Jayashree walked into the Internet Café to find Raj and Shankar both waiting for her. It gave her a sense of how important this issue was to them that they would arrive early. She knew Raj wasn’t upset with her but hadn’t yet spoken directly to Shankar. “Good morning guys. I guess this is our first official day full-time on the new job?”
Raj replied, “Happy new job day Jayashree. And this must be our new office?” Raj seemed jovial. That helped the mood.
“Well let me just start,” Jayashree began the meeting as she took her seat and gestured for the waiter to bring her usual morning tea. “I met with Balamohan for dinner last night and he told me everything. I was going to be coy but as soon as I said I missed him at the office Monday, he cut me off and came clean. Not that he expressed any remorse. He might have even been bragging.”
“Told you he was a jerk,” Raj again. Shankar remained silent. “So did he really start up a competing firm based on our idea?”
“Not exactly. He fed our ideas to his partners, but they have one company and he has a separate business.” Her tea arrived and she paused to thank the waiter. “Balamohan is making money by recruiting the Ruby developers. That’s what he mostly wanted from me – my social network of techies. His partners might have formed their initial concept on their own, but they fleshed it out based on my blabbering.”
“So Balamohan made recruiting fees?” Raj again the curious one.
“Not exactly. He made his recruits purchase a bond to recompense their employers for their training and other expenses to cover their first two years of employment. He charged a service fee for brokering the bond with a bank and received another fee from the bank for originating the loan. Apparently he’s been doing this for several years and our venture helped him to go fulltime at it.” Jayashree projected an incredulous facial expression.
“I’m not sure how I feel about that. I don’t think it’s illegal because I’ve heard of the practice, but it sounds slimy to me.” Again Raj with the response. “He recruit anyone you know?”
“He wouldn’t say but I called 3 friends and they all confirmed he cold called and recruited them. We can infer from this that their developers are local so we might have an edge on them with our Viet Namese labor costs.” Jayashree was hoping to get Shankar into the dialog but he didn’t bite. “My friends told me more. He hired one DBA but no data mappers or architects. They’ll manipulate most of the data at the application layer.”
“Hah, we got ‘em!” Raj was suddenly very positive. “Classic mistake, unfortunately made by just about everyone nowadays.” Raj took on an authoritative tone as he explained. “This is a huge data integration, or I should say content management, effort. We built a data warehouse and focused on our data feed framework for the ETL processes. We’re using Ruby for the front end, but we have stored procedures behind that written in Python. Not to downplay the importance of the application layer for aesthetics and usability, specifically the web services for ease of content accessibility; but we’re providing sub-second response time on our queries. And we’ll scale at that speed for terabytes of data. They’ll have to compromise on much smaller data sets – probably XML – can you say slow? Their solution will be completely unscalable.” Raj laughed and was enjoying himself immensely as he imagined the pending doom of this little competition.
Shankar finally interjected, “Well I should let you all know, our partners are suing us for malfeasance. They brought forward the suit today demanding we forfeit all our shares to them. Apparently this little company outbid our investors on a big contract. And Balamohan has been talking enough to where our investors know more about our culpability for leaking intellectual capital than we do ourselves. So we’ve got that going for us.”