impossible to pull one over on me. Have you seen the (wonderful horror) movie called "Death Proof"? Well, I am SCAM PROOF, and my scumbag radar is going haywire when pointed it in the direction of Walnut Creek, California.