Google Layoffs May Affect 30k Workers. Sort of…

Google Layoffs – 10,000 Workers Affected reports WebGuild with a bombastic title.  I can beat that: all Google workers will be affected, at least emotionally. 

As to what the real numbers are, several sources point out that while employee headcount is around 20K, Google has about 10K temporary workers, so whichever way you count, laying off 10K workers would equate to:

  • eliminating all the temp positions
  • letting go 30% of the (extended) workforce, which seems to be the Silicon Valley rule
  • cutting the employee headcount to half (if we ignore temps)

Either way it sounds way too dramatic, a step companies in deep structural trouble would resort to.  I seriously doubt this is really coming, but let me be clear: I have no factual information, am simply speculating, or actually responding to speculation.

But there’s something else worth noticing here: the source.  WebGuild had a bit of a clash with Google this spring, when Google withdrew their support of the WebGuild events it used to host.   Their stated reason was WebGuild’s refusal to change the name of their Web 2.0  Conference & Expo, at O’Reilly’s request. Here are the juicy details in a WebGuild post aptly titled Shame On You Tim O’Reilly.  Without getting into details of the original conflict,  suffice to say that WebGuild has been on somewhat of a vendetta against Google ever since.   They’ve been a little bit too trigger-happy with posts reflecting negatively on Google.

Once again, I do not have factual information, but if this indeed turns out to be false information, I wonder if WebGuild went a step too far this time.  (Remember the Steve Jobs death story?)


Damn, I Want to be a Developer … in Boulder, Colorado

Too bad I am not.  Which is why I don’t qualify for this all expenses paid trip to Boulder:

And the pitch:

Boulder Needs More Kickass Developers

Want a FREE trip to beautiful Boulder, Colorado? The Boulder tech scene is growing like crazy. Twenty of our top tech startups (you can see a few in the sidebar) have banded together to fly in one hundred top software developers, programmers and engineers from across the country, all expenses paid. You can apply to be one of the hundred.

So here we go, getting our daily dose of layoff news, while Boulder startups are in shortage of talent.  Good developers are still worth gold … somewhere. (They mine gold in Coloradosmile_wink)

Developers.  Not Management, Marketing, Sales – not the MBA’s.  And that’s the clue to understanding a lot of the differences between the startup world we have today and during the late 90’s bubble.

Back then startups got VC-funded and part of the deal was bringing in “pro” management teams: the MBA-types and former corporate Executives who flooded the Valley in the hope of IPO-riches.  Founders found themselves in VP / Director positions, or got pushed out, if not, they were left wondering how their little baby got to hundreds of employees so fast and just what all these new managers were doing with their company.  Then the bubble burst, and the imported Exec’s rushed back to the safety of the corporate world leaving the wreckage behind.

Today most Web 2.0 startups are run by the original Founder, often a developer him/herself. This is now the age of the technologist, not the business manager. The roles are reversed.  These CEO’s, Founders, team members won’t jump ship – the ship is theirs, and there’s nowhere to run back anyway.  One more reason to be optimistic about their survival.

In the meantime, here’s a preview of what it’s like to work in Colorado, also home of TechStars and Defrag (use discount code zoli1 to get $300 off @Defrag)

(Originally posted @ CloudAve.  To stay up-to-date on SaaS, Cloud Computing and Business, grab the CloudAve Feed here)