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Meta lays off 11,000 people (fb.com)
2048 points by technics256 30 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 1977 comments

I worked at Facebook when covid first hit. Zuckerburg treated everyone in the company very, very well. There was a blanket "don't worry about performance, take care of your families" guarantee that honestly was an enormous help.

The thing that particularly struck me though was the way he handled contract workers like (some of) the kitchen staff, cleaners, etc. These people don't work for Facebook and he had zero obligation to them, yet he paid all of their wages for the full length of the pandemic just so they could stay afloat.

If it were just about the money, I doubt he'd have done this.

I am particularly sad about current state of Meta. Regardless of what people think of Facebook and Zuck, he was unapologetically a hacker. I visited FB campus few times and emphasis on hacker culture everywhere was just immensely delightful. He knew the value of good hacker and raised bar for the compensation across the entire industry. Ship your code today was absolutely refreshing. Number of open source projects that has came out of Meta is unparalleled for number of employees. MetaAI had been well protected and is one of the strongest engine for progress in AI. I always viewed it as a company run by a hacker for hackers.

I do not think he is evil, just really disconnected from reality, which in all honesty most C-Levels are.

From his statement it sounds like he really believed people would accept the pandemic’s restrictions as a “new normal” and this would leap-frog humanity into the virtual world for good.

I am a highly cynical and pessimistic person and even I knew this wasn’t happening. People around the World were literally risking their lives and their loved ones for a little physical connection. Our generation, it turns out, is still very human centric and we are still ultimately social beings, not just social minds. Maybe kids born into YouTube, who are now coming of age, will be different, yet I still would not bet 11 thousand lives on it.

> People around the World were literally risking their lives and their loved ones for a little physical connection.

Other people kept working their blue collar jobs at mines and oil pads as if nothing had happened. Once I was on the mine sites, there was no indication of anything different. No masks or any other BS.

My 'rona experience was totally different than the wfh keyboard careers.

upvotes are unfortunately not visible. while my comment adds minimal, I want to amplify this comment.

It's the "caveman principle" [0] at work. We are still biologically pretty much the same. Hopefully, it means that something like Metaverse will never materialize or that it will take the emergence of a Matrix-like VR first.

[0] https://associationsnow.com/2013/04/how-the-future-of-associ...

NSA is also probably a great place for hackers, but their mission is trash. Someone once drew a 2x2 grid for me. One dimension was competence, and the other was right mission. I was then asked what is the most dangerous square on the grid. The answer is competent with the wrong mission.

You don't agree with the tiny sliver of the NSA mission that you know about.

90% of the work they do is purely defensive. The offensive work targets bad actors and foreign governments/militaries, compared to other countries intelligence services that also engage in economic espionage.

In a perfect world they wouldn't need to exist at all. But we don't live in that world.

You contradict yourself. If you don't know what they are doing behind the curtain, how can you be so confident that 90% of what they do is defensive?

They don't work within the bounds of the law and constitution, and thus their mission is bad by my simple definition. I don't need to know what they do in secret.

Sometimes people have clearances and they speak vaguely to avoid literal jail. Consequences are high here.

People with clearances also have huge incentives to lie to themselves about the decency of what they're doing. One of the main thing secrecy protects, is such people's morale.

You know what they say, "if they cheat with you, they cheat on you too". A liar is a liar. If your job involves seeking people's trust in order to betray it, you're not very smart if you think your boss wouldn't betray you.

Ok and sometimes people just say unsubstantiated shit on the internet. Which one is it? Do you have some inside knowledge on the commenter?

I can’t comment on the specific poster, but I once held a clearance and can relate.

"They don't work within the bounds of the law and constitution"

So what has your research on this uncovered?

Are you really unaware of this? It was the top story in the country for months. A documentary about it even won an Oscar. As someone else has already replied, we are talking about the vast domestic spying apparatus that Snowden revealed, including the PRISM and xkeyscore programs. They are unquestionably unconstitutional and illegal. Anyone that suggested they existed before the reveal was an insane paranoid nutjob. Furthermore, the fact that there was virtually nothing done about this severe crime by the rest of the government indicates that the entire system is a farce. The NSA is still doing the same thing as before, and probably more.

Another angle is how do you prosecute the head of intelligence when everything is supposed to be secret.

That is what Denmark is trying to find out:


The first thing that comes to my mind is the whole Snowden series of events. Spying every citizen, is wrong. Also, I'm seeing the effects of something similar in my country, where this sort of spying is used to curb free speech, dissent, and completely kill the very essence of democracy.

It is wrong, and there has to be better ways. I don't remember the exact procedure, but NSA didn't need much clearance to spy on any American citizen.

Given the natural opaqueness of the organization I would likely fundamentally disagree with a great deal more of what the NSA mission is if I had any knowledge of it.

They also basically have zero real congressional oversight.

And just because 90% of what they do is purely defensive doesn't make the 10% any more acceptable (x key score, data mining, hooking into Google, etc.)

> 90% of the work they do is purely defensive.

You have literally no idea whether that’s true. Even if you somehow did, you couldn’t prove it here.

You could be right—but your assertion has zero credibility.

How do you square this with the constitution? Need to capture all the data on the internet and sift through it for the greater good?

Clearly not, and if we look at who enacted the NSA and current events of stifling speech we have a clear answer.

> You don't agree with the tiny sliver of the NSA mission that you know about.

Strong "trust me bro" vibes.

Hand-waving and baseless assertions don't contradict the fact that it conducts activities against it's country's most basic founding principles and laws.

This regrettable line of argument is in line with blindly defending the police in spite of all the police murders, abuse, and outright corruption.

What's wrong with the NSA's mission?

Analysts stealing nudes isn't the mission.

I never had much complaint about Facebook's engineering culture, it seems like they get more right than the other giant tech companies.

Facebook's failures were always with business morals and product direction, and it's the latter that they really really screwed up on this time with the attempt to turn their cash cow into TikTok and the investment into the metaverse.

"Number of open source projects that has came out of Meta is unparalleled for number of employees." Minor nit, the unparalleled part doesn't hold true here. Meta has about 600 open source projects which is nice, but Google has had over 8,000 open source projects. Meta is nowhere near Google's level of open source community support for the number of employees proportionally. Google has about twice as many employees but over 13 times the amount of open source projects.

Considering that most of Google's open source projects are of the "throw over the wall" kind, where they don't really care about the wider community, when most of Meta's projects (that I've seen) are interacting with and creating communities, it's not really comparable.

TLDR: by KLOC Google might have more, but arguably Meta's have more impact.

Maybe it got to his head, like child movie stars that never enjoyed a normal childhood? Being a hacker is no guarantee of being a well adapted adult, specially if your hobby transforms into an international behemoth in just 15 years.

That is how cabals work.

I get your point, but is that really such a great thing when it comes to business ethics? e.g., spying on people and hacking their private communications just to get ahead: https://www.businessinsider.com/how-mark-zuckerberg-hacked-i...

He was 19 there right? Thankfully I've seen people who were writing keyloggers at that age be very decent, good people, so that article isn't an indictment of who he is now - plenty of things to look at more recent than that. It would be really nice to hear him candidly express how he fucked up with the rohingya, and content promotion/moderation.

> he was unapologetically a hacker

Huh? Like Gates and Musk, he's not even a highly skilled developer, even less a hacker.

Seriously I was never aware how badly the word's meaning has been butchered by the SV techbros until I joined the site.

I first heard it used to traditionally describe computer security whizzes like Kevin Mitnick, Diffie & Hellman, Robert Morris (Morris worm) etc. But apparently the last ~15 years it's just a compliment for the next random corporate grifter who has 0 technical experience and is just in for the $$$.

However Gates definitely deserves the title, he had helped make some significant contributions a few years before or right after dropping out of Harvard by co-authoring a paper in complexity theory next to a very prominent name in the field.


I don't think this is a "SV techbro" thing. In the 80s (when I was in college), "hacker" had a connotation of someone who built cool things in software, usually outside the "normal" approach. It was sort of the opposite of what eventually became software engineering - quick and dirty "tricks" that explored the edges of operating system. We looked up to hackers as repositories of esoteric knowledge. Long hair and hiking boots were common.

Certainly, some of what they hacked on might be related to security. Or maybe they wrote little games. Or threw together a curses-based interface to the Unix shell. Or some other cool utility.

As I recall, there was a concerted attempt to distinguish between people who exploited security vulnerabilities (aka "crackers") from people who could quickly build these useful things ("hackers").

