October 14th, 2008

[Updated] Sadly Jive Software layoffs confirmed


[UPDATE 4] Portland Business Journal "Jive layoffs are 'market response'" [UPDATE 3] Mike Rogoway of The Oregonian talks to Sam Lawrence about the layoffs. [UPDATE 2] Sam Lawrence, Chief Marketing Officer at Jive, via Twitter: Jive cost reduction via Sam Lawrence on Twitter [UPDATE] Chris Kalani provides insight, confirming that there were layoffs today at Jive. I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, but in this case, I feel an obligation to report it. I've been hearing rumors about Jive Software for a few weeks now. Enough so that I've asked for comment from Jive on what's going down. They haven't been at liberty to respond. So I haven't written anything. Well, I just wanted to let you know that the rumors have escalated exponentially today. Something is going down. And it doesn't appear to be good. But I can't confirm that. I'll let you know when I hear more. Again, I'm not looking to further the rumors, but there's too much activity for this to be a coincidence. If you have any insight, it would be appreciated. In the meantime, I'll be keeping my fingers crossed for the folks at Jive.

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Background that may help (or may not)

46 Responses to “[Updated] Sadly Jive Software layoffs confirmed”

  1. Bill Jackson says:

    Time for some fun with unfounded rumors and rampant speculation?

    1. Leaving Portland
    2. Layoffs
    3. Bankruptcy
    4. Being acquired by Oracle / Microsoft / IBM / etc.
    5. Launching Death Star
    6. About to destroy the Earth

  2. Dane says:

    Am I a jerk if I say that speculative press like this probably isn’t helping things?

  3. PDXsays says:

    Cruel to be kind…

    Yeah, at some point you gotta make the hard decision go-no-go, just as the leadership at Jive is making.

    HOWEVER – whatever is going down at this moment, I would encourage all to remember life spins on a dime. And a first quarter of a new year can, at times, all the difference make, be it acquisition, bankruptcy (gasp!), or intern w/ cigar and blue dress.

  4. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Dane No, you’re absolutely not a jerk for saying that. It was a hard decision for me to post this, but given the number of people contacting me, I felt an obligation to do so.

  5. Bill Jackson says:

    The weird thing is, I just read this last week (from http://money.cnn.com/2008/10/03/technology/creditcrunch_VC.fortune):

    Bryan LeBlanc, CFO of Portland, Ore.-based startup Jive Software, agrees. “If you are not cash-flow positive you are in a tough spot right now,” says LeBlanc, whose company develops collaboration software for the workplace.

    Jive is in relatively good shape, because it has significant revenue, was bootstrapped for the first six years, and only recently raised its first round of funding from Sequoia Capital. “To the extent you haven’t figured out your business model yet you are in trouble, because it’s going to be hard to get another round,” LeBlanc says. “You aren’t going to get a second life this time.”

  6. Gary Walter says:

    Is it possible to enlighten the rest of us as to what rumors are being heard, without fueling the fires of the unfounded?

  7. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Gary Walter Honestly, it was difficult enough for me to post what I did. I’d prefer not to guess.

    I remain hopeful that there will be an official statement from Jive. When that is available, I will post it, immediately.

  8. Jmartens says:

    @Rick…don’t guess, just tell us what you have been hearing.

  9. Kirk P says:

    A close friend of mine was laid off yesterday, as another in a series of Jive layoffs that have happened over last few months.

  10. Patrick says:

    I think that whatever happens, Jive and the talented people who work there will recover – I haven’t ever seen a company converge on software like we at RNA have with Clearspace. This is such a great product that it has become indispensable and companies that produce products that good will thrive!

  11. Well…this was thoroughly unhelpful.

    Perhaps this was the true test to see if you could handle real news.

    Because you took some information, and instead of reporting on it with the caveat that it was just what you’ve heard and could be debunked or changed at any time, you just told us that you had information. That’s not reporting at all. Saying you have information is no way the same as reporting on that information.

    Otherwise known as this scenario:
    ‘Hey everyone! Katie Couric here. I interviewed Governor Palin. I asked her some questions. She answered. Alright, thanks for listening and have a good night!’

