I bet Michael Arrington will quit AOL on…


…September 28, 2011.

Conceivian, the Startup Lab I joined a month ago, has just launched a fun project so people can bet when Michael Arrington will quit AOL, and we called it http://www.WhenWillMichaelQuit.com.

While trying to catch some Zs last Wednesday I start to wonder when will Michael Arrington quit AOL. I actually was thinking about it in the context of many of my entrepreneur friends who are “locked” into contracts for many years after their acquisition. On one case, the entrepreneur couldn’t manage to stay a whole year at the new large tech company and walked away from a lot of money.

See, depending on the company (and the deal), it’s pretty hard to have free-spirited entrepreneurs being “locked” into the large company “jail”. It has nothing to do with the merits of the larger company, but everything to do with how smaller business and large business work. There is a sea of differences and when you think you know how bad it is and how you are going to manage, your learn that entrepreneurs working at very large companies is a soul-killer move.

I’m pretty sure — scratch that, I’m 100% sure — Michael Arrington will not stay the full 3 years for his earn-out (there is a rumor he’ll get about $15M extra in earn-outs, which could be $5M per year he works there).

Why not create a site?

This is when I started thinking about a website for people to bet when they think Michael Arrington will quit. People could just pick a date, and we would see a distribution of exactly when people think it will happen. Fun.

On Thursday, after a long afternoon of discussions related to another Conceivian project, and just before I left the office, I dropped a line to the team, like… “What do you guys think of a website where people can leave a guess when Michael Arrington will quit AOL?” After a few stares I left for the day.

After a full day of work on Friday, around 4pm I asked people if they had thought about it. Everyone were on board. In less than one hour we spec’d the user experience, we made a short to-do list, we decide what was not in scope, and got everything ready to be done on Monday.

Getting to work…

On Monday we got cranking. We’ve designed and built the site. We integrated email, RSS, Twitter and Facebook. We prepared the go-to-market plan (yep, we did that). We talked about legal issues, liabilities, conversion and finished 80% of the product. Our goal was pretty ambitious. Build most of it on Monday, have a beta for friends on Tuesday afternoon. Sneak preview to the press on Tuesday night. Fix the final blocking bugs and prepare for production by Wednesday morning, and announce it as soon as we felt it was a “go”.

There you have it: http://www.whenwillmichaelquit.com/

Read the official blog post from the launch at WWMQ and a different angle at Conceivian’s blog.

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