I feel like the modern use of hacker (ala "hackathon") is actually pretty well in line with the usage I grew up with.

As far as I know you have it reversed: Mitnick & co. should be called "crackers", while "hackers" is the wrong term.

I found this article (I only skimmed it and didn't look for counter evidence, sorry) https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/a-short-...

> computer security whizzes like Kevin Mitnick

Strange because Mitnick puts most of his exploits down to social engineering, not technical prowess.

But then taking anything a self-confessed social engineer says about themselves at face value is obviously problematic.

I know but it certainly was one of the most prominent names when I was googling for best hackers ( :-) ) back in 2005.

Still, I prefer having someone like Kevin in mind when saying the word instead of any other desperate "growth hacker" that is trying to mislead VCs with their trite ideas that will forever change tech the way we know it.

We have Eric S Raymond to thank for corrupting the meaning of "Hacker" to include himself.

Plate of Shrimp:



>I blame Eric Raymond and to a lesser extent Dave Winer for bringing this kind of schlock writing onto the Internet. Raymond is the original perpetrator of the "what is a hacker?" essay, in which you quickly begin to understand that a hacker is someone who resembles Eric Raymond. Dave Winer has recently and mercifully moved his essays off to audio, but you can still hear him snorfling cashew nuts and talking at length about what it means to be a blogger[7] . These essays and this writing style are tempting to people outside the subculture at hand because of their engaging personal tone and idiosyncratic, insider's view. But after a while, you begin to notice that all the essays are an elaborate set of mirrors set up to reflect different facets of the author, in a big distributed act of participatory narcissism.

Your claim is that solving a hard math problem (which takes smarts for sure!) is more "hacker" than bulding a web app (Zck) or an operating system (Gates)?

I understand why you would think that's what I meant to say, but no.

If we aren't talking about computer security, hacker imo would be someone with remarkable technical/scientific contributions. Indeed, there may be some personal bias for math hackers (cryptographers, theorists) but then their skillsets with the respective programmer ones converge.

> ...he had helped make some significant contributions a few years back...

Article says his paper on it was published in 1979, which was 43 years ago. I wouldn't call that 'a few years back'. I interpreted your comment as he took a break from his philanthropy to come up to an efficient solution to the problem like 3-5 years ago.

Holy shit that's a very misleading typo. Thanks for pointing it out.

No problem. It's still cool, still makes him a hacker, just slightly less impressive than if he had done it while juggling the needs of his Foundation.

> Seriously I was never aware how badly the word's meaning has been butchered by the SV techbros until I joined the site.

Spot on.

> However Gates definitely deserves the title, he had helped make some significant contributions a few years back by co-authoring a paper in complexity theory next to a very prominent name in the field.

Wait, what?

It might be Gates and Papadimitriou (1979): Bounds for Sorting by Prefix Reversal.


> Wait, what?

Gates definitely deserves the title, he had helped make some significant contributions a few years back by co-authoring a paper in complexity theory next to a very prominent name in the field.

Musk was writing games at 12 years old and Zuck still does stuff like this.


And that does not make someone a highly skilled developer and even less a world-class genius.

Gates personally wrote the embedded BASIC interpreter for the TRS-80 Model 100, among other things. It isn't valid to question his technical "hacker cred."

Pick a different line of attack if you want to slag Gates; there are several others to choose from.

The point being discussed is "he was unapologetically a hacker." Making your own home automation definitely makes you a hacker.

I’m curious what you’ve done.

LOL, nice logic there.

I’ll take that as not a lot.

HAH, downvoted to -4 for writing this on "hacker" news.

I worked at Ticketmaster when covid first hit. Since the beginning, management has always been positive and re-iterating that the cash reserves are substantial and the company can endure the loss of revenue. Then the first layoff hit. Same re-iteration. We are good. Then came the second layoff.

The company is fine. The employees are not.

Anyway, you don't join Ticketmaster for anything approaching morality. Snakes eat snakes.

Salesforce announced their largest profits ever the same week they announced their first layoffs ever, I believe. The company, as they said, was in great shape.

Curious - what's the vibe like at Ticketmaster when ticket fees comes up?

Meta may sound like an unethical company frequently from a product standpoint, but Zuckerberg is a very good guy in general and he treats employees very well.

People are multifaceted. I'm sure he is good to his employees, like people are describing, but that ain't it.

He's repeatedly betrayed user trust, and eventually what goes around comes around.

> He's repeatedly betrayed user trust, and eventually what goes around comes around.

This. Yes.

Facebook came within a whisker of establishing themselves as the central communications hub for the planet. They ruined their own business from greed. Grew it huge (instead of long steady growth) and it has collapsed.


It would not have been a good thing if they became "... He's repeatedly betrayed user trust, and eventually what goes around comes around. " so we are all better off, probably.

I hope the story of Zuck and FB become business school lessons on "greed is bad and will destroy you". Not what they taught me at business school (I was there in 2008) but they should have

There's a classic Tim O'Reilly line about the importance of "creating more value than you capture."

Early Facebook was very good at this! I used their ads platform a lot in 2009-10 to raise engagement for a small non-profit that I was helping. The Facebook experience was simple, easy and great value for the money.

And then the ads ecosystem gradually got "optimized." Our nonprofit still kept using it for a while, but it was clear that the focus no longer was in providing great experiences for us -- or our intended audience. Pricing went up; as did efforts to steer me into packages that worked better for FB than me. It was as if someone said: "Stop creating 2x the value you capture. Move toward 1.01x"

FB made many billions over the next decade. But it drained the ecosystem's goodwill. Old-economy industrial giants usually took 80-100 years to paint themselves into this corner. Kind of amazing that FB has done it in less than 20.

How exactly were they greedy in particular? To me it seems they are doing what every other company is, I’m unaware of Meta engaging in anything greedy that is out of the ordinary, is that not the case (genuinely asking) and why do you think that is tied to these layoffs?

There's the video metrics scandal: https://www.ccn.com/facebook-lied-about-video-metrics/

They lied to content creators about how much money could be earned by switching to video on FB. This bankrupted multiple businesses, including Collegehumor and FunnyOrDie: https://twitter.com/adamconover/status/1183209875859333120?l...

Zuckerberg was hauled in to US Congress more than once and was chastised for all kinds of wrongdoing. E.g. spreading foreign propaganda in US elections, encouraging extremist violence. FB chase for user engagement has made it into the modern version of a gladiatorial freak show. If broadcasting two one legged gladiators fight to the death will draw eyeballs, Zuckbot will do it.

They tried to connect people, but that didn't make money. So they pivoted to ads, but that didn't bring steady growth. So they fueled participation with tools like the Like button which stoked conflict from the start. Had they been cautious about their steps at any point then problems could have been avoided.

One word: maximizing advertising revenue

Greed and arrogance. Zuckerberg doesn't respect his users and everyone knows it. Eventually you break trust to a degree where it can't be repaired--no "investments" or "metrics" or "new offerings" will fix it.

You can fool some of the people some of the time...

> Greed

No, incompetence and naivety.

They were young, dumb and all from the same college/upbringing.

    People are multifaceted. I'm sure he is good to 
    his employees, like people are describing, but that ain't it.
This is refreshing to read. I would like to see more of this rather than "Zuck good" or "Zuck bad."

Of course, for those immediately impacted and hurt/angered by his actions I certainly wouldn't blame anybody for venting.

But it would be much more productive to talk about "thing Zuck did good" or "thing Zuck did bad."

This is the key thing that people need to realize. Being a very nice person is simply not enough to be a good person. Hitler was famously kind to his dogs and domestic staff. He even personally intervened to save Ernst Hess, his Jewish CO from WWI. Big-time "but I have black friends" vibes.

    Zuck: Yeah so if you ever need info about anyone at Harvard

    Zuck: Just ask.

    Zuck: I have over 4,000 emails, pictures, addresses, SNS

    [Redacted Friend's Name]: What? How'd you manage that one?

    Zuck: People just submitted it.

    Zuck: I don't know why.

    Zuck: They "trust me"

    Zuck: Dumb fucks.

I'm so glad I never said anything stupid when I was 19

I've yet to see any evidence that his attitude has changed on this issue.

