By Alexander Camelton
Senior Writer, Tech Tonic Weekly
Marc C. Rutabaga is CEO of Noodle!? which was voted #3 in Forbes Magazine’s Top Ten Startups of 2016. Noodle!? just got an infusion of $3 billion in venture capital money, making it the most well funded company of its kind. What makes Marc tick? How did he become the very face of technology? I visited him recently at one of his nine homes to find out.
Marc greets me at the door in his stocking feet and is looking a bit disheveled, even for a tech prodigy such as himself. “How are you, Marc?” is how I begin our conversation, thinking that is just a typical throw-away line that will produce nothing of substance, but that’s all that was needed to get Marc talking.
“I’m not very well, actually. I’ve been feeling like I’ve been fighting off a cold for about three weeks now. My immune system is shot. I’m in a constant state of ‘sick or about to be sick’. And that’s not even the worst part. I am so depressed. I can barely get out of bed in the morning. Just doing this interview is literally killing me. I would need three days’ bed rest to recover from this extroverted strenuousness, but of course, I don’t have the luxury for that. I haven’t had a day off in sixteen years.” Then Marc suffers an extended coughing fit.
While he’s scrambling to find some tissue in which to expel, I am left to my own devices. I am still in the entryway, since we never made it to the living room or office, or wherever this interview should be taking place, because Marc had launched straight into his monologue. Do I just stand here and wait, do I follow him, or go sit in what looks to be a living room? Before I can make a decision, Marc is back.
What, do you think there’s a god in the sky who cares about us? Do you think there’s a justice system on earth who is responsible for justice? Do you think that if you do all the right things, that it has very much bearing on whether one thing happens versus another? Are you that dumb?
-Marc C. Rutabaga
“I can’t believe this. I told her I was sick. Why didn’t she get more tissue? I can’t find a goddamn tissue in this whole thirteen million dollar house. What’s the point in having nine houses if you don’t have any tissue to cough your fucking brains into because you’re sick all the time because people need things from you every minute of every fucking day!”
I’m not sure how to respond, so I nod my head and look concerned, hoping Marc will allow me to rest my barking dogs. These shoes were not made for standing.
Marc finally leads me to the living room and I am relieved to be sitting down. I turn on my recorder, and Marc stops me immediately to ask what I’m doing. I explain that I’d like to record the interview like we’d agreed upon.
“I just don’t understand you people. You come into somebody’s house – into their lives – and you just want to take every last piece of them. Do you realize that my company is probably about to go under, and I’m about to be put on the street?”
When I remind Marc that he just got $3 billion in venture capital he gives me a look that I can’t quite puzzle out.
“You think $3 billion is going to save our ass? You think $3 billion is going to be enough to launch that space project that everyone is demanding of us? You think that in two to three years, I’m not going to be out on the street? This project is never going to work! The chances of it working are next to none!”
I am not sure if Marc is trolling me, so I’m not sure how to react. I decide to play it straight. “But Marc, if you don’t believe in the project, then why did Noodle!? take it on?”
“Do you think everything you take on is going to work out? I certainly don’t. Very few things I’ve ever attempted have worked out the way I expected. You can get the best engineers in the world together and pay them far above what they deserve, and does that guarantee success? No. Nothing guarantees anything. What, do you think there’s a god in the sky who cares about us? Do you think there’s a justice system on earth who is responsible for justice? Do you think that if you do all the right things, that it has very much bearing on whether one thing happens versus another? Are you that dumb?”
I shift in my seat and try to come up with the most innocuous response, to keep Marc talking. “I’m not sure, could you explain?”
“Can I explain? Can I explain why nothing will ever work out? Why humanity is driving itself to extinction? Why the world is a complete black hole of ethics and intelligence and reason? If I could explain that, would I need to work 28 hours a day to make a pile of money in order to afford enough experimental medications to block out my inability to accept meaninglessness? You know what Alexander? I’m going to need you to leave now. You have just caused me three kinds of cancer. I can feel my cells changing as I look at your ignorant face. Get out!”
I picked up my recorder and bag and ran out with Marc chasing and screaming after me. While this wasn’t the interview I had expected, it made me feel so confident about Noodle!? that I went out and bought a thousand shares that afternoon.