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The number, 336, is roughly 10% of their employees - which is pretty much exactly the number that Jack Welch recommended turning over each year to improve the work force.

I often wonder whether these "layoffs" aren't actually layoffs, but simply performance based assessments. It's not like Twitter is shutting down an entire office, or abandoning some technology, and letting everyone associated with that office/technology go - presumably they are being selective on other factors as to who they let go - and I'm guessing that performance is likely a key factor.

If, over the next year, twitter doesn't hire back that 10%, or hires employees in different technologies/positions (I.E. Web developers instead of thick client developers, sales people instead of developers, etc...) - then this is a layoff. But, if headcount returns to the same number, in roughly the same job areas, then this is just a performance based annual rank/yank process.

A large company with stable growth can afford to lose and retrain 10% of its workforce each year. It's also a lot more difficult to get fired from a very large company, so some forced fat-trimming is often necessary. Twitter is not that big, and it's growth is not very stable right now.

Any layoff is going to be a morale hit, and they're likely to lose some very talented people in the aftershocks. The last company I worked for laid off 25% of the employees, and within a few months another 10% had been poached or found other places to work (myself included).

This seems like common sense. I know if there are layoffs at my company, the first thing I will do is start looking around.

I worked for one of those mega corporation that followed Welch's book, only they didn't have the courage to openly state it, oh and screw the top 30%. They would "layoff" 10% every year blaming the bad economy.

A friend even tried to fire a guy for bad performance and high management told him to wait for the next "annual layoff", that it would be easier.

I have seen this happen many times in big companies. Even people who clearly should have been fired long ago are kept around until the next round of layoffs. I think it is because it is simply easier on management as well as the fired employee's themselves: "it's not you, it's the recession/company/etc." Also seems to be the way to get rid to bad employees when they were worried about getting sued for descrimination because of sex/race/age/etc.

It should be aligned to whatever functions they are stopping doing. I think the message indicated they were focusing on high impact areas (whatever that might mean). The opposite of that is low impact areas would likely lose staff, right?

That's slightly different than layoffs though. If they were focussing on Periscope / Vine / Moments instead of some other initiatives, then presumably you could simply shift developers/sales/marketing from one area to another - particularly in this market when finding developers is very difficult in the bay area. Heck, even leaving a region doesn't prevent a company from giving their employees the opportunity to physically relocate.

A good indication will be if any developers/marketing/sales, etc.. working on core Twitter/Vine/Periscope/Moments teams are let go.

Even if your layoffs were 100% based on refocusing on certain areas, surely you'd (often) still want to keep the best employees you have in areas you no longer care about over the worst employees you have in areas you still care about, if you have to get rid of someone.

It's true that you do what you can to hold onto your top 1-5% of employees - but, I've been through two real layoffs - one at Netscape, and one at Loudcloud, very little differentiation occurs below that layer. At Netscape, when Microsoft effectively killed the browser-as-a-product space by giving theirs away for free, entire buildings were let go, and all the client side developers, and wan-dialer people, customer service, sales - 100% of the divisions were just gone, with pretty much zero concern as to how "good" they were.

Same thing at Loudcloud, 1/3 of the company that had revenue bearing jobs went to EDS, 1/3 of the back-end developers went to Opsware, and then the other 1/3 (including everyone in the field, all the service delivery/sales teams/support) - were just let go, with very little attention to how good they were.

The difference between these types of these "real" layoffs, and "faux" layoffs, is that in "real layoffs" - companies will try and fight to hold onto the top 5%, but the bottom 95% are let go. In the "faux" layoffs, the bottom 5-10% are let go, but the top 90% are basically okay.

Of course, the reality is that it's never totally black and white, and any real world reductions-in-force are is likely to be some combination of these two, which is why I like the term "Reduction in Force" rather than "Layoffs" - though there are probably some legal reasons why companies use the exact word "layoffs"

Both companies had the same founders, correct? I'm not saying they are, but they could be idiosyncratic.

In HR /IR speak layoff implies that it might be tempory - this is an out and out redundancy

This. I never understood this mentality that all cuts are bad or evil or whatever. Funny, we never question when these companies go on a hiring spree. No one asks, "Do they need this many engineers? Will these people have jobs in two years?"

Restructures happen all the time, especially at dotcoms. If you work in this industry, then you can expect some level of volatility.

No one asks, "Do they need this many engineers? Will these people have jobs in two years?"

Clearly you're missing @Pinboard from your life.

It's probably because it's always the little guys who get fucked by it. The executives, who are the ones who got the company into the position where it needed to make those cuts in the first place, never feel any effect from it, when they should be feeling things the most.

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