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skeptic 12/4/2012 | 11:24:39 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? Your analysis is correct on some points, but
your off-base in talking so much about startups.
Every big company had exactly the same problems
as the startups did and wasted just as much

There were hiring booms at every big company,
lots of money thrown around and tremenous number
of projects that ended up being written off.

And your use of the phrase "stable jobs" in
comparison to startups didn't work then and
doesn't work now. So-called "stable jobs"
have been more unpredictable than startups.
At least at many startups, there is a sense
that the best employees should not be laid
off. I seen people who thought they had
"stable jobs" for life, and who were top
performers get thrown out the door anyway.
Some people consider a completely arbitrary
layoff these days as prefrable to actually
making choices about individuals.

The lession of the last few years is that
you have to go with the best opportunity that
presents itself. And any mis-placed sense of
loyalty to a big company is going to get you
"rewarded" with lower pay and no job security
no matter how good or valued you think you are.

shaggy 12/4/2012 | 11:24:39 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? So-called "stable jobs"
have been more unpredictable than startups.
At least at many startups, there is a sense
that the best employees should not be laid
off. I seen people who thought they had
"stable jobs" for life, and who were top
performers get thrown out the door anyway.

good point. Allow me to use Corning, once again as an example.

Corning, a 150 year old company, that used to espouse "cradle to grave' employment policies, was regarded as a large, stable entity in the growing tleelcom industry. Folks who got jobs there considered themselves set, if not for life, then at least as long as they chose to stay.

Funny how I know more survivors at startups over the past 5 years than I know remaining corning employees. The whole of PTD was laid waste. Sure, some got to go to Avanex, but the cutting ain't don yet, by a long shot.

Just reinforcing Skeptic's point- there are no so-called stable jobs. You take what you believe presents the best opportunity for you, and you take your chances. No one else is going to care care of you but You.
rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 11:24:39 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? The rules and objectives of a VC-funded company are typically pretty well understood.

Maybe it's not only the telecom rules that need to be redefined. And maybe a focus on the objectives is the only way out of this mess.

Here's one. A well respected, and known to be tough, general partner claims to be a builder of markets. Yet here's the web site position:


We cannot afford to wait for markets to develop and we do not have the money or inclination to educate customers to buy products they don't know they need. We like investments with the potential to blossom into markets over $1 billion. That size allows room for error and also provides enough headroom to build an enduring company.

Which is it? And, more importantly, how are markets formed? Are these VCs, and their portfolios, no match for Tammany Hall? Why not just retire on the hilltops with the rest of the bunch? The little people won't bother you that way.
rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 11:24:37 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? No one else is going to care care of you but You.

Unfortunately, this belief system fails miserably when one needs a quadruple bypass, even for the cardiac surgeons amongst us.

There are DeBakey's out there. They don't hide in the hilltops and expect everybody else to do all the work so they can make one billion dollars.


A world- renowned medical pioneer, Dr. Michael Ellis DeBakey has helped raise the standard of health care for all mankind. A review of DeBakey's list of accomplishments, from his innovations in open-heart surgery to his recent pioneering work in the field of telemedicine, is a catalog of many of the greatest accomplishments in the history of medicine.

PS. Don't believe Brokaw. The WWII generation sets a much better example than those who inherited their benefits of their efforts, and went on to put future generations into so much financial indebtedness :-(

More on DeBakey:

At age 88, DeBakey is a senior attending surgeon at The Methodist Hospital, the largest hospital in the Texas Medical Center. He is also chancellor emeritus of Baylor College of Medicine, a center for leading medical education and research.

Born in Louisiana, DeBakey received his Bachelor's and medical degrees from Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He completed his internship at Charity Hospital in New Orleans, and residency in surgery at the University of Strasbourg, France and at the University of Heidelberg, Germany.

While in medical school and actively engaged in medical research, DeBakey invented the roller pump, later to become a major component of the heart-lung machine used in open-heart surgery. He is also credited with inventing and perfecting other medical devices, techniques, and procedures that have saved countless lives and led to health hearts for millions throughout the world.

DeBakey volunteered for military service during World War II, and was subsequently named director of the Surgical Consultants' Division of the U.S. Surgeon General's office. His work in that office led to the development of mobile army surgical hospital (MASH units). He later helped establish the specialized medical and surgical center system for treating military personnel returning from war, subsequently the Veteran's Administration Medical Center System.

Over the years, DeBakey has earned an impressive reputation as an international medical statesman. He has served as an advisor to nearly every United States president for the past 50 years, as well as to heads of state throughout the world. DeBakey's efforts helped establish the National Library of Medicine, which is now the world's largest and most prestigious repository of medical archives. More recently, his 1996 trip to Russia to consult on the surgery of Russian president Boris Yeltsin was reported by every major news medial outlet around the world.

