• Sam Needleman and Lyla Triling

Was Your Small Business Absorbed by a Corporate Conglomerate?

Affirmative

By Sam Needleman


Dear Investors,


As president and sole member of the Board of Trustees of SomeOfTheHole™, America’s favorite beverage company founded by and for students, I’m pleased to announce that after weeks of internal deliberation, we’ve decided to sell the business to an international conglomerate that also got its start here at Columbia— Grater,ThenIt’sParts™, now known worldwide as the industry leader in buying used mandolins from Enclave residents and selling the scraps on the southeast corner of 114th and Broadway.


What potential could this conglomerate possibly see in a little company like ours, you ask, as you stare admiringly across your sunlit open kitchen at all the Big Reuse furniture you bought when you sold your heirloom mandolins to G,TIP™ for a handsome profit? I’m gonna let you in on a little secret. Ever since Alison Roman admitted she uses a mandolin to make the shallot pasta, hardly anyone’s been coughing up their gentle graters in exchange for distressed-credenza money. That’s right—G,TIP™ was in the red, and they thought an acquisition would turn things around. Also, they were just audited for tax fraud.

What better product to boost sales and public image than SomeOftheHole, the beverage that’s been proven by the FDA President’s Weirdest Son, SEAS ’23, to inspire unfettered corporate ingenuity among drinkers? We’re the leader in student startups with highly specific yet utterly futile missions—and the leader in inspiring students to launch their own startups with highly specific yet utterly futile missions. You know our origin story, but let me share again our triumph of late-night capitalism: Last year, after a few too many piss-warm Rolling Rocks at 1020, I ambled toward Gourmet 109 and was blessed to discover the magical properties of Amsterdam gutter water when I keeled over to hurl in the sewer hole just outside Eli’s Wine Bar.


I knew then and there that I had to offer my fellow students the same entrepreneurial elixir—I had to bottle that shit. Within a week, I had built an aqueduct straight to a stolen lab in Havemeyer, then another from there to my intern’s toilet in Hartley, where I completed the singular brew with residue from springtime sewer Covid. How does it work? It’s simple: Chemicals in the gutter water mix with the special chemical that swells Columbia students’ heads to release enterprising hormones. After just a few sips, you’ll internally confirm your longstanding hunch that your success in life is not only compatible with the creation of a self-serving brand—it depends on it! G,TIP™ knew that only a company with SomeOftheHole™’s vision and track record could resuscitate its limp corpse of a company.


Since our carbonated gutter water went on the market, the Columbia beverage sector alone has flooded the patent office in Kent: LayLow™, which makes you collapse on the steps the second Jagdish Bhagwati walks by; Laidlow™, which grants you the Laidlaw fellowship then gets you laid by another recipient; Lulavlow™, which makes you invisible during Sukkot so Hasidic men on the sidewalk can’t foist the frond of a date palm tree upon you; and LudlowLow™, which invents and sends clever excuses for you to skip your suitemate’s third annual Lower East Side rooftop birthday bash. They’re all on tap now in the storm drain outside Koronet.


SomeOfTheHole has also inspired no shortage of campus nonprofits. We’re proud of our hard-working peers who are just a couple of rungs down the avarice ladder from us. There’s the collective of burned-out sophomores at SlumpLord™ who are committed to evicting adjuncts from their apartments and donating the land to Manhattanville’s office overflow program; Higher & Higher™, which connects high-income students to other high-income students, who then tutor the first group of high-income students’ younger siblings pro bono, then maybe smoke them up in Riverside if they get into Columbia; Résúmé™, a network of NUMTOT dilettantes who hang hard copies of internship applications from the Diana staircase and sprinkle them with accents at no charge; and PolyPrep™, which generously helps students plan for the long, painful transition away from monogamy, in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of B.A. in Comparative Literature and Society.

It’s no wonder that a corporate conglomerate ran after us. To the uggos who suggest that both Grater,ThenIt’sParts™ and SomeOfTheHole™ are just joining forces so they can meld names to undo their egregious distortions of a classic Aristotle quote that’s worked its way into the contemporary lexicon, I say, you think I did the reading? To the even uglier uggos who have inquired as to whether Grater,ThenIt’sParts™ is merely attempting to drag SomeOfTheHole™ to hell with it, I scoff and take another sip. To the ugliest uggos who point to the recent Times investigation in which G,TIP™’s founder and CEO said on the record that his tax-fraud plea deal with the IRS requires him to “make a contribution to America’s future by helping to nip other Columbia startups in the bud by buying them up and abolishing them from the inside,” I say … Wait, what? Was that actually on the record?