I don't care if you give your employees ice cream with sprinkles and a 40oz every day. If you say shit like this you deserve to have your entire company decompose slowly

Blame Sheryl Sandberg for many of the unethical decisions

Reminds me of Hank Scorpio

I'm pretty sure Scorpio's lair of paradise was inspired by Microsoft in Redmond. In the 90s, it was legendarily posh with how well the people were treated. Nobody in corporate america had that quality of fitness centers, on-site cafes, etc.

Google was the next to up the ante in mid-2000s with things like daycare, a ball pit, food, drycleaning. All equally mind-blowing to the populace who expected a workplace would have an elevator, and a coffee machine nobody refills.

I don't believe MS ever had onsite fitness centers. Employees got subsidized memberships to offsite gyms, but the only things onsite were/are playfields and showers for bike commuters, etc.

Food might have been okay by 90s standards, but was pretty mediocre overall until ~2010 when they started redoing all the cafes to have a higher quality food. Still, it was slightly subsidized but not free and many, many employees went offsite or brought food from home.

Yes, there was a gym next to the playfields on main campus.

> All equally mind-blowing to the populace who expected a workplace would have an elevator, and a coffee machine nobody refills.

There was a "coffee pool", where you joined to contribute a dollar or something a week and someone would buy the supplies.

At big companies there were often food trucks. Also a cafeteria, which probably sucked. There might also be a small library where you could hang out and read relevant trade journals.

You can't be serious. I think it's rare for a company to treat developers poorly but that's beside the point.

Didn't he lie to congress, waste tens of millions of dollars on legal defense for himself and repeatedly turn a blind eye to human trafficking, voter manipulation, the spread of hate and division, genocide and more? He swept studies under the rug that show that his platforms directly led to increases in teenage suicides.

This man is not a good guy just because you feel he's nice to some people. People he depends on at that.

Company over Country right?

Are there any examples of a CEO choosing country over company in the modern USA?

Not defending Zuck here, would just like to read about that if possible.

He is not perfect but the only person I can think of is Sal Khan of khanacademy. His content is completely free and provides free prep for SAT and other subjects.

Mike Lindell, arguably. He lost a ton of business by injecting himself into politics and doing what he thought was putting his country first.

I'd be interested in the stats, but my perception is that he (and his products) are much more well-known now than before. I always saw his foray into politics as a very aggressive niching strategy. He saw Trump's momentum and hitched his wagon.

He might have lost Costco and their low margins, but he picked up an army of high-margin D2C sympathizers who have been shown to be generous with their money (if the cause is right).

Lindell just wanted to sell to gullible Trunp fans and make himself a celebrity and power broker for a fascist. The good of the country wasn't a factor.

Would be against the law right? You are required to maximize stockholder value

> You are required to maximize stockholder value

This is legal fiction that has no bearing in the kinds of subjects that it often gets brought up in. Simply put, those responsible for a company (e.g. officers of a corporation) have a fiduciary duty towards its owners (e.g. the shareholders), and it means that the owners would have legal recourse against the officers if they were provably pissing money away on things that don't benefit the company at all.

That latter part is a high bar and critically does not mean that they are, for example, legally required to prioritize quarterly profits over the long-term success of the company or to pay employees as little as possible, as is often mentioned. It just means that officers must take action that furthers the interests of the company in the way that they prudently and reasonably see fit.

> legally required to prioritize quarterly profits over the long-term success of the company or to pay employees as little as possible, as is often mentioned.

Obviously this isn't a legal requirement, but pretty much every CEO would be out of a job if they choose country over company. Shareholders are generally not interested in furthering national geopolitics.

> Shareholders are generally not interested in furthering national geopolitics.

I don't think that's true. Look at all the corporate action about Ukraine for an example of interest in geopolitics - lots of donations, public statements, etc. And then there's companies actually in Ukraine, or next door - when politics gets unstable enough, contributing to the stability/security of the country over the short term of the company looks like the right move. Evaluating when that point is reached is probably about as contentious as any other decision in politics.

This is a popular deflection of responsibility that is, in fact, entirely false.

You are required to abide by shareholder decisions at official meetings, and generally not act against shareholder interests, but there is absolutely no law stating that you must act to maximize shareholder value. (And it's a damn good thing that's the case; things are bad enough as it is.)

You're required to put forth a good faith effort to act in the shareholders interests, but no court would say choosing country over company breaks that law. The CEO would certainly be fired though, so it still won't happen.

How does this fictional canard stop being posted to HN?

I think it's good if it gets posted and debunked as often as possible to maximize the knowledge that it is false

If the majority of Facebook's shareholders wanted to liquidate the company and blow the proceeds hosting the biggest ice cream party in the world the executives are supposed to make that happen.

It's not about producing profits it's about doing what the shareholders want.

> If it were just about the money

Sadly, today's layoffs were probably related to it not being just about the money then... no matter how good your intentions are, when the money runs out, it's gone.

Even Zuckerberg acknowledges that it is about money in the linked article:

"Fundamentally, we’re making all these changes for two reasons: our revenue outlook is lower than we expected at the beginning of this year, and we want to make sure we’re operating efficiently across both Family of Apps and Reality Labs. "

It is about trimming the fat mainly. Meta is still absolutely a money printing machine.

In fact, this is one of those truisms about the "down" side of the classical business cycle - that recessions partly function as an excuse to cut inefficiencies. How accurate this truism is, I don't know.

Proof is that Meta stock is up today. I don't like this system of value, but it's what we've got.

Today's price action is rarely a reflection of today's news.

"trimming the fat" - this is such an unfortunate phrase. In evolutionary terms, fat is what let species survive lean periods.

This is a lean period, and the fat that meta had enabled them to cut fat rather than cut muscle or bone, making them now more lean, but still strong. The fat they had served its purpose similar to how fat serves its purpose during famine.

and in modern terms it makes you a social pariah. Really though trimming the fat probably refers to a butcher removing the unwanted flesh from meat, not losing weight.

Spot on. The clue it’s not about evolution is that you don’t “trim” fat from a live animal.

They hired 42,000 during COVID. Lots of companies did the same, Twitter added 3500, the largest since they started.

I agree with your overall point, that Facebook employees have been very well taken care of, but:

> There was a blanket "don't worry about performance, take care of your families" guarantee that honestly was an enormous help.

Yet now he is firing people based on those same performance reviews. Plenty of people I know at Facebook feel betrayed because of exactly this.

The beginning of covid is 2.5 years ago. I don't see how you can today say that he lied.

When your CEO's most famous quote is "They 'trust me.' Dumb fucks," you shouldn't be surprised what happens when you trust him.

That's good to hear about Mark as opposed to just the bad stuff.

> I worked at Facebook when covid first hit

Same here. I've been doing this since before the year 2000, and can't imagine any other company I've worked for treating employees this well. In this current cycle, I was laid off from my job and my severance was zero days. The only thing I got was the mandatory WARN act time and verting of option that were worth about 2 weeks of my base pay.

Ex-Facebooker here too, also during that time.

Zuck's response to Covid definitely had upsides, particularly (as you mention) the continued payment of contractors even though offices were closed. There were downsides too. The "Don't worry about perf" also meant you couldn't get promoted that half and there was no recognition for better performance, which sort of sucked for people whose projects had come to fruition (where they reap the rewards of impact). Hypothetically you could get recognized in H2 2020 but in reality it didn't really work like that most of the time.

But look, the big problem with Facebook is twofold:

1. Apple's "do not track" feature really cut the ad business off at its knees. You can support that on privacy grounds but that shouldn't obscure the issue that a platform being able to do that while maintaining that benefit themselves is actually a huge problem (and it makes a big case for Apple acting anticompetitively);

2. (This is the big one) Zuck has no vision for the company. That's the core problem. Assuming pandemic growth would continue (as he claims) isn't the problem.

This first took form in response to the spread of misinformation in the aftermath of the 2016 election, Facebook decided to try and determine objective truth in posts. That's never going to work and never going to make anyone happy. Controversial topics get amplified. But labelling misinformation treats this as a content problem when it's a user behaviour problem. It's your weird uncle posting articles about chips in vaccines. The content doesn't matter. The behaviour does.

But here's the big one: Facebook has long viewed products on two axes: audience and medium. Twitter, for example, goes to a large audience. WhatsApp, small audiences. Medium is essentiaally this progression: text -> image -> video -> VR -> AR. It explains the purchase of Oculus and fits with the metaverse.

But there's literally no business case for the metaverse. Nobody wants it. Phones are convenient. Wearing headsets isn't. If we can ever build AR glasses (and that's far from a certainty) then maybe that might work but there are significant technical problems (eg matching focus, true blacks).

