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Monday, December 8, 2008

Bad News From the West Coast

I just saw the news that Adobe is laying off 600 people (Charles Jeter's blog). Details are pretty sketchy here on the east coast, but it sounds like their San Diego facility will be emptied (~50 people there). Seems like Adobe is making a habit of Grinching, as they have in the past turfed people just before Christmas.

It remains to be seen which product groups will be hardest hit, but there is bound to be some effect on the Tech Publishing products. I am interested to see how the US vs global layoff numbers stack up, but I can guess.

It is a shame really, both for the people, and in my opinion, the company and the country. There is so much focus on the short term and the quick buck, and guess what got us to the crisis we find ourselves in?

If companies (and stockholders) were more willing to look more long term, and hunker down and take it if they have losses, maybe we wouldn't go through this kind of crap every 10 years or so.

Then again, if people who want deregulation would realize that deregulation opens the doors to thievery and greed. But those same people act as if a couple who take on a bad mortgage and get foreclosed on are walking away with the money. It is actually the sellers who take away the money and the brokers who take their piece, and the buyers who lose their home. In every one of those bad loans, somebody walked away with a big pile of cash, and while someone who sells a piece of property deserves to be paid for it, I am convinced there were scams going on to drive up the prices, and contrived sales to take profits.

Look at that example in MA where a bank president made a loan to a state senator, and then joined his election campaign, took money as a consultant, but used that money that was supposed to finance the campaign to pay off the home loan for the state senator. That smells like something they wouldn't sell at Legal Seafoods. Do I think that is an isolated case. Simply, no.

Back to the layoffs. Like I said, if companies did it the old way, with temporary shutdowns and pay cuts, and taking a hit to keep their company together, I think we would be better off. But like that company in Chicago, if the bank cuts them off, they literally have to shutter their workplace. But why is an American company cut off that way by the very banks that taxpayers are bailing out? It stretches credibility.

I love how the Auto execs are getting the third degree, but Citibank gets a huge bailout in the dark of night with very little discussion or criticism. Why? Because bank employees have no union, and bankers know where the bodies (figuratively speaking) are buried. Money is the circulatory system and the Fed is the heart. Stop the heart and the body dies. So the big time Fed banks like Citi and BoA call the tune.

Anyway, I am glad that Madcap is doing so well, because lots of their people were on the receiving side of pink slips not that long ago, and it shows that people can rebound and build new success stories out of disasters. But I never hoped that would happen at the cost to Adobe employees, even though I recommended that our group cut its bets on RoboHelp when Macromedia had its CFIT (Controlled flight into terrain). I hope the next innovative and fast growing company arises out of the people that Adobe has given up on.