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PR By the Pound

The valley is a funny place. These days, the economic calls to action for most were the stock market's roller coaster ride, banks going out of business and the government agreeing to $700 billion bailouts. Not in the valley though.

What got everybody moving in these parts was The Sequoia Deck. (Note the all caps).

Since everyone has seen it by now, I don't need to imbed it - but for those who haven't, the message was simple: cut costs now. By the way, I have no issue with the message of the deck - running a lean ship is something that every entrepreneur in good times and bad should strive for. But in times where money raising will prove challenging, it's especially important.

No, what raises my eyebrow is the lightening speed in which some reacted. In what seems like only hours after this deck was made public, the announcements of layoffs came. Really? Hours or days is all it took?

Didn't the companies have to spend some time looking at the org chart, re-visiting the budget, figuring out cash needs, re-analyzing the burn rate, talking to backers, socializing decisions with management, coming up with a plan to execute, etc. These are typically very hard, emotional decisions. And some did this in hours/ days? Huh.

We're now hearing that actually some of these layoffs weren't layoffs, but "as a once-in-a-startup opportunity to get rid of the deadwood in the company." That makes sense to me to. Trimming the fat is always a good idea.

But what wouldn't make sense to me is that if there was another reason that the layoffs happened so quickly. That some figured that if they could lay some people off, they could get some PR out of it. A unique opportunity to be a first mover in the suddenly chic strategy of layoffs. Hmmmmm....Nah, I'm probably being way too cynical.


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