So 11,000 people got let go today because of bad decisions made at the very top that they had nothing to do with and no control over. Sure Zuck has lots a bunch of paper value but whether you have $100 billion or $30 billion, you're fine.

> Wearing headsets isn't. If we can ever build AR glasses (and that's far from a certainty) then maybe that might work but there are significant technical problems (eg matching focus, true blacks).

I've said this same thing a thousand times. It's not lack of content or use-cases killing AR - the tech just isn't there yet. Form factor is one of the very pressing issues. It seems inevitable that the tech will get solved, but it's not clear whether it's a couple years or a couple decades.

>But there's literally no business case for the metaverse. Nobody wants it. Phones are convenient. Wearing headsets isn't.

Less true today than yesterday. Less true tomorrow than today. Rinse. Repeat.

I feel like if we do see VR going mainstream it’ll be something like the background screens used in filming the Mandalorian. Big wall displays / projections that adjust what they’re displaying based on viewer location. All the viewer would need to wear is 3d theater glasses.

> If we can ever build AR glasses (and that's far from a certainty)

Could you expand on this? It's seems absolutely certain, with products like nreal Air existing: https://www.nreal.ai/air

What unsolved hurdle do you see? Heck, there were even prototypes of laser retinal projection at CES!

> What unsolved hurdle do you see?

Drawing an opaque, dark line. Almost all these screens are adding light to an existing scene. The only way they can make black is to just not project light, which means you need to have a dark background to actually show dark.

Ever view a projector outside in a bright sunny day?

> Zuck has no vision for the company

Exactly this.

It’s easy to be generous when times are good and your equity is significantly overvalued relative to fundamentals

And yet, many are still not generous when times are good.

Many were. And now that their stocks are down 90%, they aren’t

> equity is significantly overvalued relative to fundamentals

Which fundamentals?

The $117.9 billion in revenue and $39.4 billion of net profit in 2021 [1]?

The price to earnings ratio of 9.22, which is far lower than the NASDAQ average of around 28.0 [2]?

[1] https://www.statista.com/statistics/277229/facebooks-annual-... [2] https://ycharts.com/companies/NDAQ/pe_ratio

Those stats are for now, not then. Good try though

And they are vaporizing all of their FCF by reinvesting into the metaverse. Or were until the stock continued to collapse.

It’s fair value here if you assume the metaverse is actually something they can monetize in a big way. Too far off for most investors

Not normally a fan of the man, so this is very nice to hear.

My Facebook interview process was not only more professional, objective, and relevant than any other, it was also actually enjoyable, as I said elsewhere.

I wish there was a biotech with FB’s culture.

I may dislike Facebook, but this is great! Kudos to Zuck for doing the right thing for his employees.

I'm pretty sure he didn't lose a single one of his billions paying them, but good on him anyways. He definitely didn't have to do it.

amazing and imagine if this was not just a common cold

Hold up. You know they got money from the government not to lay people off, right?

As in a PPP loan? I haven’t found this in public record, any source I can reference?

> I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.

As always with these things, I wonder what taking responsibility actually means in practice.

Businesses usually try to find ways to correct for major failures in decision making. In the case of Zuck, given his ownership, does anything actually happen or change? I'm sure his net worth has been reduced by changes to Meta's share price, but he was a multi-billionaire before and he still is now. Is that it?

> As always with these things, I wonder what taking responsibility actually means in practice.

Remember a few years ago when people were asking "Why can't people just say they made a mistake and own up to it instead of shifting blame?" Now that people are taking responsibility for mistakes publicly the response is "Yes, but what does that mean?"

Taking responsibility means just that. It means saying you fucked up and not blaming others for your failures. It doesn't mean that self immolation follows soon after.

I move on from bad breaks pretty quickly but there are few things that I've held on to. Things that still burn years later and all of them involve refusals to accept responsibility. Hearing someone say: "Yep, it was me. I fucked you and I'm sorry. Here's what I can offer." isn't nothing.

Layoffs suck but the rate of hiring in big companies wasn't sustainable. A correction is here. It's temporary, but, it's real.

If you've tried to hire outside of FAANG over the past decade you'd know one thing: FAANG is hoarding talent. Every developer I've really wanted to hold on to has gone to a big tech company.. I can't blame them. But, here's the thing, so have many of the contractors that I didn't end up hiring for very good reasons.

These layoff messages, down to the structure and content, all sound the same because PR people follow best practices just like everyone else. You wouldn't ask why all Redux or Angular apps use similar patterns.. They're using patterns, that's what patterns are for.

Taking responsibility is more than just admitting reponsibility. It is also about bearing the consequences. Such as, if you broke something, you fix it. If you lost something, you pay up to replace it. Or similar. A manager usually can't fix a problem themselves though. But unless they pay a cost for their mistakes, they are not really taking responsibility. Then they just pay lip service to the word.

What specific consequence would you expect him to bear? It's not like there's any meaningful financial consequence that he would actually feel. He ain't gonna know what food insecurity or the specter of medical bankruptcy feels like. Should he impose some consequence on himself, like he only gets to spend $1 million on leisure over the next year?

Perhaps hand over his job to someone that may do a better job out of it.

Perhaps instead of Meta paying the severances, Zuck could dip into his massive bank account.

You don't want that, because for market capitalism to work, Meta has to suffer some consequences too.

In theory, by losing 11k jobs, it is.

>What specific consequence would you expect him to bear?

If your decisions lead to 11,000 people losing their jobs, and you "take responsibility for that", then you should be 11,001.

Edit: Happy to take the down votes, but also happy to have a dialogue around why this might be a flawed take.

I'm no fan of Zuck, but what did he do in this case but create a company that provided a lot of jobs, then made some bad forecasting decisions that resulted in losing some of those jobs?

Plenty of CEOs have blamed the economy, the pipeline, the customers, the competition, the weather, etc. He's accepting he made some decisions that over-extended the company and as a result they have to make difficult layoffs. (Which has happened at every company I've been a part of and is happening at many other companies just in the past week.)

There is always employee turnover in business, this is normal and employees are never guaranteed lifetime employment or the CEO quits too, that's silly. Standard part of all contracts with US companies is an at will clause stating that employees can be terminated at will without reason except for an illegal one. The people losing their jobs should thank Zuck for the time he did employ them, the chance he took on them, and also for the generous severance packages he's giving them during a general economic downturn.

Why? What if your decisions lead to hiring 100k, and -10k in a downturn. Is that a net good or not?

What if you want to hang on, and hope to hire more in the future?

Maybe he could see that these people all receive the same salary they did at Facebook until they can find another job? No idea how the math would work out on that, but that seems to be the kind of "taking responsibility" that would actually be meaningful.

In a case like this, I don't think the point should be whether Zuckerberg "would actually feel" a consequence: it should be whether the people getting laid off—as in, the ones who were wronged—can feel it.

> Maybe he could see that these people all receive the same salary they did at Facebook until they can find another job?

If you mean unlimited, this seems like an unreasonable expectation. FB employees receive a 4 month severance package, 4 months should be plenty of time to find a job for a developer/office worker.

I read 4 months of severance, plus 2 weeks per year of service (likely up to a maximum?), 6 months of health insurance paid, plus job placement services from a 3rd-party vendor.

That's more than fair.

Actually they explicitly said uncapped re years of service.

Very generous I'd say.

Extremely generous compared to typical severance packages

I’m not really sure what you mean. If Facebook keeps paying them indefinitely that’s just…not doing a layoff.

The article says 4 months of severance (+2wks/yrs worked) is being paid and medical is covered for 6mo.

I dunno, think Zuck losing however may billions of dollars of net worth is a pretty stiff consequence. He didn’t have to take responsibility but did. He also literally paid for the consequences.

Is it, though? On paper, I've lost about 35% of my net worth in the recent market downturn, and it hasn't affected my life even the slightest. Maybe it's different if it's your own company and your ego is tied up in the stock price, but some numbers in a brokerage account going down doesn't feel like a "stiff consequence" to me.

A billionaire that looses half their net-worth is still a billionaire. They still hold more money than you can dream of, they still hold more power then you can imagine.

It is not the same for a billionaire to loose money as it is for you or me. To take a concrete example. Elon Musk could just close down Twitter right now, and waste away his 44 bn USD he spent on it. After that squander, he would still be the richest man on the planet.