    ‘Hey everyone, nice seeing you again. The Blazers played the Kings. They sweated. It’s possible they ran up and down the court. Goodnight!’

  12. Rick Turoczy says:

    @Does It Offend You, Yeah? Fair criticism.

  13. Rick – Get this story, please. Just get it. The longer it takes, the longer this speculative post is going to cause you headaches. You can beat the media to this one.

  14. Amber Case says:

    That’s pretty sobering news. I want to help. I wish I knew how.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Over 30 people have been laid off, in multiple departments.

  16. In Rick’s defense, this does give a good place for the rumors to swirl around.

  17. Metroknow says:

    Although I have nothing useful to report regarding Jive’s state, I do think this adds an interesting angle to the current debate on the difference between what you write on a more personal blog and what you write on a “news” site. I didn’t read it with the eyes of a Katie Couric analogy; I took this as a personal note _suitable for a personal blog_, and I appreciated it as such. I didn’t exactly see this on RWW, because it’s not ready for prime time. So in all fairness – I thought it was appropriate.

    And WOW what a way to build anticipation for the next post. ;)

  18. Jmatens says:

    If anonymous above is correct, it’s pretty interesting. First, I’ll say that I love that company and think they have done just about everything right. So if they made a mis-step its still far fewer mis-steps than most other startups.

    back to the interesting stuff. How does a company move into their new building (which was leased to accommodate growth) and then lay off a significant portion of their staff? Were the troubles that unforeseen? Could they really not have anticipated?

    and what about the Sequoia investment…is it spent all ready? I would think a profitable company like there’s could use a large investment like that to get them through the tough times without big layoffs.

    Really interesting, can’t wait to learn more. Though I hate to have my interest peaked through others pain….especially the great peeps at Jive.

    best of luck to all…

  19. This isn’t a unique story, alas. I’ve been personally involved with three other Internet (or Internet-dependent) ventures that had significant layoffs either months or weeks after moving into swanky new digs.

    My sympathies to those affected.

    It also sounds, from reading Chris’s description, that Jive management needs a lesson or two on how to conduct humane layoffs. (Been there, managed through that, don’t ever want to do it again…)

  20. [...] total staff seems to be a magic number. Portland based Jive Software, which is backed by Sequoia, laid off around 40 people today, a third of their total staff. This follows massive employee growth over the [...]

  21. [...] total staff seems to be a magic number. Portland based Jive Software, which is backed by Sequoia, laid off around 40 people today, a third of their total staff. This follows massive employee growth over the [...]

  22. [...] total staff seems to be a magic number. Portland based Jive Software, which is backed by Sequoia, laid off around 40 people today, a third of their total staff. This follows massive employee growth over the [...]

  23. [...] total staff seems to be a magic number. Portland based Jive Software, which is backed by Sequoia, laid off around 40 people today, a third of their total staff. This follows massive employee growth over the [...]

  24. Jake says:

    I’m sad that this is how the Sili-Flo gets link love from TechCrunch, but it’s good exposure none-the-less.

    Best wishes to all those affected and to those remaining. You should all come by Lunch 2.0 at the Art Institute tomorrow for 1) free lunch, 2) venting, 3) networking?

  25. [...] レイオフというと、全従業員数の1/3というのがマジックナンバーらしい。オレゴン州ポートランド拠点で、Sequoiaが支援している会社、Jive Softwareが本日(米国時間10/14)、40名をレイオフした。全従業員の1/3にあたる人数だ。12か月前、同社の従業員数は約60名だった。 [...]

  26. Sorry to hear the bad news, it seems like a bit of a panic, but its their business I suppose. Best of luck to those that lost their jobs, I think this is a wake up call for all of us.

  27. Ed Giomonte says:

    Dear employees, From now on management will now refer to you as a “cost”. That is all.

    That tweet is the only statement out of Jive. Amazing. Could that guy (Sam Lawrence) possibly be more crass and callous about the situation?

