The falling to pieces of Gizmondo and its leader

What do you do to deal with running a company which spewed $400 million into the vast netherspace of nothingness in just a few years? How do you handle the pressure of something like this? And for that matter, how do you go from European jail cell to multi-million dollar earning executive in just a few years? Well, besides somehow getting a job (or at least a title) as a counter-terrorism expert for an unknown transit police force in California. All these details and more can be gleaned from the in-depth Wired article on the life, times, and secret life of Bo Stefan Eriksson.

THE BUMP IN THE ROAD that ended Bo Stefan Eriksson’s fantastic ride is practically invisible. From 10 feet away, all you can see is the ragged edge of a tar-seamed crack in an otherwise smooth sheet of pavement. Only the location is impressive – a sweet stretch of straightaway on California’s Pacific Coast Highway near El Pescador state beach, just past the eucalyptus-shaded mansions of the Malibu hills. On that patch of broken asphalt, there’s barely enough lip to stub a toe. Of course, when you hit it at close to 200 miles per hour, as police say Eriksson did in the predawn light last February 21, while behind the wheel of a 660-horsepower Ferrari Enzo, consequences magnify.

. . .

WHEN LOS ANGELES COUNTY sheriff’s deputy David Huelsen arrived at the scene of the accident, he thought Eriksson must be the luckiest person alive. That the man was standing by the side of the road after a crash of such intensity was an astonishing testament to Ferrari craftsmanship. The cherry red Enzo had sheared in half on impact with the pole, its back end blasting apart like a roadside bomb. “Multiple pieces of what appeared to be a vehicle,” as Huelsen put it, were spread across the length of four football fields. The chaparral and creosote along the shoulder of the road were riddled with fragments of smoking auto parts, and the shattered power pole dangled from sagging wires like the stiffened corpse of a hanged man. The Enzo’s carbon-fiber passenger compartment, though, was perfectly intact, a protective womb of inflated airbags from which the 44-year-old Eriksson had emerged with nothing but a split lip.

. . .

Huelsen was trying to get the story straight when Eriksson reached into his wallet and pulled out a card with an official state seal that said he was a member of an antiterrorism task force. Then an SUV and another car pulled alongside Huelsen’s police cruiser. Two men climbed out, quickly flashed what appeared to be badges, and identified themselves as homeland security officials. The men said they needed to speak to Eriksson immediately. The thoroughly boggled Huelsen radioed his sergeant at the Lost Hills station and asked what the hell he should do. Keep Eriksson at the scene, said the sergeant, who then dispatched helicopter and mountain rescue units to look for this Dietrich character. The helicopter crew soon reported that it saw no sign of anyone fleeing into the hills. With two men but no drivers, the whole thing was sounding fishy.

The article runs a bit long, at 6 pages, but it is quite interesting. If you already knew about Gizmondo and its spectacular crash, this will just reinforce the ideas you probably already had about the unlikelihood of Gizmondo’s success. If you aren’t familiar with the company, you’ll learn how not to run a tech company and why one shouldn’t fight the big guys (Sony and Nintendo, in this case) via the media until you actually have something to back up your bravado.