Right but that’s got nothing to with consequences. You’re annoyed that the consequence is… the consequence. Instead of what? Some abstract punitive ideal?

I mean if you have one billion and you lose half you are not a billionaire any more?

You are correct on technicality, but you know I was speaking generally. Even so, a millionaire that still has 500 millions after they seriously screw up, still has a ton of money and power. The consequence is still minuscule next to me loosing half my money.

A real consequence would be them loosing everything except 5000 USD

True, but what should happen instead? If losing lots of billions won't be enough, what would be?

idk. If this many people were to loose their jobs under my authority, I think I would at the very least loose my job. But perhaps there also ought to be a class action law suite, workers should be able to sue a negligent business leaders that costs them their jobs, similar how a shareholder can sue for lost profits.

But honestly a business leader that screws up so bad, should probably loose all their wealth, like 100%.

Such a policy would mean that the consequences of a risk going wrong vastly outweigh the benefits of success.

That would incentivize extremely risk-averse decisions by business leaders and lead to society-wide stagnation. The result would be far more suffering overall.

I think that doesn’t need to be a bad thing. This all depends on what risk behavior does in a societal context and how much a particular leader is actually contributing to the business.

We actually have a reason to believe that the standard risk attracted business is a net-negative for society. These businesses tend to rely on government bailouts when their risky behavior doesn’t work out, or they lay off a large number of people, or they cause massive environmental damage, etc. I much prefer a business that plays it safe and doesn’t risk our environment and our economy while maximizing the profits they give to their shareholders.

Secondly, there is no reason to believe that a CEO is any sort of supreme decision maker of a company. Perhaps a democratized workplace—where the workers have a say in whether the business should engage in a risky behavior—is better at evaluating the risk. If that is the case then a CEO dictator might not want to lead the business into a risky endeavor at since they might get sued if it goes wrong, but workers who have only their jobs to loose might vote to do exactly that.

I find the society-wide stagnation prediction lacking in imagination.

You'd have to prove negligence, which is practically impossible in this case - he bet on some technology, it didn't work out, that happens thousands of times all over. Also, I know this is not something you'd like to hear, but you are not entitled to be employed at any particular firm, and company owner does not owe you a fiduciary duty to continue your employment. Also, FB employees hardly could complain about being treated poorly - I heard 500k+ compensation packages for engineers aren't out of the ordinary there. Tell it to somebody who works in a factory for 50k and see if they would think you were mistreated, after earning more in you short while than some earn in their whole life.

> similar how a shareholder can sue for lost profits.

Only if there's negligence or fraud, which you have about zero chance to prove in this case.

> But honestly a business leader that screws up so bad, should probably loose all their wealth, like 100%.

Would you agree to lose 100% of you money each time you make a mistake? If not, why should he?

> If this many people were to loose their jobs under my authority, I think I would at the very least loose my job.

This doesn't seem logical. Companies aren't some static things. Especially social media companies, which usually have very short lives. A corrective, appropriate, action, in response to a changing market, could very easily be a reduction in headcount.

All evidence suggests Facebook has no future [1].

> But honestly a business leader that screws up so bad

What's your metric for screwing up? Is it short, medium, or long term? Should short term goals/profits be the only goal of a company?

1. https://techcrunch.com/2022/08/11/teens-abandoned-facebook-p...

> What's your metric for screwing up? Is it short, medium, or long term? Should short term goals/profits be the only goal of a company?

As a worker my metric is first and foremost about the worker. A company screws up if it fails to bring profits to the workers. Laying off 11,000 workers certainly falls under a big screw up by that metric. I know companies—such as charity/non-profits exists who have humanitarian goals, or even amusement, as their goals, however I don’t see Facebook there.

But we live in a capitalist society and most companies’ goals are profits for their shareholders. Facebook seems to have screwed that goal up as well. And instead of letting the person who lead the company into this failure pay the price of failing, they take it down on the workers... This seems quite unfair, and is even illegal in many (most?) countries.

> As a worker my metric is first and foremost about the worker.

I can't extract any meaning from this. Could you be more specific?

Maybe a scenario will help. What if the company becomes not profitable enough (there can be reason's that don't require leadership fault), and it will fail unless workers are let go? Do you let it fail, causing all to lose their jobs, or do you trim the fat, allowing some to continue?

I would assume you would want to look at the whole, more than the individual.

Please note the above happened to a company I worked for, during the last recession, and it was, very objectively, not the fault of the leadership.

In Facebooks case their owner is worth so much, he could give every layed of worker a million USD and it would only cost him a fraction of what he’s net worth. I don’t know your scenario but the recession was for sure a special time. Now companies are seeing record profits and are blundering it in stupid endeavors like the Metaverse, so I don’t think your case applies at all. But in any case, other countries—outside of a global recession—have laws against mass layoffs, companies usually declare bankruptcy if they are at this point, and their respective governments starts a salary insurance program where they pay the workers that lost their jobs for a set amount of time. If the bankruptcy is bad, and the leaders manage to take some money from it, they will go to court for the damages the bankruptcy causes.

If I try very hard to tease out the answer to my question, it seems that you're suggesting that bankruptcy would be preferred to layoffs, with the government providing temporary relief after everyone loses their jobs. This seems like a net negative, compared to some people losing their jobs, and the company possibly moving on to great success, with those remaining, and future, employees.

I apologize if I interpreted your response incorrectly, but it was, again, very indirect.

The purpose of my question was to help me understand your perspective, and to help you present some meaning to your statement "As a worker my metric is first and foremost about the worker."

The workers don’t vanish with the business. If the government provides enough relief these workers can organize around a new business that provides a similar service (maybe even buying the intellectual property and/or branding from the bankrupt estate) under a completely new leadership. Or if the business isn’t actually providing anything useful (like many on this thread are suggesting is the case with facebook) then these workers are probably better off finding new jobs (after being compensated from the failing business).

Facebook is extremely rich, facebook can afford to break apart their business and give part of it to those 11,000 workers. Heck facebook can even afford to keep those 11,000 workers earning 6 digits while being tasked with doing nothing. In either case, it would be in the interest of the worker. What is not in the interest of a worker is having a leadership that makes bad decisions, wastes the time of the workers, and then lays them off. This kind of behavior should not be rewarded.

I can only, as charitably as possible, interpret that as a confirmation that bankruptcy is preferred.

> The workers don’t vanish with the business. If the government provides enough relief these workers can organize around a new business

Starting from scratch is rarely an efficient, or possible, solution, especially anything with IP involved.

> after being compensated from the failing business

Were they not compensated for their time during employment? Wouldn't being compensated for the failing business require knowing the future? I'm not asking this negatively, I'm just trying to understand perspective. Have you ever worked for a startup, or been involved in a small/medium business that's not-yet profitable?

I think you would find extreme risk aversion in a system implemented like you describe, if the only option were continuous success or quick failure. Are there any areas of the world that prefer bankruptcy over headcount reduction, where we could look at the statistics?

Responsibility actually is just admitting fault, IMHO. It's accountability that's all about paying the cost for the fault.

Thank you. Saying “my bad” is the first step. Fixing it afterwards is what good people do.

When someone is accused of a crime, they can plead innocent or guilty. That is step one.

There are more steps after that…

For a CEO, the next step is trying to get the business back on track and restore stock price. I think that his crazy to think Zuckerberg will not try to do that.

What do you suggest?

Cutting bonuses, for example?

Zuck already doesn't get any salary or bonus.

He gets $1 in salary but his total comp is in the tens of millions.

Wouldn't that mostly impact just the executives and not Mark Zuckerberg himself? He did seem to get a 23 million dollar bonus last year, but that's peanuts compared to his net worth.

Compared with his net worth, or compared with the reduction in his net worth?

Both, I think. 23 million would be .023% or 100 billion and like .08% of 30 billion

Agreed. If I fuck up and fire people, I'm not taking home a bonus.

There was a time when investors/the board could fire a CEO making terrible decisions (like sinking billions into white whale VR projects), but no longer.

AFAIK Facebook ownership has been setup in a way that nobody can fire Zuck, and investors were fully aware of it when investing.

> There was a time when investors/the board could fire a CEO making terrible decisions

This is still by far the most common case, and in fact it is probably becoming more common because large index funds have recently increased requirements related to ownership share structuring (https://corpgov.law.harvard.edu/2017/08/05/sp-and-ftse-russe...).

In this specific case though, the investors knew that Zuck had complete control and they decided to invest regardless, so I do not have any sympathy for their complaints.

