"In 1999, when 22-year-old Linux developer Michael Jennings
accepted a job with the promising, albeit slightly obscure, West
Coast start-up company VA Linux Systems Inc., he had no idea he
would be participating in one of the biggest roller-coaster rides
in Silicon Valley history.
"'To be perfectly blunt about it, I had no idea what an IPO was
or what stock options meant,' admits Jennings.
"Three years and $1.4 billion in evaporated investors' money
later, Jennings can no longer feign ignorance. Like a farmer who
has seen a tornado from the inside, Jennings recalls the company's
historic first day of public trading with a mixture of bemusement