Layoffs suck. But what is little appreciated is that they are great catalysts for change. I have now been laid off two times. The first was back in 2000 during the first recession to hit our industry. The second was last month. The first led to better things, I'm sure the second will as well.
I'm exploring all kinds of possibilities from starting something new to joining one of many companies that are better and more likely to succeed than MySpace, which was the last place that I hung my hat.
For those of you who don't know - mainly because I was never allowed to blog about anything work related until now - I co-founded FIMLabs, an R&D arm of FIM. Our quiet little group created products like SpringWidgets.com, the new design for the MySpace Mobile iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Wap and a lot of other things for Fox Interactive Media and MySpace including several top secret initiatives, MySpace and MySpace product designs and redesigns, new product prototypes and new ideas with completely fleshed out business models.
My team and I started the company from the inside and Influenced several tens of millions of dollars in revenue by doing so. We were integral to the creation of several very successful products, were the most prolific patent producers at FIM, had close to a 100% retention rate and we were probably the most frugal company that Rupert Murdoch owned, though I doubt that he knew anything about us.
I did get the chance to hang out with a childhood friend of Rupert's while traveling on FIM business and from his description Rupert sounded like someone that I'd have enjoyed meeting.
I personally met with and gave advice to everyone from the CEOs of both FIM and MySpace on down and in some cases, had they listened, my suggestions could potentially have allowed MySpace to remain the number one social network instead of on a fast track to third fiddle. But that is fodder for a book and not a blog post. (publishers, feel free to contact me at your convenience)
The best part of the last few years has been working with my team: The bright shiny people in this picture. (except for Bart, Lisa, Homer and Marge, who are in my garage waiting for an eBay sale) The picture is missing a couple people who joined after we took this, but this is the only group picture that I have)
We shared blood, sweat and tears as we climbed Mount MySpace trying to make a positive influence and meeting new challenges at nearly every step. Working at FIM has been a hard road, but my teammates made it a worthwhile journey.
I've been spending most of the last month trying to get members of my team work to do or jobs to take. As for my situation - I'm pretty well padded and have some time to consider options. Perhaps I'll use the next few months to try and start cleaning up my life again ;-) Maybe visit a soup kitchen and work the ladle? Maybe I should become human again.
Alas... I have time to consider the options.
For your amusement, I've added myself to the chart in this picture (original found here). The picture itself is a pretty scary image and I'm wondering when the curve back to normal happens. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I do think it could be a while. Potentially years.
Here is to hoping that Obama has the vision and the right people to get things fixed. In the meantime, it might get ugly. I'd recommend that you pretend like you are about to get laid off as well and save accordingly.
If you are interested on knowing more about me, check out my linked in page: Don on LinkedIn
If you owe me money, here is your chance to pay me back with perfect timing ;-)
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