Does this mean Facebook wouldn’t be allowed to list in this index if it tried today?

Taking responsibility would be putting himself on the chopping block. I don't blame him for not doing so, but that's what that word means to me.

Have you ever quit your job over a mistake you made - say a bug you introduced in your code? That would also be taking responsibility.

Life is a lot more nuanced than, "If bug in code, then lose job". Your hypothetical depends on the severity of the bug in the code.

Edit: In this instance, the "bug" led to 11,000 people losing their jobs.

If a mistake I made resulted in thousands of people losing their jobs who wouldn’t consider it? At the very least I wouldn’t lie about “taking responsibility” if I had no intention.

The only mistake was hiring too many people in the first place, way way beyond what was really necessary. I suppose that gave them false hopes of being forever employed by Fb, aka millionaires in the making. I know being fired stings like hell, but it just a job, a limited time contract. Hopefully some good startups will come out of this whole situation.

Ironically the only people who can hope to be forever employed are the execs running the ship into the ground.

What does zuck losing his job look like? He just stops collecting a salary? His stock stops vesting? Does he have to relinquish all his ownership? I can’t imagine anything short of that would affect him in any appreciable way, and that doesn’t seem like a reasonable result of “getting fired.” If I got fired today, all my stock would still belong to me.

Admit that you either no longer know how to steer the ship, or you don't know which direction to go, and then let someone else do it.

> Admit that you either no longer know how to steer the ship

This makes the assumption that the current path was the only, and best, path, and that the CEO doesn't see a better path in the distance, or some danger immediately ahead.

Most of the big tech companies were made by people who ignored the crowds yelling at them to keep going straight. And, many of the failed behemoths of today did just that.

I've called this the public apology ritual. In the minds of the angry mob, the person is irredeemable and should suffer the worst fate (in our society that might entail being "canceled"... shunned).

They don't WANT to forgive them, or provide them with any redemption. Regardless of the apology, you will use it to push back further. Look for any hole in the apology to point to. If that fails, criticize the apology for being too late, or only to save face... in any case, make sure to proclaim that you're even more angry after the apology.

I'm not saying people should never apologize, but I get sick of this whole routine and all the acting. People will always just do what they want and it will just be based on a knee jerk sense of how much they like you.

I think people are forgetting that a severance package is not a legal requirement, and that this one is actually pretty generous. "I fucked up, here's what I can offer" is more or less what this letter is saying, but it's just not drawing the connection between the two parts in a way that makes sense to people.

People can disagree about whether the package is satisfactory, but that's completely beside the point. The severance package is the make good Zuckerberg is offering: it is an expense his company is paying when they do not have to.

It is the implied answer to the question "Oh yeah? How is he taking responsibility?" Argue about whether it's good enough, but it is an answer.

> Remember a few years ago when people were asking "Why can't people just say they made a mistake and own up to it instead of shifting blame?" Now that people are taking responsibility for mistakes publicly

But they aren't, this isn't “taking responsibility”, this is just following the latest spin doctor trend in public communication.

Taking responsibility for a failure means stepping down.

Admitting mistakes and taking responsibility are two different things. People were calling for the first, not the second.

What they're complaining about is that Zuckerberg can't take responsibility here, it's too late (being responsible would have been gambling less), but he is claiming he will which is more obvious marketing speak (sounds good, doesn't make any sense).

Apologizing means you won't do it again. What steps are being taken so that the situation being apologized for doesn't happen again?

It sounds like you should pay more for developers because we don't have an issue retaining top talent over in the financial space.

> Financial space

Real numbers here: $250k for a mid-level UX designer and $575k (base comp) for an Angular dev. That's expensive. And, depending on the candidate, not worth it.

There's a lot of reality outside of FAANG and finance.

Nothing short of seppuku streamed live via Oculus will redeem the honor of a business guy putting his honest level best effort behind some business things that didn't make as much money as he hoped.

It means he's not trying to scapegoat a VP or the board or say "It's not my fault nobody foresaw this economy."

It doesn't mean anything in terms of action or "self-punishment" but nor should it. The dude has already lost many more billions of dollars than you or I will ever see.

I'm no fan of the guy, but some people won't even take responsibility verbally. So at least he's not descending that low.

And the severance seems decent so it all seems to be handled fine. Not sure what more you're looking for.

> The dude has already lost many more billions of dollars than you or I will ever see

Those are mostly virtual dollars and he has a lot more real ones in his account, while I agree that whatever he does to "punish himself" will be practically meaningless it might have some symbolic meaning. Lowering his and senior management salaries and incentives won't save jobs but will give a better image of the crisis

His salary is already only $1/yr, and has been since 2013. So there's nothing to do there.

And lowering the salaries of senior management doesn't make any sense. They're paid market rates. If you punitively cut their compensation in half or something, they'll just leave for another company that does pay market rate. You can't force them to stick around and be "punished", that's not how salaried employment in a market economy works.

Also, punishing management goes against the idea that he's taking all the responsibility here. Wouldn't that just be scapegoating?

> His salary is already only $1/yr, and has been since 2013. So there's nothing to do there.

That's a joke, a tax dodge, a PR gag, a farce. There's nothing fiscally responsible about it. Taking financial responsibility, if such a thing exists, would involve giving up his equity comp or even some of his holdings. Give it to the employees whose careers you've disrupted through your bad business decisions. That's responsibility.

"Market rates" is likewise a joke.

A: "Market rates for corporate executives are obscene."

B: "They're paid market rates, what's the problem?"

Does Zuckerberg take equity compensation? I thought he just owned ~14% of FB.

You're right, he has given up equity comp. I was curious so went looking...

Based on the latest proxy, he does not take any equity compensation. He only gets his $1 salary, a corporate private jet for business travel and $10M / year "to cover additional costs related to his and his family's personal security. This allowance is paid to Mr. Zuckerberg net of required tax withholdings, and Mr. Zuckerberg must apply the net amount towards additional personnel, equipment, services, residential improvements, or other security-related costs."


Just so everyone is clear here, $1 salary + travel/security rounds out to $27,000,001 for 2021.

Additionally, travel/security don't seem to have any hard spending limit and alleviates Zuck's personal tax liability. (by $27M anyway)

Per the filing you linked:

" Mr. Zuckerberg uses private aircraft for personal travel in connection with his overall security program (including, beginning in 2022, a private aircraft that is indirectly and wholly owned by Mr. Zuckerberg and operated by an independent charter company). On certain occasions, Mr. Zuckerberg may be accompanied by guests when using private aircraft. "

"the costs of Mr. Zuckerberg's security program vary from year to year depending on requisite security measures, his travel schedule, and other factors."

(Emphasis mine)

That says requested and doesn’t specify what he actually receives which is weasely enough to make me question the word choice

That's not how proxies work

Does the wording here not allow for a different result than what is implied? I’m not familiar with the specific legalities around this document

There is generally very little that is weasely "implied" in SEC filings. The company is representing those facts to shareholders (maybe even more so in a proxy filing, which is what shareholders must read before voting at their annual general meeting). So every single word is very heavily scrutinized to avoid ambiguity, with the text remaining mostly constant over the years except for what really needs to be updated to avoid any inadvertent change in meaning.

The excerpt I quoted was written for a different purpose (namely to explain the $10M / year and whether the compensation committee deems it appropriate), so perhaps you feel that the language is somewhat vague as far as answering your question goes. I actually think it's pretty clear as it ends with

> "has requested to receive only $1 in annual salary and does not receive any bonus payments, equity awards, or other incentive compensation."

But earlier on in the document (https://www.bamsec.com/filing/132680122000043/1?cik=1326801&...), they do make the explicit assertion that you are looking for:

> "2021 Equity Awards. Mr. Zuckerberg did not receive any additional equity awards in 2021 because our compensation, nominating & governance committee believed that his existing equity ownership position sufficiently continued to align his interests with those of our shareholders."

Corporate executive are also employees.

And their careers have been more disrupted than some random software engineer's career.

It seems fair. If executives were making the decisions that landed the company in a difficult situation, it's only fair they bear the consequences of their failure. Besides, it's difficult to empathize when their compensation packages are, while market rate, significantly higher than the engineers who do their bidding. I wouldn't be surprised if the fraction of executives that would be able to retire at this point was much higher than the one for engineers, which is likely much higher than the one for non-engineering individual contributors.

