How One Funny Email Almost Changed My Career

In 2006 it was time that I left my job at Palm. When you leave a job in tech, you send a goodbye email.

When you think yourself a fun and funny co-worker, you want that email to be hilarious.

Subject: Where’s DWF? as of 6/2

Thanks so much for your good wishes in the past week. Many of you have asked what I’m going to be doing after Palm. You know I can’t keep a secret from you guys for long. So here are the details.

I’ve decided to get out of the crazy world of high tech and pursue success in the low-margin, high hype world of the beverage industry. It won’t be long before my line of energy drinks, GoJ (pronounced “GO-J”), hits the shelves of your local quickie-, super- or mega-mart.

GoJ will start with good old-fashioned orange juice and finish laced with the FDA maximum concentration of caffeine. None of this high fructose corn syrup water that tastes like it might have been mixed in an orange container. Instead we’ll use only the best fresh-squeezed, flash-pasteurized juice mixed with the purest caffeine molecules our state-of-the-art laboratory can synthesize.

Our first target customers are the Slashdot crowd, selling them on the fact that one 500ml bottle not only has the equivalent caffeine to 6 cans of Jolt Cola or 4 cans of Red Bull (or just one cup of 2nd-floor Peet’s coffee), but it also meets their recommended daily allowance of fruits and vegetables. The web ad campaign, with our initial slogan “I’m on it!”, will run late summer featuring none other than Palm’s own <NAME REDACTED>.

Next we’ll move to a broader customer base with other flavors, including lemonade, strawberry-kiwi, and a proprietary blend of guava, apple, starfruit and pineapple we’re calling “GoJ-GASP.”

At some point we’ll need a sports celebrity spokesperson. I’m thrilled to announce that we’re in negotiations to sign Barry Bonds. Millions of kids will drink GoJ and declare under oath our new slogan “It’s the juice!”

Keep in touch. I’m on LinkedIn. And if ever want to make the leap out of tech, we’ll be looking for people to drive the delivery trucks.

I got the laughs, kudos and high-fives I wanted. And I went on with my last days. But funny emails get forwarded.

My last few days were spent explaining the joke. And the references. And the fact that no, I didn’t have any juice you could try. Or delivery trucks. Or job applications. Or a job.

Three weeks later, I got a call from a friend-of-a-friend-of-a-coworker who was a beverage distributor in LA. I think he wanted to invest.

Eight years later, at a Handspring/Palm reunion party I was talking shop with someone who received the email directly that day. She looked at me, squinted and asked, “Wait. I thought you were making juice?”

I guess I do.

You may know me from such projects as Jasmine: BDD for JavaScript, P is for Pivotal Labs and Gee, Your Pork Butt Smells Terrific

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