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Stories - Black Holed

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Scott left IBM in July of 2000 for a startup called Telleo. In March of 2001 Telleo's implosion was evident, and although Scott was not laid off he voluntarily quit just before Telleo stopped paying on their IBM lease. If you didn't live in Silicon Valley during 2001, imagine a really large mining town where the mine has closed, this was close to what it was like, just on a much grander scale. Highway 101 had gone from packed during rush hour to what it normally looked like during the weekend. Venture Capitalists drew the purse strings closed, and if you weren't running on revenue you were out of business. Most dotcom startups bled red monthly, and eventually expired.

So now imagine being an unemployed technology executive in the epicenter of the worst technology employment disaster in history, with a wife who didn't work and two young kids. I was pretty motivated to find gainful employment. For the past few years a friend of Scott's had run a small Internet Service Provider (
ISP) and had allowed him to host his server there in return for some occasional consulting.

Scott had set
Nessus up on his server, along with several other tools so he could use it to ethically hack client's Internet servers, only by request of course. One day when he was feeling particularly desperate Scott wrote a small Perl script that sent a simple cover letter to [email protected] X was a string starting with aa.com and eventually ending with zzzzzzzz.com. It would wait a few seconds between each email, and since these were to [email protected] he figured it was an appropriate form of spam. That’s what the jobs account is for anyway, right? Scott’s email very politely requested a job and briefly highlighted his career.

Well somewhere around 4,000 emails later he got shutdown, and his Internet domain was “
Black Holed”. For those not familiar with the Internet version of this term it essentially means no email from your domain even enters the Internet. If your ISP is a friend and he fixes it for you, he can run the risk of getting sucked in and all the domains he hosts as well get sucked into the void. To clean this up required some emails and phone calls at the highest levels and fixing the problem from the top down. It took two weeks and a fair amount of explaining to get his domain back online to the point were he could even send out an email again. Fortunately Scott always has at least several active email accounts. Also this work wasn’t in vein as he’d received a few consulting gigs as a result of the emails.