“Burning bridges” is an expression used when someone leaves a job, situation or some people behind and does so in a way that there is no turning back. I don’t know how long Paul Purdue’s iFulfill blog will remain up, but it’s a living, recent example of bridges being burnt.
It’s a fact that many business go under for many reasons. Lining up all of the variables required to make a business succeed is very difficult. But, very few businesses truly go under overnight. The owners know it’s coming.
The problem with the iFulfill story, as I see it, is that there’s an entry on 7⁄22 where Paul is talking about new infrastructure they’re developing and has a Dilbert cartoon included to reflect overdoing infrastructure. 7⁄22 was a Friday. On 7⁄25, 24 of the company’s 28 employees were let go and 350 merchants had their products stuck in iFulfill’s warehouse and their money stuck in iFulfill’s bank account.
I doubt things really changed that dramatically over the weekend, and I really hope that none of those 350 other small business owners are forced out of business because of delays in getting their products out.
I doubt that everyone else will read the iFulfill story the same way I did. I found out about it via Boing Boing, and there was apparently a BusinessWeek story about it. So, a lot of people are reading this story and making their own opinions. People who read just the topmost entry will appreciate Paul’s candor in what is surely a difficult situation. But, when I got to the 7⁄22 entry, my opinion changed to one of disbelief that someone who leave their customers in a lurch like that.