Also remember that since it's executives who set executive compensation, there is some incentive to inflate it.

The CEO is obsessed with the metaverse. Not sure the other executive had much say.

(They can, of course, walk away if they disagree. But so can every other employee.)

> And their careers have been more disrupted than some random software engineer's career.

Were they really? Did they just lose their jobs and are they now underwater on mortgages that their families can no longer afford without that income? How many executives lives were "disrupted" worse than that? Because I'm talking about a significant fraction of 11k people that you're dismissing as "some random software engineer."

Not to mention "here on a H1-B visa with a short time to find a new tech job or be deported".

Executives are not employees, they have agency to decide the companies direction. More agency brings more responsibility

Need to point out that this “there’s nothing you can do, all the incentives align to him keeping the wealth while others suffer” is the sort of dunking on capitalism that leads people towards socialism

As a Nordic citizen I am not sure we don't have the same problem of executives not sharing responsibilities.

We’ve tried it, it was far worse. There are still people alive who were there, maybe all the younger people advocating socialism should chat with them?

Europe is far worse? The New Deal was far worse? We’ve decided to go down the cyberpunk corporate hellscape path since the 80s and post 2001 it’s just been consistently degrading workers lives. I think most millennials and gen z would trade their financial outlook for their parents so I really can’t accept this “far worse” description

None of that was socialism. It’s welfare capitalism which the entire west today has in one variant or another. Saying we should tune up regulations and/or the safety net is an entirely reasonable thing we could have a discussion about. Talking about socialism is ignorant or foolish.

They’re all socialist policies, no country is purely capitalistic or purely socialistic. To be clear when I said “leads people towards socialism” I meant pushes them in a direction that advocates for more socialist policies like increasing the safety net

DDR was 'real' socialist.

In no way. The DDR was a communist cesspit of a proxy state for the USSR from day one.

It was not socialist. It just called itself that.

Communism is a subset of socialism. Welfare capitalism isn’t.

Communism isn’t a subset of socialism unless you’re using the American conservative definition where they all just equate to evil

On the contrary that’s what actual communists believed.

There’s a Baptists and bootleggers coalition to pervert the meaning of socialism. Right wingers want to call everything to the left of Ronald Reagan socialism so they can paint it all as evil and a subset of people that are fairly bog standard welfare capitalists want to call themselves socialists because they think it sounds edgy and cool.

They are both wrong. Socialism involves collectivizing the means of production. Not a wealth tax. Not a greenhouse emissions rule. Not forcing companies to put women on their board. Not repealing at will employment. Collectivizing the means of production.

If you want to call for nationalizing Facebook then you are a socialist (and a fool.)

When polled, about 60% of folks who lived and worked as adults in the soviet bloc regret its fall into capitalism.

Notably missing from the polls, the millions that died in prisons, labor camps, or just starved.

And by how much would that have affected the poll numbers?

Or is this just a glib low effort put down?

glib low effort put down to a glib low effort statistic.

When there are an estimated 7 to 9 million excess deaths recorded for the duration of the USSR, there's certainly going to be some survivorship bias with any polling.

The fall of the soviet system to capitalism was a mess, but it doesn't actually tell us anything about how people felt about communism vs capitalism. The statistic presented was in defense of socialism/communism. But, the transition from the soviet union to capitalist Russia was messy in its own right. Russia was looted by oligarchs taking advantage of the disarray.

All that being said, it looks like the poster was referencing this article, which is based on a survey conducted in 2009, long after the collapse of the soviet union...but one year into a worldwide recession. So I'm still not sure what conclusions one can really draw from that survey.


Oh thanks, good point. Bringing up the people killed by the ideology puts Capitalism on even shakier footing. In one country, India, capitalism killed more than the overinflated imperialist "estimates" for all soviet bloc countries over its entire lifetime. If we're including dead people in our hypotheticals, then there's the near-entire population of the Americas and Australia before colonialism, and a good chunk of Africa, Asia and elsewhere.

I'm really not interested in beating a dead horse. My only point is that using one survey from an unsuccessful implementation of communism, is not a sufficient critique of capitalism.

I no longer buy into either ideology as inherently good/bad anyways. At the end of the day, the powerful will exploit any system to their own benefit. I do believe that Communism is inherently dangerous, but only because it relies on an involuntary contract from everyone in the system to participate in a specific way. That contract violates the human impulse to act in their own short term rational interest. So you need to enforce rules, and that means establishing a more authoritarian governing body. Communism demands personal sacrifice of the accumulation of private wealth- and humans are naturally selfish. It just doesn't scale well.

Notably missing from understanding is that advocating for collective ownership of things for the benefit of the masses instead of the 1% is not the same as advocating for gulags and mass graves. It's as ridiculous as advocating for space exploration and people like you retorting "you want Challenger 10, you do, you want schoolteachers dying in agonising explosions".

Salvador Allende became President of Chile in 1970, he presided for 3 years before being taken down by a coup supported by the US government. In the time he was in power, he pushed a socialist program for Chile. Let's see some highlights of his "prisons, labor camps and starving", eh?

- nationalization of large-scale industries (notably copper mining and banking)

- a programme of free milk for children in the schools and in the shanty towns

- payment of pensions and grants was resumed

- increased construction of residential buildings, averaging 55,000/year

- all part-time workers granted rights to social security, and increased payments

- proposed electricity price-increase withdrawn

- bread prices fixed

- 55,000 volunteers sent to the south to teach literacy, and provide medical care

- obligatory minimum wage for workers of all ages was established

- free milk introduced for expectant and nursing mothers and [young] children

- free school-meals established

- rent reductions

- construction of Santiago subway rescheduled to serve working-class neighbourhoods first.

- state-sponsored distribution of free food to neediest citizens.

- minimum taxable income-level was raised

- middle-class Chileans benefited from elimination of taxes on modest incomes and property.

- Exemptions from capital taxes were extended, benefitted 330,000 small proprietors.

- According to one estimate, purchasing power went up by 28% between October 1970 and July 1971.[53]

- The rate of inflation fell from 36.1% in 1970 to 22.1% in 1971

- Average real wages rose by 22.3% during 1971.

- Minimum real wages for blue-collar workers were increased by 56% during the first quarter of 1971 - real minimum wages for white-collar workers were increased by 23% - Although the acceleration of inflation in 1972 and 1973 eroded part of the initial increase in wages, they still rose (on average) in real terms during the 1971–73 period.

and, much more;

- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvador_Allende#Presidency

By contrast, the UK today has 27% of children living in poverty[1], and the UK government has voted against free school meals for children, and just tried to push through a tax cut for the rich, and electricity prices have gone up while energy companies are posting record profits, housing construction is down and prices are up so normal citizens are being priced out of the housing market.

[1] https://cpag.org.uk/child-poverty/child-poverty-facts-and-fi...

You have been unfortunately and predictably downvoted.

I appreciate a full throated defense of real socialism over people that say “fuck capitalism” and then when you dig into the details they want capitalism with some regulations and redistribution.

Him keeping the wealth?

He's lost literally 73% of his wealth over the past year and change (assuming it's all META ownership). That is a spectacular drop.

And the people getting laid off are getting very generous severance packages.

So I don't know what you're talking about. The market has punished him, and quite severely, for his missteps.

But it's not like he was being evil or malicious or something. He overhired thinking growth would continue. It didn't. Now he has to lay off. A million managers have found themselves in the same situation before.

> The dude has already lost many more billions of dollars than you or I will ever see.

Is it worse to lose a billion dollars when you have two b, or a thousand dollars when all you have is 2k?

I’d say the latter because what you end up with is much more relatively closer to zero. Of course you weren’t losing much in the first place so there’s plenty of argument for the former as well.

That latter argument ignores the marginal utility of dollars. It is a mental illness to think going from 2 to 1 billion is worse than going from 2k to 1k

The marginal utility of money is a real thing, but it applies to purchase of life basics, like goods, services, and security.

The marginal utility of money for power and influence in our societies seems to start a few orders of magnitude above the upper middle class, and so far doesn't seem to bend down very much as money increases.

To be fair, to "lose" billions of dollars. Really means putting that money into the economy without any immediate return. Which kinda sounds like a good thing?

When the valuation drops those money just evaporates. They don’t go into economy.

Inefficient allocation of capital doesn't sound like a good thing to me.

Maybe it wasn't so well allocated if it was gone this fast.

> I wonder what taking responsibility actually means in practice.

