If you were to log in, you'd be able to get more information on your fellow community member.
Philip: You took aD from $10,000 ($'93) to $20M in Revenues ('00), right? I'd bet you could get over $100,000 to restart, you'd already have a sterling reputation, you could probably get a few REALLY good programmers to work for you, and (the key part) keep the current Open Source version of ACS to build upon! Then, let ArsDigitsSpent keep doing what they are doing with what they have, do what you would love, and kick their butt! Sounds like the aD episode is a case of spreadsheet-blindness: the numbers that one can produce on a spreadsheet are not necessarily rooted in reality. When the numbers fail to take into account "irrational" or "touchy-feely" aspects (such as relationship building, trust, a sense of community, educational opportunities, or charitable giving), then the numbers are random in nature. The sad thing is many companies/people use these numbers to bet the firm every day...
With all due respect... Far more "shrewd" businessmen than PG have succumbed to the influence and control of a "friendly" VC. There is an article in the May issue of Inc magazine (not online yet) that discusses several companies that have experienced similar predicaments as ArsDigita. I forget the numbers, but the number of top mgmt changes of companies following VC investment was very high. Sadly, in the cases profiled, the script is generally the same.
0. Founder(s) seeks VC investment
1. VC invests in company (not necessarily founders)
2. VC decides to shift direction of company
3. VC pounds the table to take the company to the next level
4. VC recruits new mgmt team/board of directors for abrupt change
5. Authority of founder(s) subjugated by new mgmt
Here the script digresses. Either the founder(s) can fight (which usually seems to hasten the disjunction) or he/she/they can acquiesce (which is often too passive for someone who ha...