Jun. 17, 2003 - 11:47 a.m.
Upstate New York moves toward Friendster-based economy
(from Rochester Now! Magazine)
The internet site Friendster has moved to third place on a list of largest New York State employers, behind the prison system and dairy farms, and looks to be rising according to a state study published this week.
Friendster, which maintains a high-walled compound in an abandoned soy bean field outside of Utica, has experienced explosive growth.
"We're happy with the direction things have taken," said spokesperson Staci Morris. "We see more growth in our labor base over the coming year."
Employees of Friendster generally toil in the dark caverns below the compound, mining chunks of obsidian and quartz to power the website's massive server. The bodies of those that perish from the intense labor are fed into a large charnel that heats the compound.
"It's organic," said Morris. "A self-contained system. We believe this is the future of e-business."
Upstate city and town leaders think Friendster will lift the region's sagging economy.
"This is the internet. That's always good," said Michael Blum, mayor of Cortland. "It's technology. It's good jobs. My brother-in-law works there. He pushes a big wheel in a circle all day while a guy whips him. He's happy to be working."
The website has provided a new employment option for those in the troubled technology sector, including Alvin Marte, a computer engineer from Saratoga layed off by Ingram Micro Systems.
"They told me I would be doing programming," said Marte. "But then I found out that the whole thing is run by five people out of a small room in Stockton, California. Now I hit rocks with a pickaxe in complete darkness."
Friendster has plans to expand to a second compound near Batavia. It will specialize in the extraction of human electrolytes to power a new instant messaging system.