[Originally published September 13, 2011.]

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To: Alice

First day of school. Sucks, huh? This class is so boring. I hate long division. Anyway, I like you. I set up a Tumblr for you while we were supposed to be doing #5. Just a poll with your name as the site’s title:

ALICE
Do you like me?
Click yes or no.
Yes: 0 votes
No: 0 votes.

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To: Bobby

Yes: 1 vote
No: 0 votes

I’ve liked you ever since we had recess together last year. This is awesome! Can’t wait for lunch next period. We should hold hands. Here’s a heart I just downloaded for you: <3

P.S. I just liked the Alice site on Facebook.

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To: Alice 

Thanks for the heart, and I can’t wait to hold hands, but I really didn’t want to take this to Facebook, yet. The Alice site isn’t ready, and I didn’t want anyone linking into it at this phase. I can see over Tim Mackey’s shoulder that he’s looking at the Alice site right now. My problem with this is that a good portion of the class got the news that you like me before even I did. Communication is key, here.

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To: Bobby

Sorry I Facebook liked the Alice site. I honestly don’t see why that’s such a problem, though. The comments have been overwhelmingly positive. I was even putting the finishing touches on a joint Tumblr account, in case we really did go public with this before the bell rang, but I’ll just put the brakes on that for now.

P.S.— The site Nestor set up for Jen had links going in right away, and he didn’t make a big deal about it.  And that site was SEO, too.

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To: Alice

I like you–-not in a search-optimized way, but in an old fashioned, authentic way. I’m not sure you’re understanding our brand. I see you went forward with the Alice and Bobby site anyway, and just now tweeted a link to it on top of it. We’re not status official on Facebook yet, so this is all just going to come off as confusing with the other kids. If this is going to work, we need to coordinate across platforms. I’m mentioning you in a tweet, tagged #alicenbobbyclarification.

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To: Bobby

I retweeted your tweet, and take full responsibility for this. The buzz was forced there, and I see that now. We have to keep expectations low on a venture like this— position ourselves to exceed expectations (think Brad and Jess).  We’re on the same page now: mum’s the word, at least until next period.

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To: Alice

Well, the cat’s out of the bag, and we have backers, now—the Alice and Bobby site is being overrun by comments— so we may as well just stay the course. There’s a lot of interest in us; I’m even seeing some comments from the 5th graders. We’re hot right now, Alice, but my main concern is overvaluation— a roomful of kids expecting chocolate milk, and we show up with plain. We’re not even sure if we look good on paper at this point, let alone how we’d scale to the lunchroom were we to go public at the bell, which is why I really wanted to stay bootstrap on this, crazy as that may sound.

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To: Bobby

I’m a little confused. Are you saying you’re embarrassed to be seen with me at lunch? You’re right about one thing, though: we do have a lot of people backing us on this, and I think it would be a mistake to show any skittishness on your part. With so many of the other kids invested in Bobby and Alice, do you really want to appear bearish, now? We could at least try pivoting and re-launching, if worse came to worst.

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To: Alice

It’s not about how we look in the lunchroom, Alice. Just read the comments. “Are you two going to kiss at recess?” “Alice and Bobby sittin’ in a tree.”  “Love." “Marriage.” There’s even talk of a baby carriage, here. Do we even know the first thing about any of this? I mean, really? I heard how babies are made from Joey Demetrelis during recess, but I’ve seen people trying to collapse baby carriages, Alice, and I’m not sure we even have the right skill set for that. And k-i-s-s-i-n-g? In a tree? Neither of us can get even halfway up the rope in gym, for God’s sake.

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To: Bobby

You know what? FINE. You’re right.  We were in over our heads to begin with on this—now we’re underwater. I guess it’s true what they say: it’s hard to recognize a bubble until after it bursts. I’m posting the announcement on our ill-fated Tumblr. We owe everyone at least that much.

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OVERVIEW
The Alice and Bobby Bust:
Problem Analysis, Where We Failed

  • Inexperienced management.
  • Critical communication problems between Bobby and me.
  • Grew too fast, too early.
  • Should have built on WordPress.
  • Lack of passion and motivation (especially on Bobby’s part).
  • Unconventional accounting metrics diminished our integrity with the other kids.
  • Ultimate inability to translate our popularity into a viable relationship model.
  • Failure on my part to take into account the inherent intractability of the total grossness of boys.