It turns out there is at least one person who likes AOL -- enough to even eat, sleep, shower and live out of its Palo Alto HQ like some sort of Silicon Valley hobo for months. Meet Eric Simons.
Eric was a crappy high school student with bad grades. Eric turned this failure into an idea for a startup, ClassConnect, which he says makes it easier for teachers to find and improvise interesting new lesson plans. Cool! Eric got a little cash from and the opportunity to work on his project at AOL over a summer -- then that cash ran out and all of his friends went away to university. So, like any normal 19-year-old, Eric decided to live at AOL.
The two-month luxury squat sounds pretty harrowing, as recounted to CNET:
He'd work until midnight or later, and then fall asleep around 2 a.m. on one of the couches. At 7 a.m. -- and no later than 8 a.m. so he'd be safely out of his field bed before anyone else arrived -- he'd wake up, go down to the gym for a workout and a shower, and then go back upstairs and scarf a breakfast of cereal and water or Coke. Then he'd work all day, finally waiting until everyone else in the building had gone home before returning to one of his three favoured couches.
After months of repeating this hellish cycle every single day, ClassConnect is up and running, and Eric is hustling to raise half a mil to expand the enterprise. A success story, sorta! Which leads us to believe AOL might be missing an opportunity to finally jumpstart itself for a new century: homeless shelter. [CNET]
Photo left: Araya Diaz/Getty