Late nights at the office. Eating ramen. Relentless A/B testing. These are the things you think of when you imagine working for a startup. Running from Moscone Center security while pushing heavy machinery? Not so much. Yet that’s exactly what happened to Rich, Charlie and I yesterday (For background, check out this article from our friends at TechCrunch).
We knew there was underlying resentment towards PayPal’s policies on freezing accounts, as we’ve heard countless horror stories first-hand from many of our new customers. There’s no better feeling than when we can provide our customers with a service that’s simple and empowering…except when we do so while freeing them from a solution that is cumbersome and frustrating.
Did we get in a little trouble? Eh, sort of. It was absolutely worth it, though. Thanks to all of you for your tweets, Facebook messages, and e-mails. We’re glad you liked our prank.
Many of you have asked to see pictures and videos of our stunt. We’re happy to give you a few below.
Picking up our truck. Yes, it’s a little bit bigger than what we probably needed. But sometimes it’s entirely necessary to kill a spider with a sledgehammer. We figured better too big than too small.
We bought three 300-pound blocks of ice from a local vendor, and had them delivered to WePay HQ in Palo Alto the night before. Even though we only needed two blocks, we got three. Just in case we accidentally smashed one. Most of us left our winter gloves back East, and moving heavy blocks of ice can be both slippery and numbing.
Once we got one of the blocks on its side, we laid the money and lettering on top (guiding folks towards a landing page, UnfreezeYourMoney.com). Slowly, we then lowered another block on top, and tied them together overnight so that they could melt together.
It was pure luck that the weather in Palo Alto got down to the 40′s that night. The ice melted just enough to fuse the two blocks together, but not enough to leak out any of the money or lettering.
Sadly, we didn’t take video of the trickiest part of the ordeal — lowering a 600 pound block of ice off of a truck that’s 5 feet off the ground. It took about a half hour, but we (somehow) succeeded. Frozen water is deceptively heavy, so if you see Rich, Charlie, or myself hobbling around like Patrick Ewing: The Later Years over the next couple of days…you’ll know why.
The Drop. You’ll notice the video cuts out just as I turn to see a security guard approaching Rich and I. Sadly, we do not have COPS-style video of the chase. We know, we know.
The security guard that gave chase was quick. The fastest I’ve ever seen a man run while in a suit. Seriously. Lightning fast. It was immediately clear we’d be caught if the chase continued, so we decided to stop and protect ourselves. We would not cede any ground, nor risk any vandalism to our frigid work of art. One passerby was nice enough to snap a picture of us holding our ground. I will include it here, totally unedited, for your viewing pleasure.
Eventually, we agreed to keep our protest moving. We have a developer community ourselves, and didn’t want to interfere with engineers getting into the conference hall. So we propped the ice blocks back on the forklift and kept walking along the block, passing out WePay cards to people walking by. We had to let the people know there was a better PayPal alternative and an easier way to collect money.
The time finally came for us to leave. Rather than let our art fall into the wrong hands, we scuttled our sculpture. After giving away all of the money inside, we climbed back in our truck and headed back to the valley.