Whatever Became of 1998’s Christmas Bonus?

Back in 1998 I took a semester off of school to work at a company called EnterAct. It was the most awesome ISP in Chicago, and I had previously worked there as a technical support intern during the summer of 1996. For Christmas that year, they handed out stock as bonuses. It was kind of a cheat on me and Juan, though, as we were both leaving the company in January – I was returning to finish school, so we’d never see the one year cliff to vest our Christmas bonuses. What fame and fortune was not to be mine!

Well, EnterAct soon after got acquired by 21st Century Cable, which was subsequently acquired by RCN Cable, which my Mom still uses for her cable, telephone, and broadband Internet provider. I read in the Tribune just now that RCN yesterday declared bankruptcy. “Common shareholders are expected to have their equity stakes wiped out, though once RCN emerges from bankruptcy, it said it plans to issue equity warrants to its previous shareholders equal to 2 percent of the newly structured company.”

The closing paragraph of the story hints at what a wild ride it has been, “RCN’s stock price, which climbed to $72 a share on Feb. 8, 2000, closed on Thursday at 15 cents a share.”

As for me, I graduated in May, 1999, with an offer from EnterAct and another from Tellme Networks, which was then a close-lipped startup in California. Tellme’s offer was $3,000 higher, so I went there. When I visited California two weekends ago I quietly inquired and learned that my half-vested shares in that company are worth a decent amount of money, and the people there remain confident that some day they will all find themselves respectably wealthy. More power to ‘m.

By the way, I never heard from Budget. I should work up a list of my corporate endorsements and blacklists sometime. You know, for fun.


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