As any start-up founder will tell you, a company's origin story is an important part of any company's development. It can help distinguish your product, increase the visibility of your company and provide a shared set of values and common mission.
So of course we thought it was important to document the origin story for Rocket Insights. And we definitely thought it was important to keep it 100% factual and not include any exaggerations or inside jokes. Because we are a very serious company.
With that, may I present...the highly accurate, completely true founding story of Rocket Insights.
Founded by the Knickerbocker brothers in Newburyport, MA, Rocket Insights began as “Knickerbocker Damp Goods” a modest trading company, exporting stray cats to the Caribbean and hoarding whalebone to be used as a support material for corsets.
Emboldened by the company’s early economic success, the brothers swiftly expanded their interests to leverage the public’s growing fascination with mechanization. A new operating division was formed under Mortimer Scruggs, a family friend of the Knickerbockers, to build “electrically powered mechanical objects to both enrich and comfort the masses.” This division was named Kickerbocker Electrical Automations, which found some success with its Electrical Suction-Sweeper and a regional chain of phonograph parlors called “Scruggs 5 Cent Family Style Saloon”.
Under a cloud of false bootlegging charges, labor disputes and a growing obsession with spirit cabinets, Mortimer Scruggs was reassigned to the company’s new children’s diversions & surgical equipment division. Melba Knickerbocker - niece of the founding brothers - joined the firm to bring the company into a new era. Ms. Knickerbocker oversaw a period of unprecedented prosperity, introducing to market the Knickerbocker Sea Sickness Mask, Atomic Beauty Micrometer and Magic Cheese Chips.
With rising cheese dust costs & a swift downturn in public enthusiasm for vintage whalebone, Melba Knickerbocker recapitalized and rebranded the company to Rocket Insights & Sons. The name was chosen based on a deathbed utterance by Winston Knickerbocker, who stated cryptically, “there be rockets in sight!” It is unclear if this vision foretold the future of the company, or was simply the result of a faulty morphine drip.
The rebranded Rocket Insights & Sons struggled to find their footing in the 1950s. With underperforming sales of their core manufacturing divisions, the company launched an audacious new plan to focus on three core verticals; theme park development, recording artist management and shelf stable meat products.
Despite a tragedy at the company’s “Jungle Land” theme park in Lake Hopatcong, NJ - and the unexpected government recall of “Knickerbocker Old Tyme Deviled Ham” - the company weathered the 1950s largely due to the financial success of the recording artist management division. Management of hit acts such as Mungo Jerry, Bread and Yahowha 13 allowed the newly branded Rocket Insights to continue on into the 70s with an eye towards growth.
With the rise of low interest “junk” bonds, Mr. Scruggs wasted no time tapping the equity markets to expand Rocket Insights holdings. With a focus on the youth, entertainment & non-shelf stable packaged meats verticals, Rocket Insights acquired a minority stake in Colecovision, Scrapple, Spencer’s Gifts, Beefsteak Charlie’s restaurant chain, Archie Comics, TSR Games and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Citing an “irrational exuberance” for acquisitions with “no strategic value”, Mr. Scruggs was promptly removed from Rocket Insights by the company’s Board of Directors.
Saddled with corporate debt, and under new management, Rocket Insights pivoted once more to take advantage of the growing interest in technology and the World Wide Web. With the capital markets frothy over the dot com boom, the company was able to stabilize their fortunes with the successful exit of pickleafriend.com, turtlesoup.tv, whattowear.org and hikehound.com.
The start of the new century marked the beginning of the end for Rocket Insights. Having made a tidy profit selling Y2K survival blankets, Rocket made a number of bad investments that would ultimately prove its undoing. “Cuddle Lumps” - a children’s toy comprised of coal with eyes & feet - was a litigious, ecological and commercial disaster. Strategic investments in MySpace, Mini Laserdiscs and the Zune music player also took a considerable toll on the company. In what is now heralded as a “colossal error” on the part of the Board of Directors, the company invested its remaining free capital in Zimbabwe currency exchange. Mistaking the country’s hyper inflation as a sign of extreme wealth, then company president, Morris “Big Ed” Slapikoff was pictured in Newsweek magazine, holding a trillion dollar bill, and quoted as saying, “they give me a trillion of their dollars for one of my dollars! Where you gonna get a better deal then that?”
In early 2011, Rocket Insights declared bankruptcy to avoid creditors and the Zimbabwe Freedom Army. The company liquidated all remaining assets and shuttered their headquarters at 74 Water Street in Newburyport. President Morris “Big Ed” Slapikof started a new career, offering contaminated refrigerator disposal under his new moniker, “The Fridge Wizard”.
Having purchased the Rocket Insights trademark, logos and “all intellectual property (if any)” at auction, the current management team has brought Rocket Insights into a new era, with a keen appreciation to heed the warnings of the past and never overextend yourself. When asked if the company has finally found stable footing, founding partner Ashley Streb offers a comforting, affirmative, “absolutely!”
For the Rocket Insights team, the future is bright indeed.