In March 2007, the staff at TerraPass (TRP), a for-profit carbon offset provider headquartered in San Francisco, decided to take a 30-minute break from the conference room in which they had been meeting. Tom Arnold, the CEO, and Alicia Seiger, the VP of Business Development, were still deep in conversation about how best to handle a critical article that had just been published in BusinessWeek, a respected magazine with one million readers. The executives were concerned that the article could jeopardize TerraPass’s Series A financing, which was currently underway. They also worried about the impact the negative publicity might have on the company’s strategic partnerships with the Ford Motor Company and Expedia.com, as well as on the reputation that the start up had worked so hard to build with its customers. Given the stakes involved, it seemed critical for TerraPass to respond to the article within a matter of hours. However, Arnold and Seiger had yet to settle on a strategy. The clock kept ticking as they discussed what to do.
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