Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Couldn't Be Less Proud

A couple of years before I was axed at Reuters in a reorganization putsch our very savvy Editor in Chief was asked a long question at one of those town-hall-like meetings with the staff I can't imagine any senior manager looks forward to. The gist was, what do we have to be happy about, what with all the cuts and lack of optimism. His answer was brief: "Be happy you have a job."

The questioner (one of my direct reports) and I, and our four other colleagues didn't appreciate how much we should have taken that particular advice to heart. After all, we were the golden children whose product had unbelievable margins well after the internet news contraction: we were the innovators, the go-to trusted team.

It can happen to anybody.

It's happening now, again, in Silicon V/Alley, as VCs keep their powder dry in an industry where nurturing the possible is still a lengthy and expensive proposition.

We are keeping track of this, in a horse-race sort of way, with the wired.com tech layoff tracker. It's mainly by the numbers but I'm hoping the comments give us all a sense of what is going on out there in startup land, rather than just tossing numbers around. Let me tell you -- that never tells the whole story.

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