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Symbol

This article was formerly known as “New J Goes Skiing”. During the transition to EC, it was changed to “OJ Goes Skiing.” And in a few short months the title will change again to “Section J Class of 2002 Goes Skiing-Alumni Update.”

We wanted to avoid such name changes and we wanted to maintain one constant section brand that represents a passion for life, a love of life, living life to the full, live and let live, you have never lived until you have loved, living color, and other such market positioning.
So the section unanimously voted to change the name to a symbol. This article will be denoted by a symbol when using the written word, and will be referred to as “Symbol, the article formerly known as New J Goes Skiing” when using the spoken word. To simplify matters further and allow anyone in the world to use our correct brand name, the actual graphical symbol used to denote this article will in fact be the word “Symbol” consisting of 6 consecutive letters from the English (American) option on MS Office. So we are in effect the symbol “Symbol.”

Symbol had great fun meeting up at Shay’s. The single most vivid intra-section memory that seemed to have stayed with us was an amazing event where all 86 of us gave up one hour of our time to a contribute to a project during the August break.

First we thought each person should do an hour’s work in their specialty and then pass it to the next person. He or she can then see what has already been done and they can build on the work, and then pass it on to the next sectionmate, and so on. But we realized this added unwanted complications to our already rich and fulfilled lives, so we decided to all do it collectively. Between 10:00 am and 11:00 am on the 8th of August 2001, all of us, no matter where we were in the world or what we were doing, just dropped everything and did an hour’s work on the project, without ever knowing what the other person was writing.
The next obvious step was of course VC funding. We knew we would not get the post-money valuation that we wanted but as a close-knit section we felt confident in our people, opportunity, and context-it’s difficult to describe the feeling, but we felt like it all fit.

We got the first round, and it felt real good. We did some research, got some distributors, got some advisors, and launched the product. The product was a small success but no home run. But we learned a lot and the second version was a bigger hit as it was more tuned to the market and we had a growing base. We gradually built up our market, then began to diversify, and tried new markets.

This went on for a while until several versions of software later by which time the market had become saturated and we were becoming stagnant. Sales leveled out, energy leveled out, and market enthusiasm leveled out. Cash flow leveled out, and then began dropping. We knew it was just a matter of time and we milked the business for all it was worth right down to the last drop. It had been a great run but eventually it was dissolved and the assets liquidated.

Time moved on and gradually the environment changed and new ways of doing things came about, as new ideas, new products, and new firms came and took hold. Sometimes the products caught on and the firms stayed. Society also changed as time passed. Man lived longer as better drugs were invented, trees grew faster as better trees were invented, long-standing enemies made friends as better societies were created, and commerce flourished. And then one Friday morning, 200 million years later, about 1:40 in the afternoon, the Sun fizzled out, burnt up, imploded into itself, and became a singularity like all stars eventually do.

In total darkness the Earth and all its colonies across the entire Solar System counted down. Three, two, one…and the artificial Sun that Man had constructed specifically for this astronomical catastrophe was switched on high up in the sky. Soon the crowds had dissipated and people continued with their daily mundane chores. Time moved on and gradually the environment changed and new ways of doing things came about, as new ideas, new products, and new firms came and took hold. Society changed.

But to the entire human race, the new Sun was more than a large yellow LED-no sir, it was a symbol. We laid back and looked up to the sky and gazed into the Sun which had been designed to enable direct gazing just for moments such as these. As we thought about ourselves and dreamt of all the symbols that had meant something to us and in whom we had once taken solace, we thought of our section. And at that moment, no matter where we were, what were doing, a single tear rolled down our cheeks.

September 24, 2001
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