Adapting to Change on the Reef

Left Image: I was stunned by the diversity and co-existence of thousands of species at this tropical reef exhibit

Change is coming, whether you like it or not. Jive software, a company I formerly cover slashed 1/3rd of it’s workforce (see update below), likely in response to it’s own VCs suggestion to slash costs to become cash flow positive in the now famous RIP Good Times preso. Cutting 33% closer to 20% of your body off to make sure you can still float in a few years is cutting very, very deep, no doubt customer service will be impacted, and a slow down in the product roadmap.

(Update: I spoke to Sam Lawrence of Jive’s marketing last night, and learned that the layoffs were actually closer to 20%, not the 33% that was reported, I’ve since updated the post)

Coincidently, I’m having a meeting with a VC over at Sequoia (have had this planned for a while) and believe me, the economy is one discussion we’ll be having and how it applies to the social media space. I’ll also discuss how this one is different from the dot com bust.

On Monday on my “day off” I went to the brand new California Academy of Sciences in SF, and was amazed and stunned by the phillipine tropical reef, one of the largest of that kind. There were thousands of species of fish within this exhibit, that many were co-dependent, co-operative, symbiotic and in some cases –parasitic.

I see the world through an ‘internet lens’ everything I see or do relates back to my passion, web strategy. I saw a quote that was gilded to the floor that completely resonated with me, and the changes in our reef.


[It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change -Darwin]

Expect to see more slashes and cuts, even from strong and intelligent companies who are gearing up for the long haul, In a morbid (but necceary function as an analyst) I’m keeping track of these layoffs, but also feature new hires and jobs.

Recommended Reading:
Here’s a few opinions and news that I’m reading that discusses the impacts of an economic downturn and it’s impact on social media, and the web and general. Really take the time to read these.

O’Reilly Media: Effect of the Depression on Technology

Video: Tech Players that May Benefit from the Financial Crisis

Richard MacManus of RWW What’s Next After Web 2.0

Adage: Even Search Not Immune to Financial Malaise

SFGate: Venture capital slashed $476 million in quarter

Fast Forward: In uncertain times, Enterprise 2.0 takes the stage

Direct Marketing News: To gain market share in a recession, try social marketing

Dave McClure: Fear is the Mind Killer of the Silicon Valley Entrepreneur (we must be Muad’Dib, not Clark Kent)

If you have any reactions to any of these articles, or want to submit a related one, please leave a comment below.

Here comes the humans to mess it all up...Darwin Quote
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  • http://www.afpr.com Andrew Finkle

    I would add, a recent post from my blog; Tips for running Mean & Lean (for startups);

    http://www.afpr.com/2008/10/startup-funding-how-to-be-lean.html

    http://www.twitter.com/A_F

  • http://www.toprankmarketing.com Lee Odden

    Now more than ever, marketing organizations need to be adaptable to change. Thanks for the reading list Jeremiah.

    One marketing channel that has been resilient during lean economic times is search marketing. The SEO consultants I know are experiencing an influx of new business right now as companies shift marketing budgets from traditional to digital.

    For those in-house marketers looking for SEO tips of particular relevance to leaner marketing budgets, I would offer this post: “Recession Proof SEO Tips“.

  • http://www.web-strategist.com/blog/ jeremiah_owyang

    Andrew, good post, thanks for sharing, lean and mean is the goal of many of these deep cuts.

    Thanks Lee, I’m thinking that Social Media Marketing while low cost, is labor intensive, we should explore that more.

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  • http://www.mediabadger.com Webconomist

    Excellent resources; thanks! I will use some of these as we go forward.

    We had a take on the impact as well;
    http://www.mediabadger.com/2008/10/how-will-the-slowdown-impact-social-media/

    Thanks again!

  • http://shalabh.wordpress.com Shalabh Pandey

    Hi Jeremiah,
    I posted a somewhat related article on my blog on Digital Media
    http://shalabh.wordpress.com/2008/10/11/recession-digital-media-world-says-no-sweat/
    on how the digital world need not fear as much as many other industries read other media)

    Though one is downturn or recession proof, the internet world has survived and come back with a better version this has happened- as a matter of fact, if you ask me, web usage surges during times of crisis.
    Something similar is happening here- and as the world waits and watches with fingers crossed, the digital media growth story will unfold faster.

  • http://500hats.typepad.com dave mcclure

    thanks for the hat tip J :)

  • http://dearlydevoted.blogspot.com cindy wong

    thanks jeremiah for those links!
    it paints an interesting picture about how the tech community can persevere under the economic downturn. good reading.

    my digital media classmates and i are pondering how this will affect seattle and its tech hub.

  • http://www.theappgap.com/leveraging-the-virtual-workspace-during-a-recession.html hylton jolliffe

    Another to call your attention to, from Celine Roque of The AppGap:
    Leveraging the Virtual Workspace During a Recession:
    http://www.theappgap.com/leveraging-the-virtual-workspace-during-a-recession.html

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  • http://conniebensen.com/ Connie Bensen

    There seems to be a lot of interest in the social media monitoring space. I’m helping Techrigy to build community & brand for their product SM2. Organizations are moving online & listening is the first step. Analytics are going to be more important than ever in justifying spending on digital efforts.

    And there is a lot of interest in community building. There are more job openings than people to fill them.

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