March 18, 2017 — No Power, No Problem

Not many people know that Cinch HQ was, in a prior life, a huge Borders bookstore (and many years prior to that, the headquarters building for the long-gone Boston Five Cent Savings Bank).  When Borders got Amazoned, the store was cut into two, escalators removed, and the second floor (where the science fiction section was, honestly) is now home to the Cinch team.  The first floor is now a huge Walgreens emporium that sells everything from band-aids to sushi (no kidding).

The point being that the building is historical.  We also found out late this week that some of the wiring is “historical” as well.  A fuse box started smoking, the lights went off, and the fire alarm alerted the entire building (including the sushi-stocked Walgreens below us).

What’s cool to me is how resilient our company is.  Both the amazing Cinch folks, and the system they are creating.  Thursday’s outage brought a standstill to Downtown Crossing as the Boston Fire Department rolled in to ensure there wasn’t any problem other than a smoking fuse box.  Those guys don’t screw around.  The building was emptied quickly and thoroughly searched.  Here’s the initial play by play on the Cinch response on our All slack channel:

Since Ben Katz, our CTO, created Cinch’s tech stack in a secure cloud environment, there was zero impact on our systems.  Nothing in the building hosted any Cinch services, so there was no impact technologically other than loss of our secure wifi.  The team spread out into various places near the office in real time.  Here’s part of the team in the mezzanine level of the building which had power.  A tight fit but work continues:

Besides these folks, there were others in and around the area, continuing the sprint and carrying on with their business activities.  Incredibly resilient.

So the power comes back on to the office around 6pm, and the electrician declares it all fixed since it carried load and held up.  But then yesterday, Friday morning …

So once again we were without power.  I wanted to have a more stable set-up than the day before, so I put up a couple of distress flares.  

When you’re in a pinch you really know who your friends and supporters are.  Within five minutes, my urgent email to John Chory, the legendary startup attorney and Cinch’s corporate counsel at Latham & Watkins, was answered.

The firm arranged literally within minutes to house the Cinch team at their extremely comfortable and well-appointed conference space in their Boston office.  Let’s just say the view was incredible for a team used to working on the second floor of a building surrounded by other buildings:

(nice photo Suzi)

And just as the day before, the Cinch team plugged in, wifi’ed up, and got back to work without skipping a beat.

Our sincerest thanks to the kind people at Latham & Watkins for taking in the team!  The hospitality and support was just fantastic and we truly appreciate it.  It turned into BAU within minutes thanks to them.  (I just hope we all don’t mind going back to our regular digs on School Street after that wonderful experience in the “original” Hancock Tower.  Let’s just say it isn’t quite the same 🙂 )

This week’s big impression on me?  We wrapped up yet another super-intense week capped off with a Thursday-Friday “surprise” — but without skipping a beat.  Team Cinch is a collection of remarkable skills and brains, and as importantly, they’re flexible, resilient, and roll with it in an easygoing and capable manner.  And this week was a testament to that. 

No power, no problem!


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