It is a FACT that right now the infrastructure business in a state of turmoil and disruption. Anyone that thinks they are immune (in large businesses, or in startups) is delusional. There are macro forces at play, from Open Source, Public Cloud, new workload types. convergence of stacks into complete offers, SaaS, wide global disparity and change in GDP growth rates, new economic models – and much, much more.
Today I found out about a startup with some friends that is going through some unfortunate restructuring – which prompted this blog post.
Likewise a lot of ink got written on EMC’s own “beginning of year” restructuring that took place at the beginning of the year. We’ve done some form of restructuring for the last few years, and this year was roughly in the same ballpark.
… and something similar recently affected VMware, where I was surprised to see the impact to some of VMware’s teams – but I’m sure it’s part of a larger plan on where to focus, and invest.
As hard as it is to say – during a time of disruption, everyone (large and small) has a duty to be really vigilant and constantly be shifting, moving, rebalancing, and making hard (very hard) decisions on where to invest and de-invest.
I’ve also found that when these things happen – good people are impacted – sometimes because their geography is disproportionately hit, or their job function is changing/moving. As much as possible, everyone scrambles (I know I do) to catch as many people as possible.
I can say that because I understand personally. When I think back on my career – I’ve been restructured/laid off/RIFed 3 times. One time I had to lay off my whole team, then fire myself, and close the door behind me.
It’s simply not a time to be static (individually or at the corporate level). And consider – while very hard on the people affected – the worst move is to just try to “buckle and bear down” to get through the storm. Try that, and ultimately you hurt more people It’s critical for the larger group, the larger corpus of the business to move, to adapt, to shift.
Speaking of ink, one article got written specifically about VCE and the Santa Clara office. I spent time with the team there last week – as I wanted to talk to them face. Of all the EMC locations with a heavy VCE presence, the Bay Area office happened to be impacted the most heavily. We had a good, healthy dialog – and I’m glad that insofar as I can see/impact – EMC has worked hard to try to treat everyone restructured with as much respect as possible. The people deserve it.
But – there is another important part of the story – something I really didn’t visualize until you look at the shape of the business zooming out.
Forgive my chicken scratch, but wanted to get this out quickly. What this shows is that over the course of a year, you enter with a certain amount of dollars spent on the most important resource – people. Over the year, every quarter, you add more, even with some amount of attrition offsetting growth. Then you end the year at a certain of spend (the “X” on the chart). For the next year, if you literally just “froze” in place and did NOTHING, the total spend is up around 4% compared with the year prior (the hashed area under the dotted line is more than the area under the step function in the year prior. If your revenues don’t climb by that same 4% or more – your earnings just declined.
The smarter move (IMO) is to follow the blue line. Use the time to rebalance, adjust, and then invest and grow. Not easy, but ultimately better for the people (as it also give opportunities for people to grow and move).
So – it really is a period of creative generation – and I’m happy to put up a ton of roles in VCE that are a reflection of areas of investment. If readers know about other parts of EMC, RSA, VMware, and Pivotal who have similar openings – please let me know, and I will add them.
Read on past the break for the openings!