Illustration by Hart Hallos

Negative

By Lyla Trilling


Let’s slow down for a second. Whitney’s White Jeans for Wegular Women™ has always and will always be committed to providing accessible white jeans to women of all shapes and sizes (and if you don’t know why white jeans aren’t already accessible, get out of here! You can get your white jeans at Zara, you skinny bitch!). Nothing, not even a multi-million-dollar deal with a sizable corporation, will change our mission. Further, I’d like to refrain from using the word “absorb.” Absorption implies a loss of identity, and WWJ4WW is certainly still the same lively grassroots organization that we’ve always been. So yes, we made a deal with a company, but we were not absorbed by said company. Imagine it as a sort of filial bond, in which WWJ4WW is pressed up against the breast of a larger, richer company, drinking their warm, nurturing milk in a completely detached and autonomous way. So, actually, to answer your question—no, we did not get “absorbed” by a “corporate” “conglomerate.”


The inspiration for Whitney’s White Jeans came to me on a rainy Tuesday afternoon, after my chubby, type-2-diabetic friend, Tina, told me that she worked out with a photo of white jeans taped to her elliptical. “Tina,” I told her, “we must figure out a way for you to wear white jeans without the barrier of body fat obstructing you from your dreams! And we must do it in a carbon-neutral manufacturing setting!” And so we did. My interns (unpaid) and I formed a beautiful workshop in the basement of a Jewish Deli. There, surrounded by the sweet scent of cured meats and Poland, we crafted the shit out of those white jeans using only upcycled Drake lyrics (“Bout to set it off in this bitch, Jada Pinket”) and white feathers.


We are often asked: “How did you make white jeans that so effortlessly hide the dimpled fat deposits above my knees?” This accomplishment obviously stems from our innovative shapewear technology—every jean size is carefully modeled after the body of a Bravo TV Real Housewife. Lost a little weight? You’ll glide right into a “Lisa Rinna.” Too much pinot grigio at your ex-husband’s engagement dinner? A “Kathy Hilton” might just be the size for you. (I’m a “Kyle Richards,” for reference.)


So, of course, with our female-forward, body-positive messaging, it was important that WWJ4WW partnered with companies that shared our goals. When BLOINK: By Women For Women approached us, it was a no-brainer—we’ve admired their adult Bat Mitzvah dresses for years. And for those of you who are “hip” to the “news”: Yes. BLOINK: By Women For Women was purchased by FLOOSH: It’s a Man’s World! You probably know FLOOSH from their partner company Azealia Banking™, which is responsible for stellar podcasts like The Joe Rogan Experience and movies like Christopher Nolan’s 202o smash-hit Tenet. So as you can see, we’ve maintained our ethos by partnering with like-minded companies.


WWJ4WW is attempting to breach the male-dominated spheres of influence that look down upon cellulite-exposing white jeans. So if a flurry of “I’m slightly right of center!” imagery just fluttered through your brain at the mention of Joey Roges, fear not. We’ve made tangible strides in the male internet community. Take, for example, this post from r/GuysNamedLindsey. U/ThickDickDaddie writes: “Anyone else think girls with a little extra weight are so fucking cute?” And just like that, we did it, Joe.


At WWJ4WW, we take pride in each customer’s satisfaction with our product—satisfaction that has only grown since we made this new deal. Don’t believe us? Take a gander at some of our recent Yelp reviews:


KingCorn69 ✭✭✭✭✭

Great Jeans! I’ve never felt so confident in my life!


Beastmode420 ✭✭✭✭✭

Excellent Jeans to curl up on the couch and watch Christopher Nolan’s 2020 smash-hit Tenet with!!! A+!


Vapeonmyface62 ✭✭✭✭✭

Slay!!! J’adore!!!!!


Doncheadle_boss✭✭✭✭✭

Hides ALL my insecurities. Also, Christopher Nolan historically gives women really complex roles in all of his films!


So what’s next for WWJ4WW? I’m thrilled to announce that our summer 2021 denim line will be released this very month! Our new “Wegular Jeans for New Mommys” are equipped with a complex notification system, one that buzzes your ankles every time Emily Ratajkowski posts a photo of her tits on Instagram. We also have our “My Infant Child Has Woowend my Sex Life” jeans, which notify you every time a Mad Men character wears grey sweatpants in public. But the collection would not be complete without the “Pay Attention to Me, Daddy!” jeans, which play Radiohead songs through a tiny rectal speaker when your partner spends too much time playing fantasy soccer online.


At WWJ4WW, all we ask for is the same amount of trust that Mary Cosby of “The Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” had in her grandmother. (—“So he’s not your blood grandfather?” —“No, that’s incest. He’s not my blood at all. I did marry him. I didn’t want to, Heather. I didn’t want to. That’s weird to me. But my grandmother really did want me to, so I obeyed her. I trusted every word.”) Trust that we are still a small business, trust that our products are still top-notch, trust that we have no ulterior motives. Trust that no matter what you look like, our jeans will always be there for you (unless you watched the Friends reunion, in which case, there is no saving you).


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