Anyone remember X.com in Omaha?
Back in March 27, 2000, I was summoned to the Greater Omaha Chamber of Commerce board room for a press conference. On the 2nd floor of the Chamber’s one-time headquarters at 13th and Harney, state of Nebraska political officials, Chamber executives and a representative from a Palo Alto-based company announced that it would build a customer support facility.
The company was X.com.
As the editor of a semi-monthly print publication for the chamber of commerce, the expectation was that I would write it up for the next edition. I didn’t write much (see image and cringe at the headline–I know I do), but I still remember that press conference for appearing hastily assembled and executed, with a handful of press and little detail.
I also remember that X.com didn’t last long, quickly becoming PayPal, which my English major brain didn’t quite understand initially. I only learned later about mergers and acquisitions–and that largely from Succession.
PayPal went on to hire more than the 500 people they initially announced. I knew folks who worked there on the phones and in software and IT. Mostly people complained that PayPal paid poorly, which the folks I knew said it came of a start-up mentality, even though by the time they worked there, PayPal had been in the area more than 10 years.
The other day I was driving down I-80 past their sprawling suburban office building and noticed that the building said “Kiewit,” not “PayPal,” as it had for so many years. Apparently, the building was sold this spring. Twenty-plus years is not nothing, but it is also not that much, especially considering how the new tenant has been around Omaha for more than 100 years and has left some enduring legacies, like the Livestock Exchange building, an architectural jewel in the heart of the former stockyards.
Frankly, I don’t expect X.com to last any longer in its current iteration than it did in its last. I expect it will get acquired and probably get a new name again. And in 20 years, it will reemerge once more like a cicada with a wonky internal clock.