Not that I didn’t expect it, though.
This isn’t in the Pit because I’m not really angry about it, but I still felt like making an announcement. Sorry about the length.
When I first interviewed with these guys last July, they seemed like a pretty good company. The software product they were developing was fairly advanced, and filled a definite e-business need, both here in Japan and in the US. According to them, it would be ready for release at the end of August, and they needed someone (me) to write their technical and marketing documents for the US market.
Then reality set in. It became apparent that the COO had no idea what he was doing, and the CEO, while perhaps a decent programmer, knew nothing about business and just went along with whatever the COO said. There was still no product at the beginning of October, nothing I wrote was kept for more than a few days, and our long-term goals were changing regularly based on whatever the COO had seen on the last cover of Businessweek.
Hope. We got a new COO, an Australian guy who kicked butts, took names, asked questions, listened to answers and made decisions. We now had a plan: the software project was going nowhere, but there were lots of overseas companies that wanted to break into the Japanese market. If we offered our services as consultants to these companies, we could find plenty of clients. We spent the next month working until midnight every night getting ready for the November Comdex convention in Las Vegas. Success! They loved us. We had dozens of companies who wanted to use our services, and several more who wanted to provide the consultants we would need. Our VCs agreed to invest another $5 million. We had a service, we had clients, we had a future.
We had a problem. The CEO’s feelings were hurt that the software project, his little baby, was being neglected. He was more insulted that the VCs were complimenting the COO’s ideas over his. In December, he came to a decision: The COO was demoted, the consulting project was scrapped, and the software project was again to be the company’s main focus. We were instructed not to contact any of the people we had met at Comdex (not only a bad business practice, but just plain rude). When our guy in charge of overseas sales (an American) had trouble printing, his computer was taken away, only to be brought back later with his email records and address book erased. Morale sagged.
It’s now February. The VC money is rapidly running out. There is still no product, and there never will be. Any jump this company might have had on the rest of the industry is long gone. With each passing day this company slides into a pit of Kafkaesque absurdity that would make Scott Adams blanche (here’s an example of our shining leadership a few posts down). The directors have now decided to save what little money is left by firing off staff members, starting with the highest-paid non-executives. Last week they fired two people on the grounds that their expertise was in international business, which the company no longer needed. True enough, but the CEO doesn’t want to admit that they’re being fired for financial reasons, as this would reflect badly on his leadership. Instead, they were asked to quit, with the warning that if they didn’t, reasons for a disciplanry firing would found. I was just called in for my meeting with HR this morning. The former COO will probably be next.
I’m not that worried, though. I get paid for February and March, plus I have a weekend job that covers rent, utilities and food on it’s own, plus I have plenty in my savings account. I just felt like getting this off my chest before I go home today and tell my fiancee what happened (As I was typing this, an email from her came in. The first line was “You didn’t get laid off, did you?”:rolleyes:.)
Any dopers in the Tokyo area looking for a writer/consultant with tech and marketing experience?