What a difference a month makes

by Volker Weber



A month ago thousands of people at IBM got their notice. No, they were not fired, they were told to find a new job within IBM. Musical chairs, just without any free chairs. So, the 30 days are now over and -- without being fired -- those fine people are now without a job. Rob is one of them, and what a fine gentleman he is. You have heard of him before.

BlackBerrys and Domino - you would think that IBM needs all the help it can get in this area. Apparently not, according to some spreadsheet in the sky. Sad.


Yeah - this shocked me.

Apparently yesterday and today a lot of folks walk out the door.

You know, at Lotusphere a very very distinguished irreplaceable part of the Lotus team said to me 'Come and support me at the [eventname] - that way my boss wont lay me off' and I thought this person was kidding.

No. Even very visible, leading people within Lotus can find the 'IBM Random Job Terminator' pointing at them. (And yet useless tree-huggers remain).

Thats why I like working for myself. If I screw up, I suffer. And I dont have to do all the other tedious big-corporate bullshit like sucking up to the boss, showering every day or turning up to the office dressed.

Increasingly I think of large corporates as slow, lumbering elephants with less and less actual development or technical skill themselves, who rely on small 'fleas' like me to be able to develop new product.

Its a shame to see IBM - usually one of the largest patent producing companies in the world - fall into this 'Outsource to India, Lay off people who have been there for 20 years, we dont need core technical skills'.

(Dont get me wrong - there's a huge pool of very talented and very motivated people in India. However, there's also a massive job churn rate, where your very lucky to retain staff for more than 9 months. And a tie-wearing, lumbering, multi-management lard-layer elephant like IBM really cant react quickly enough to keep core staff)

But hey, profits are up. So who cares about delivery.

Very short sighted. Very un-IBM.

---* Bill

Bill Buchan, 2009-02-25

How does that work - why is it the last day if they haven't been fired...? Are they still being paid..?


Frank Koehntopp, 2009-02-25

Of course they are fired. It's IBM's way of doing so. It is now called "resource actioned", a.k.a. "made redundant", "layed off". "Reduction if force", lots of names are invented to spin it.

Volker Weber, 2009-02-25

Presenting with Rob over the last two years has been a real privilege, and I hope I get a chance to do it again. One lucky company will get a very solid, talented new employee in Rob.

At various times in my career I've thought maybe working for IBM would be an interesting step up. That didn't happen but I'm very grateful to have the employer and role I have now.

Jason Hook, 2009-02-25

This includes Ian Hughes a.k.a. ePredator, former IBM Metaverse evangelist: http://epredator.blogspot.com/2009/02/new-era-begins.html

I didn't see the connection before this blog entry ...

Dirk Krause, 2009-02-25

I think if we would list all the names of people related to the domino world and affected by the recent IBM, shoot yourself in the foot by "resource actioning" someone to keep the billion $ profit up, round, we would perhaps be really surprised.

Thomas Schulte, 2009-02-25

I met Rob years ago when the marriage of wireless and Domino was little more than the fusion of beta code and market speak. Working from essentially vapor documentation and solid intuition, he built a prototype for a Domino ISV that wowed customers and vendors alike and marked a new direction in the ISV's product development.

Rob's considerable experience is only exceeded by his enthusiasm and positivity. He is someone who can "make it work", while getting people excited about the possibilities.

Besides all that, Rob is easy to collaborate with and has a great sense of humor.

Matt Marnett, 2009-02-25

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