Trials & Tribulations

web-cafe-firefighting-2If a year had been designed specifically to break Speakeasy's spirit, it would have been 2001.

After successfully navigating its supplier's bankruptcy during the year before, Speakeasy was poised for serious growth. It planned to take over the space left by the Cafe's longtime upstairs neighbor, the 211 Club, in order to expand its sales and support crew. It also had big plans to transition its back office operations to a new custom created software system -- dubbed 'Moses' -- which would manage everything from customer relationships, accounting and billing, account services, IP assignments, network connectivity, and more.

Perhaps as an ominous sign of what was to come, Seattle experienced its first 6.8 magnitude earthquake since 1965 in early February. Then, just a few short months after that, Speakeasy's dreams of expansions -- and the original heart of its mission, the Cafe -- went up in flames.

As if that devastation wasn't enough of a struggle, the nation itself experienced the shock and horror of the September 11 attacks, which adversely affected thousands of Speakeasy's customers during the days immediately following the attacks. The crew worked tirelessly to ensure their East Coast customers regained their connectivity, in the hopes that it would enable them to communicate with loved ones and stay abreast of the situation.

In spite of all of this strife, the company ended the year on somewhat of a high note: In response to DirectTV getting out of the DSL business, we took on thousands of new customers beginning of December, and continuing well into 2002. This uptick in customers resulted in addition of over $10m in recurring revenue, and set the company up for impressive growth.

Snapshots

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Events & Experiences

Lateral Memories

Lateral Memories

A lot of my favorite memories are sort of lateral, involving people I met at the Speakeasy, or

The Oldest One Here

The Oldest One Here

I was hired at Speakeasy as a Controller in January 2001. Having spent my career at more

Threatening Gary Busey

Threatening Gary Busey

One of my favorite memories is when we held LANsanity in the old pool hall above the cafe.

LANsanity

LANsanity

Introverts from all over converged for LANsanity, a Quake 3 tournament with DJs, beer, and a $1

We All Pulled Together

We All Pulled Together

I always loved the old building(s) we were in, but being in the 2nd Ave office during the

Nisqually Earthquake

Nisqually Earthquake

At nearly 11 AM on February 28th, Seattle experienced a 6.8 earthquake, the most intense

Press: 21 Dog Years – Timely look inside Amazon.com

Press: 21 Dog Years – Timely look inside Amazon.com

Mike Daisey’s breakthrough work, 21 Dog Years, debuted in Speakeasy’s Backroom theater

The Fire

The Fire

On the evening of May 18th, 2001, one of the cornerstones of Speakeasy’s ideology,,

As the Windows Above Us Exploded

As the Windows Above Us Exploded

The rising air made the steel door to the staircase rattle like someone was trying to escape. When

Feeling Less Helpless, Together

Feeling Less Helpless, Together

A memory that stands out is getting a phone call from a night shift tech telling me that the cafe

A Great Face for Phone Support

A Great Face for Phone Support

I started in billing and then tech support. I learned that I could Google steps to solve tech

September 11th

September 11th

One early Autumn morning, American’s perception of its place in the world was irrevocably