A stellar-mass black hole in orbit with a companion star located about 6,000 light years from Earth.
An artist’s illustration what astronomers think is happening within the Cygnus X-1 system. Cygnus X-1 is a so-called stellar-mass black hole

Scott left IBM in July of 2000 for a startup called Telleo. In March of 2001 the implosion of Telleo was evident, and although Scott had not been laid off, he voluntarily quit just before Telleo stopped paying on their IBM lease. If you didn’t live in Silicon Valley during 2001, imagine a large mining town where the mine has closed, this was close to what it was like, just on a much grander scale. Highway 101 had gone from packed during rush hour to what it typically looked like during the weekend. Venture Capitalists drew the purse strings closed, and if you weren’t running on revenue, you were out of business. Most dot-com startups were bleeding red monthly and eventually expired.

So now imagine being an unemployed technology executive in the epicenter of the worst technology employment disaster in history, with a wife who didn’t work and two young kids. Scott was pretty motivated to find gainful employment. For the past few years, a friend of his had run a small Internet Service Provider and had allowed him to host his server there in return for some occasional consulting.

Scott had set Nessus up on that server, along with several other tools so he could use it to ethically hack client’s Internet servers, only by request of course. One day when he was feeling particularly desperate, Scott wrote a small Perl script that sent a simple cover letter to jobs@x.com. Where “X” was a simple string starting with “aa” and eventually ending at “zzzzzzzz”. It would wait a few seconds between each email, and since these were to jobs@x.com Scott figured it was an appropriate e-mail blast. That’s what the “jobs” account is for anyway, right? Scott’s email very politely requested a position and briefly highlighted his career.

Well somewhere around 4,000 emails later he got shut down, and his Internet domain was Black Holed. For those not familiar with the Internet version of this term it essentially means no email from your domain even enters the Internet. If your ISP is a friend and he fixes it for you, he can run the risk of getting sucked in and all the domains he hosts get sucked into the void as well. To clean this up required some emails and phone calls at the highest levels and fixing the problem from the top down. It took two weeks, and a fair amount of explaining to get his domain back online to the point where he could even send out e-mail again. Fortunately, Scott always has at least several active e-mail accounts. Also, this work wasn’t in vain as he’d received a few consulting gigs as a result of the emails.