A couple of newsworthy things happened around here this week. I got a geeky new phone that I’ve been
seducing the ladies tinkering with all week. Oh, and we were bought by a nice man named Alan Meckler. And after just one hour spent together, Alan and I are already thick as thieves.
On Wednesday, Mr. Meckler and another well-dressed gentleman visited MB headquarters to meet us all, and to assure us that he doesn’t intend to replace us with robots or a call center 10,000 miles away. Still, I couldn’t help but be scared that the nice little company I joined six months ago would become like the handful of not-so-nice companies I’ve left after feeling the corporate noose tighten around my free-wheeling neck. After, all, I’m the type of person who feels that Red Sox caps, Mighty Mouse t-shirts, and exposed tattoos are suitable for home and office environments.
As we started eating our lunch around a mass of strung-together rectangular tables, Mr. Meckler introduced himself and began what I thought would be the standard “you’re great, we love you, we don’t want to change anything” speech. Then something great and rather funny happened— he asked if anyone was familiar with Star Wars. The MB staff, paralyzed with fear, nodded in the affirmative. Then Mr. Meckler proceeded with his next question— he wondered if we knew who the Borg was. After a one-second pause that, at the time felt like an eternity, I cleared my throat and said ever-so-
foolishly confidently: “That’s Star Trek!” There were some chuckles and a few soft laughs among the crowd, but the tension seemed to become more palpable instantly. I, just a cog in what was now a much bigger machine, had just contradicted the CEO of Jupitermedia and the brand new owner of mediabistro.com. He could crush me like a bug, and I basically just told him his science fiction knowledge sucked. Mr. Meckler acknowledged his gross error with a dignified nod and proceeded with his story, which involved a visit to a conference with his then nine-year-old son— a conference that was being held in a hotel where, in the next room, resided a Star Wars Trek convention, complete with decked-out geeks, dorks, and dweebs in all manner of costumed apparel.
Mr. Meckler then asked his next question— one that would expose me as a bigger geek than I would have cared to admit. He looked in my direction and asked “What’s the Borg?” I prefaced my answer by declaring out loud that I really didn’t want anyone to know that I was capable of successfully answering the question. But I had to— there was no way around this one. I later complained to my fellow co-workers that I would bet my Christopher Lloyd-signed copy of Conversational Klingon that at least half the room knew the answer, but were too
cowardly nervous to step-up. But no matter— I was happy to answer the question. That’s because even though Mr. Meckler stumbled a bit in setting up the question, the question itself was apropos to the occasion. Because, as I answered, The Borg were a huge collective that operated with a complete lack of individuality, assimilating anything in its path and plugging it into their vast, emotionless hive (or something like that). You don’t need to know anything about Star Trek to know that most of the mediabistro.com staff were terrified that they would be assimilated and summarily stripped of the uniqueness that has made MB so great for so long. It may sound crazy, but as soon as Mr. Meckler asked us who The Borg was, the knot in my stomach that had been present for nearly a day since we were given the merger news, had loosened. It was the perfect analogy to quell my fears. We wouldn’t be hearing “resistance is futile” from Mr. Meckler and Jupitermedia, and I was very happy.
So, if you were fearful that the MB community you know and love was about to be absorbed into a mindless hive collective, fear not— all of us are all still wearing our boas here, and eagerly moving forward
at warp factor ten.