Quick update: Hey, just wanted to address some stuff.
It is not some evil plot that the company cannot talk about individual or cases. These are standard privacy rules for all companies.
That it was an execution. I think people are getting confused by the term that's used for it, but it's like "garbage collection" or "killing an object" -- sounds much worse than it is. Standard protocol for companies over a certain size is to get everyone affected into one room, everyone else into another. Nothing evil about it. I mean, it's not pleasant for anyone involved, but it's standard operating procedure.
Now: do you let people get closure with their friends afterwards at work? Usually not. I personally think Gaia is the exception, but they chose not to do it that way for whatever reason -- which is their perogative, it's the safe default.
Why doesn't Gaia say something? They just want to get the messaging right -- I mean, everyone needs to come up to speed on the new plan and get coordinated and whatnot. Give 'em a little bit.
Any bitterness? No, absolutely not. It's bittersweet: I loved working with the Gaian community, but I'm also really looking forward to something different. I have many friends still working at Gaia, and hope the best for them, and I'm sure that they'll do a swinging job at the new strategy.
If you want to do anything for me, you can leave a comment on this journal entry, and make this my most commented journal entry ever.
As always, I can be a little more honest and forthright in my journal, and I wanted to thank the community for the chance to interact and work with you over these past years.
Yes, another layoff -- bunch of senior people, bunch of artists, and probably the least important, me! Bunch of secondary stuff as a result, but I'll let the company make whatever announcement it deems fit on that.
It's part and parcel and endemic to this industry, unfortunately; the trials and tribulations of the technology sector, especially the social networking sector, mean that while you might continually have a job, it almost certainly will not be the same job.
Having been on both sides of this at various times, it's hard either way. On the one hand, you have people that are suddenly worrying about how they're going to make the rent (and, while CEOs might get the cushy layoff packages, the rank-and-file do not), and on the other hand you end up having to go to work and feeling a bit of survivor guilt and wondering whether it might not be time to look around.
It's sad leaving -- the people at Gaia are very special; to give you an example, during the last few layoffs, when everyone was told and the people that were staying were given the option to leave, many people stayed to help their friends through a difficult time. That's really unusual and really gives you the sense of the Gaia "family." (Unfortunately, for whatever reason, they did it this time with what we in the industry call the "gas chamber" method, which details I will not go into but should be pretty obvious).
The company is bound by privacy laws, and they can't legally talk about anyone that has left; anyone that gives specific details doesn't know what they're talking about (or is being really unethical, I guess) -- it's one of those things you just don't do. Like most industries, the ratio of pretentious blowhards to people that know what they're talking about is about 10 : 1, hah!
My big regret is not making it a user meeting, in all the years; I've had such great relationships with so many different people, it's really a pity that I didn't get a chance to meet you guys face-to-face.
And I'll miss especially working with the mods -- I didn't have a chance to do it recently, but I'll tell you that sitting in the Gaia #mod channel and reading their conversations is something that should be experienced by everyone at least once. You guys only see the tip of the iceberg for the work that our volunteer mods do -- they do 10x behind the scene, and they do it with a style and a passion and a sense of humor that is amazing.
However, you guys have made this place great (well, great any time I wasn't reducing gold payouts), and it was amazing to work someplace where we could push something and get feedback in 5 minutes.
You may still see me on occasionally -- I am going to wait for my few MCs to appreciate and then I will spend my golden years commissioning art, because while I have neither the funds nor the family nor the fancy monocle to be a patron of the arts in reality, I can definitely do it on Gaia!
But in the now, as I type this: I am sitting across the table from gracewar7 while drinking coffee at Paris Baguette in Palo Alto. I'm trying to block the sweet smell of carbs while we are planning out our new company and a new (educational) iPad app. Long shot? Definitely. Scary? Yeah. Will I be homeless after it fails? Potentially! But, it's something that maybe could take off, and maybe do some good for disadvantaged or disabled children, and doesn't that seem worth a risk? Life is short -- so why not take chances while you can? Why not try to change the world for the better?
But, if you're in the Bay Area, and see a homeless person, be extra nice to that homeless person: that homeless person might be me.
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