Formerly known as
A few days ago my last company disappeared.
Well, not exactly disappeared and not exactly a few days ago. But in a press release dated Monday, the ecommerce shop I founded, Canopy Commerce, was rebranded and folded back into its parent company, Alexander Interactive.
Canopy lasted roughly two years and built a successful portfolio of client work. We launched some pretty good stuff, frankly ("incredible success," per the press release) and had a pretty good time doing so. Several Canopy employees rolled into Ai with the name change, ensuring a smooth transition.
Back in 2010, when I was creating Canopy with Ai's owners, I advocated having a business unit and not a standalone company, so I am neither shocked nor disappointed that Canopy is now Ai-branded. My CEO role wasn't filled after I left, so this is a logical step.
I have been thinking a lot about this, though, and about the ephemeral nature of employment in general. I now have worked for three companies whose names no longer exist, not to mention my own currently dormant consulting shop. While one former employer became a client of mine, 13 years later, I'm at the point where I don't even know how to refer to some others.
For better or worse, people identify heavily with the work they do and where they do it. I typically recite with pride the places I've been, which is made harder when they disappear. It's a little soulless, a little confusing, a little disjointed. People's recall lessens. Web searches become less fruitful. LinkedIn profiles get messy. (I rolled up my Canopy title into Ai on my profile, for example.)
This is the nature of the business world, of course. I should be used to it as someone who specializes in Internet projects, where entire companies can disappear in a click; even my own website archives are full of missing files. But employers gone missing resonates in a different way.
Farewell, Canopy. We had an interesting run.