'How Did This Happen?'

Published on .

Subject: To the Staff of The Standard
Sent: 8/16/01 5:22 PM

Staff -

I have some terrible news to relate, news you will have read in the press today.

Unfortunately the members of the board were unable to agree to terms which would have funded the company going forward, and we have been forced to suspend publication of the magazine immediately and reorganize for a quick sale of assets. This most likely will involve filing Chapter 11, which will protect the company's assets as we move through this process.

I cannot put in words the sorrow and pain this causes me personally, and I know this is shared by all of you. I know you have a million questions, and we will be working as hard as we can to answer them all as soon as we can. Monday we have meetings planned for the whole staff and we hope to give you all the information we possibly can. I will be in New York, Ann Marie [McGowan, chief operating officer], Joan [Burke, senior VP-human resources administration], and Jonathan [Weber, editor in chief] will be in SF. Rich [Marino, chief executive officer], as many of you may know, has left the company.

I am sure the first and most difficult question you may have is "How did this happen?" I wish I had a simple answer, but I don't. Certainly our difficulties were precipitated by this historic market downturn. But, in fact, the story is far more complicated than that. And I am not the most objective teller of that tale.

When I look at what we've accomplished, I am extremely proud, and deeply upset, that it's come to this. You all have been part of something historic and journalistically extraordinary, and that's a fact. I still believe The Standard will find a home and a long term future somewhere. Some of the press accounts say we could not find a buyer. Again, the truth is far more complicated. I remain optimistic that potential buyers will find incredible potential in The Standard. However, we are now forced to take drastic measures, rather than go through an orderly sale process.

My thoughts and wishes are with you, and I thank you for everything you've given to this company. I'll speak to you all on Monday.

My best,


John Battelle Chairman The Standard Intelligence for the Information Economy

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