The best part of Snapfish were the things you couldn’t get from 2,000 miles away. When I was in San Francisco I didn’t want to come home, and when I was in St. Louis I didn’t want to leave. Sometimes Bill would call when I’d be at the office late or out with friends, and I’d feel like he’d caught me cheating. I tried balancing for eight months, and it became clear that I couldn’t keep both lovers forever. Something had to give.
Before I moved back to St. Louis, Thursday’s all-hands meetings were one of my favorite Snapfish traditions. We'd share a few bottles of wine, run through the latest numbers, introduce new employees, and blow off a little steam before heading back to work. When I was back in St. Louis, phoning in to all-hands meetings became the low point of my weeks, a depressing reminder of everything I was missing.
This particular Thursday found me unshowered in my pajamas (again), teeth still unbrushed at 6pm. A forgotten ghost in the little black holes of the speaker phone, I was straining desperately to hear what everyone on the line was laughing about when my cat, who’d been lazing silently on the floor behind me, suddenly exploded into a writhing, yowling Pet Cemetary lookalike, spewing bodily fluids all over me and most of the room. Projectile style. From every orifice. Even his eyes were leaking.
I burst into sobs – sobs that no one on the other end of the line could hear over their own merriment. I couldn’t even get their attention to apologize for having to hang up. I had to leave a voicemail for my boss at his desk; you know, your typical “while you guys were having fun drinking wine my cat turned into Blair from the Exorcist so I’m taking him to the hospital and if he dies it’s all your fault” kind of voicemail.
A few weeks later, I gave my notice.
They threw two parties for me – two! My amazing first boss Deanna surprised me with a girls-only cupcake fete. They made me a wish box and every woman in the office put something meaningful and personal in it. I cried. Then we had an official happy hour to say goodbye, and it seemed like the entire company came! Engineers who I thought ate and slept under their desks came. Most of the senior team came. I cried some more.
St. Louis doesn’t have a lot of consumer software companies. I spent a few months contracting at a small shop, then joined a huge agency, and finally landed at a really nice, small, b-to-b software company.
I liked all of these jobs just fine. But about a year after leaving Snapfish, I finally figured it out: if I really wanted an experience like Snapfish again? Where I actually made stuff that people used? And I wanted to be in St. Louis? I’d probably have to build it myself.
That’s when Makaboo was born.