This prolific surgeon and humanitarian has performed more than 60,000 cardiovascular procedures and has trained thousands of surgeons who practice around the world. In 1976, his students founded the Michael E. DeBakey International Surgical Society. His name is affixed to a number of organizations, centers for learning, and projects devoted to medical education and health education for the general public.
wittcourt1 12/4/2012 | 11:24:36 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line?
Urgent! Petition to save American jobs. Sign up now.

The Grimes Labor equalization Surcharge

Corporate American has absolutely gone berserk and it was unavoidable. On its own, Corporate American, will not and cannot stop itself. As more and more companies go offshore for cheap labor, others have to follow, or they can't compete. If they don't follow, they'll be out of business. Congress has to intervene.

The Surcharge isn't designed to collect taxes. Its purpose is to end the exodus of American jobs offshore and force Corporate America to bring back the jobs already lost.

The Grimes Labor Equalization Surcharge will equalize the foreign labor rate (an average of $1.20 an hour) to a comparable American rate (in the case of the Big Three, $52.85 an hour including indirect expense). A savings to Corporate America: of $ 51.65 per man-hour. Below are the saving per week, month and year.

Savings one week: $2066,00
Savings one month: 8884.00
Savings one year: 106.608.00

That's only one man. That's why your jobs are leaving this country. And they arenGÇÖt coming back unless you take action now!

The Labor Equalization Surcharge also applies to foreign workers holding H-1B visas.

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crapshooter 12/4/2012 | 11:24:36 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? rjmcmahon wrote:

Sometimes I wonder if the lack of business experience is really the missing ingredient. What business experience did Dave Packard and William Hewlett have when they started what used to be known as HP?


Yes, a lack of business experience is most certainly the missing ingredient for many startups. Guys like Dave Packard and William Hewlett (and others) were visionaries, with passion to succeed. My CEO, for example, spent 20 years in a lab. His vision doesn't extend beyond building a great R&D department. Nice, but that doesn't pay the bills. Moving to a manufacturing business model (to say we even have a "business model" is a stretch) has been difficult. The shortcomings of our senior management team are glaring in this down market.
jiggerypokery 12/4/2012 | 11:24:36 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? Maybe not ALL good guys. Some of the founders moved to acquire all of the Valo intellectual property for themselves before the chairs were even empty.

By closing and restarting the company instead of doing a layoff, all the existing debt is retired, the equity gets concentrated, and the former employees get no benefits at all.
yesteryear 12/4/2012 | 11:24:35 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? Oh now wait a minute...

Some real old timer with the right data and story, please hop in on this one, because I'm sure to get it wrong... but the cutesy little "HP starting in the garage"-story is just a bunch of hooey...

Both Hewlett and Packard were astute business people. Don't ever forget that. They had a ton of business experience and "vision"... yeah... the vision to see that the government needed the silly little signal generator they first built...

Why and how did they know?

Didn't they work initially together at Ramo-Woolridge... what later became the Ramo-Woolridge of the Thomson company... or TRW??? Didn't they have massive insight into what the government/military needed, and then jumped on that? Doesn't the cutesy story of the first eight audio oscillators sold to Disney for Fantasia just make the history colorful, and the REAL success came from the THOUSANDS that the government bought and needed for that little event after HP's founding in 1939, called WORLD WAR II? Didn't Simon Ramo NOT want to deal with doing piddly little signal generators and that's why HP even had the opportunity to go off and do it? Because it was small potatoes in terms of the systems engineering that RW was aiming for... And didn't they get tremendous help from both the government and RW to start their "little production" in their garage...

Come on... somebody fix up the story because I surely slaughtered it, having heard it at least 15 years ago... and it was ancient history then.

Of course they turned it into a big company, but don't kid yourselves... Both Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard were amongst the most astute of astute business people, and opportunists, and capitalist extraordinaire. This fairytale vision of two guys just hacking something up in a garage is just crap company folklore... It's now passing into legend... but it just wasn't that neat and tidy. Fantasia, indeed!

rjmcmahon 12/4/2012 | 11:24:32 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? they ALL worked at General Electric

What did it take to build that company?

Empires of Light. Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse and the Race to Electrify the World, by Jill Jonnes, may give some in our industry insights about the challenges ahead.
yesteryear 12/4/2012 | 11:24:32 PM
re: Headcount: Buddy Can You Share a Line? See, I knew I would get it wrong... I tried looking up the Ramo-HP connection, and as it turns out Ramo-Woolridge was not founded until the fifties... BUT... there is a Ramo-Woolridge connection to Dave and Bill... they ALL worked at General Electric (I guess that's where I heard that they got their insight into what the gov/military wanted in terms of upcoming contracts...)

Come on, now... who out there knows the real history here... not the one reported by HP itself glamorizing their garage and history. There aren't that many people who know the story first-hand anymore, but I am sure there are one or two lurkers...

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