  28. My best wishes go out to the people let go today from Jive. I can guess what we will be discussing at Lunch 2.0 tomorrow.

  29. pdxsays says:

    Huh.. is this a retread folks.. I mean, does any of this sound familiar – albeit for dissimilar reason – remember Jive’s whole sale move from the East Coast out here. They seem to shed loyal talent like a snake sheds skin. Almost wish it was a take over; at least then the Jive peeps would have some stability and assurances.

    Just sayin’….

  30. [...] total staff seems to be a magic number. Portland based Jive Software, which is backed by Sequoia, laid off around 40 people today, a third of their total staff. This follows massive employee growth over the [...]

  31. [...] total staff seems to be a magic number. Portland based Jive Software, which is backed by Sequoia, laid off around 40 people today, a third of their total staff. This follows massive employee growth over the [...]

  32. [...] Software, a Portland based startup backed by Sequoia Capital has laid off around 40 people today, which translates to one-third of their total workforce. The axe didnt fall [...]

  33. @Metroknow Except, this isn’t a personal blog. This is a “blog about the Silicon Forest (a tech corridor comprised of Portland, Oregon, and the surrounding areas) startups, blogs, and events that fly below the RADAR.”

    Rick has a personal blog, and this is not it.

  34. SB says:

    Smells like they are prepping to sell the company – have to make the balance sheet look good first.

  35. SB says:

    Smells like they are prepping the company for a sale – but first need to make the balance sheet look good. Such is life at a startup.

  36. Jmartens says:

    wait, Rick has a personal blog?

  37. [...] MiniTechBubble 2.0, a.k.a. “global economic instability” reared it’s ugly head in Portland this week at Jive Software, maker of collaboration and social software for the enterprise. TechCrunch originally headlined that they were laying off “1/3 of staff”, but Jive CMO Sam Lawrence rebutted that the cuts were “no where near as dramatic” as was reported, but didn’t offer a number. Lawrence later talks to The Portland Business Journal, saying that the cuts are a response to market conditions, and that the company has positive growth and cash flow. Further reporting on Silicon Florist. [...]

  38. [...] workforce would be laid off. Other companies being affected include start-ups and software; again, the most recent casualty being [...]

  39. [...] first heard about the Jive layoffs from Chris Kalani, one of the employees who was let go. Then, TechCrunch picked up on the Jive [...]

  40. [...] first heard about the Jive layoffs from Chris Kalani, one of the employees who was let go. Then, TechCrunch picked up on the Jive [...]

  41. Regarding Unoins in s/w companies says:

    Why don’t Software people have unions? Because every day may people are speaking about job firings etc…
    Even Air India employees united together and went for strike regarding their job sacking.

    Even a small employee like a clerk in a bank who have 10th as his qualification can take his issues to union but in software sector we have people from Bits, IITs with grate qualification but there is no common tone among us. Even at collage level we can find unions.
    No matter weather it is GOV sector or Private sector but if such layoffs continues there won’t be any secure life for our feature generations.
    A person who is at age of 30 or 35 can’t start his life from day one once again.
    If this continues no one can give guaranty to ones own child life because job is a base for any feature plan, for example taking a House Loan, child education, insurance policy etc……
    Most of the software companies playing game with the feature of their employees. These people are making money by selling shares etc but in front of media they just hide the inner things in the company and they wont care for their employees feature or their families.
    These companies give pose in front of media saying about their social work and contributions to be honest take example Infosys they collect money from Employees salary every month on account of contribution!
    So, I feel there should be union for S/W people too. These s/w companies are going to collages in the name of campus recruitment and throwing job biscuits (like throwing biscuits in front of dog) but there is no proper assurance or security regarding job.
    These companies from morning to night squeeze the employees and earn money but they wont care for their own employees .

  42. [...] [Updated] Sadly Jive Software layoffs confirmed (41) [...]

  43. [...] When rumors started swirling about Jive layoffs, I covered the story—not realizing they were one of the first companies to swing the axe. [...]

  44. [...] [Updated] Sadly Jive Software layoffs confirmed (43) [...]


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