Will Goldberg trade people for short term profitability?
Pink slips could be in the not too distant future for half of Jobster’s 145 person workforce according to unnamed sources that have been whispering to GigaOM and John Cook, the Venture Capital beat reporter for the Seattle Post Intelligencer.
Jason Goldberg, the founder and CEO of Jobster had this to say on his blog about the whole story on December 22nd.
“truth is that i promised our shareholders that we would drive this company towards profitability in 2007 and that’s a promise i intend to keep. period.”
It looks like 2007 may bring interesting times over at Jobster. With a swap in the chief bean counter position now in place, and promises of a profitable 2007 swirling around the investor boardroom, Jason Goldberg will have to test his breathy vision against the invariable loss in trust that only layoffs can create.
Here’s my problem with all this.
Layoffs shouldn’t come easy, and they’re not part of any good business plan for a start up when revenue is growing in leaps and bounds as Jobster’s are. If layoffs were to happen now, it would signal to me that Jason Goldberg, his executive team, and his investors have screwed up. If 2007 profitability were a litmus test, as Jason declared earlier this year, then perhaps the hiring freeze that Jobster instituted recently could have come a little earlier? It’s hard for me to believe that Jason’s people strategy or go to plan would include a cannon fodder scenario (a military term for people being used as an expendable commodity) but you never know. Is Jason Goldberg a better BizDev talent than manager? It’s a pretty common scenario with founders. The vision, skill, and gumption that it takes to start a company (and make no mistake Jason has plenty of this secret sauce) don’t necessarily translate to managing a company successfully. The switch in CFO could have more to do with this than you may think. A smart board will push a visionary like Jason to surround themselves with the management talent to support the long term success of the business. And a smart leader will do the same thing and Jason is known for his smarts. It could be that Jason’s investors are giving him no other choice, either by an outright edict or in a nut twisting investor pressure that only $48 million dollars in investor funding can bring about.
So we’re left with three scenarios to mull over until Jobster makes its real plans public.
- Jobster management sucks
- Jobster’s investors have gotten cold feet and Jobster’s management have no choice but to placate them with major cost cutting
- These rumors are all a load of crap brought about by a disgruntled employee/s.
I’d have to favor number two, with a sprinkling of number three thrown in for good measure. What makes me worry about the rumors is the tone of Jason’s post that I linked to earlier, which struck me as condescending and defensive.
“truth is that i promised our shareholders that we would drive this company towards profitability in 2007 and that’s a promise i intend to keep. period.
you ever had to do that? it’s tough stuff. especially when you are in growth mode. but that’s what it takes to build a valuable business.
…and that’s what we’re doing over here at jobster.
what are you doing?”
[tags]Jobster, Jobster Layoffs[/tags]