Cross-Startup Stealth

The Enemy is Listening

I used to run a forum on zKorean, and in early 2005 I "came out" and let everyone know it was just me running the site. Over time I wanted to jump back in to stealth mode to avoid backlash from jerky decisions and accepting criticism. So I did. And I made it look like my site had been bought and a corporation was the now the decision-maker.

Back then, I was running other startups and didn't want them to be tainted with the privacy hole I had left, so I gave them a new company umbrella name (ReadyPrompt) and kept everything separate. I didn't want anyone to track me back to the other web property, out of fear that they would discover that it was just me, and link me back to the mess I had made.

If you feel you need to do this too for your startup, you'll need to make sure you have covered your tracks:

  • private domain registration
  • a different company name
  • different mailing address
  • different support e-mail
  • separate phone number
  • in extreme cases, a separate IP for your sites (putting your sites on different servers)

This is what they call "opsec" (operational security) in the Army (I was in there). Don't allow snippets of your activity out because an interested party can take these snippets and piece together your plan.

What you may discover (as I did) is that there are no interested parties that care enough to put the pieces together. You're not Apple, ya know.

Image courtesy USDoD

Next post: Exposition on the significance of the retweet

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