"Some of you May Die, But it's a Sacrifice I am Willing to Make" - Lord Farquaad

Best quote.

I thought this https://twitter.com/GergelyOrosz/status/1590304422735015936 was a good explanation:

> What this means is they don’t blame outside factors. Compare this w layoffs where the CEO says this is due to “the economy” “the macro climate”, suggesting they did everything right. When someone says they take accountability, it means it was their poor decisions - that could have/should have been better - that led to this. You know who to blame.

This is a pretty poor take, IMO. I have not seen any difference in results of a CEO who "takes responsibility" vs "blames outside factors". Taking responsibility seems to be a cheap way to come off as a better person without actually doing anything differently.

Does it get tiring being this cynical all the time? Admit it, nothing he could have said would have satisfied folks like you.

This was a tactful announcement and a generous severance after providing a job with pay and benefits in the top 0.1% for potentially many years.

I am making a much more narrow point than you're interpreting it. The Twitter thread is claiming people who "take responsibility" are somehow superior to those who don't. I am saying I see no evidence to believe that. Talk is cheap.

My personal belief is that I would like to see discussion of the system that gets us to the point of mass layoffs. As rich as Zuck or Musk or whoever is, they are still close to gears in the system than orchestrators, so we should probably have a discussion about if this situation is something we could modify the system to prevent, and if we want to modify the system in that way.

> somehow superior to those who don't.

Yes. Accepting responsibility is more preferable to not accepting it and blaming it on other people/things, period.

The disagreement hinges on what it means to "accept responsibility". Anybody can write the words.

The first step to accept responsibility is to acknowledge it.

And you can also acknowledge it and then continue doing whatever you're doing.

True, nothing he could have said would satisfy. But he is in a unique position to render stunning aid to those displaced. The severance is fine, not totally unusual for a company that isn't going under.

Are "results" the only thing that matter to you?

Let's say you have two leaders in this situation. #1 says "The macro economic climate is bad, so we're laying people off." #2 says "I made a mistake; this was my fault." All other things equal, I know which one I'd prefer to work with... How a leader comports themselves is just as important as their results -- especially in bad times.

I want to hear both. "The macro environment is bad, and we never baked that into any of our forecasts, which we should have. I take full responsibility for not doing that."

I don't really understand your counter. It costs an executive nothing to write those words down. What do you think should matter to me?

I understand this take but it seems to assume that people and systems aren't flawed.

My take assumes that? I don't think it does. My point is simply that I don't see any evidence to say that someone who makes that claim is somehow better than someone that blames the environment. It's very easy to wrote those words down.

Actually to me his explanation kind of sounds like he's blaming the economy

Yeah that’s about it. He’s lost about $90b in net worth. I suppose you can debate whether that’s punishment enough or not when you’ve got another $38b left or whatever.

But I’ll tell you this from experience: lasting people off because you chose to grow too fast is really, really hard. I’ve done it, though in my case it was a lot fewer people and I actually knew and loved them all. If I had to lay off 11,000 people I’d lose a lot of sleep over it.

I can’t imagine life is fun for him at the moment. But, just like every affected employee, he will get through it.

He's lost a lot but it's not like he's having to ask his wife to stop going out to lunch with her friends. There's a level of wealth where the numbers just stop having any real meaning. $1B is still multiple lifetimes of the most decadent luxury currently possible.

> He's lost a lot but it's not like he's having to ask his wife to stop going out to lunch with her friends

Fairly sure that none of the FB employees are paid so low where they have to stop asking their spouses to go on a $20 lunch with friends.

They do have to be concerned about where the money is going to come from to pay their mortgages when severance runs out. They got laid off into an environment where layoffs at companies they might have worked at before are reducing headcount.

Not saying they shouldn't have saved for a rainy day. This is a scary time to be laid off.

$20 lunch. Must be nice. I don't spend that on myself --- ever. My target for lunch (if I don't pack it myself) is $5. That used to be pretty easy but getting harder these days.

Unless they just got burnt on their RSUs. I'm sure a good portion paid the tax already and are now getting hosed.

> the most decadent luxury currently possible.

Hey now, if he only has $38B that means he can't afford to buy Twitter until Elon finishes destroying it.

His wife is a pediatrician. She can pay her own way.

This isn't hard for Zuck - he just directs his subordinates to layoff a bunch of people, and then goes back to swimming in his vault of cash. Losing x billion of essentially infinity money is the same as losing no money. Once you reach Zuck's level of wealth you can't really even conceive of non-billionairs as the being same species as you, much less empathize with them.

Have you ever managed or led people?

Did you find it easier or harder than when you didn’t manage people?

Have you ever laid someone off or fired them? Was it so easy?

> Have you ever laid someone off or fired them? Was it so easy?

I've heard this sentiment from people who have laid those off and it always falls flat to me.

Laying off 1 or 100 people compared to being laid off - especially when the person doing the firing, usually a Director or above, is making 3-4x at least what the line employees are - is like comparing pricking your finger with a needle to cutting it off with a dull knife.

It should be difficult if you're not a sociopath, but they're so incomparable it's not even a statement worth making or considering.

I’m not arguing that laying people off is nearly as hard as getting laid off.

I’m arguing against the idea that if you’re a manager or have money, that moments like this are easy or that there’s no empathy. i’m not saying that anyone should feel bad for directors, CEOs, or whoever, but they shouldn’t paint a ridiculous straw man either.

You could even argue that in Zuck’s position, money is a non-factor. He has more than enough money. What he doesn’t have is a beloved and future-proof company, and these layoffs only push him further from that.

Billionaires are that because they have exploited the surplus value of their underlings. To say that they “care” about them is clearly a contradiction.

Zuckerberg has complete voting control of Facebook. Nobody can remove him as CEO.

If this sort of thing bothered Zuck, he would not lay people off.

Is he doing this to prop up his stock price for himself?

To be sure, laying off employees would be not be easy. Imagine if these were people you had lunch with, chatted with in the office every day, knew their husbands, wives....

Do you think Zuck was that close with any of the 11,000 people who were laid off?

If it was a small startup (been there done that) then yeah, when you see people day-to-day, and get to know them and their lives outside of work? Really hard to fire people, knowing how it will affect the other people in their lives.

A multi-national, multi-billion dollar company with 80,000+ employees? I'm not so sure.

Laying off one or five or ten good people is a tragedy.

Laying off 13,000 is a statistic.

(Based on a badly misquoted Stalin.)

> I suppose you can debate whether that’s punishment enough or not when you’ve got another $38b left or whatever.

But that's not taking responsibility.

As an analogy, if you crash into another car with your car, you can't just say "It's my fault, I take the blame" and then walk away without paying for the repairs. Accepting blame is a nice first step, but taking responsibility means restoring the victim to how they were before the action happened.

You're mixing up responsibility and restitution. "It's my fault" is exactly taking responsibility.

Yeah that’s about it. He’s lost about $90b in net worth. I suppose you can debate whether that’s punishment enough

He didn't pay a fine, it isn't any sort of punishment. He tanked the value of the asset that is the primary component of his wealth. That money is gone whether he "takes responsibility" or not.

Also, like Musk's Tesla holdings, he couldn't sell a significant portion of those without reducing the value of what he retained.

And unlike any of his employees, he is a billionaire. I'm sure he'll find a way to sleep.

I'm pretty sure that there's some multi millionaires left at FB. Chris Cox is still there, he's likely a billionaire. There's potentially one or two others left...

Everyone: The hero of their own story.

I can't imagine these sort of layoffs, which are baked into the lifecycle and business plans of the company, were not something he wasn't anticipating years and years ago when hiring was being ramped up. In fact some notable fraction of these 11,000 were hired in the first place only to be fired, by design.

Sweet dreams.

At sone point “I take responsibility” came to mean nothing more than “My bad”. It’s as if the act of saying it was your fault is all that’s necessary.

Ive noticed it used this way more and more, presumably as people realize it’s utility as a get of jail free card

Just months ago, "The Crying CEO" guy became a viral meme for expressing too much empathy in a layoff.

It's fucking job terminations. You're GOING to be criticized no matter how you do them. The best approach is to just be robotic about it, and maybe throw in a platitude that amounts to, "It's not you, it's me".

Sure. But it's only "taking responsibility" if you demonstrate you're actually intending to either a) actually be accountable in some fashion and/or b) actually lay out how you'll change to make the bad thing not happen in the future.

"We need to layoff half of the company. I'm sorry and take responsibility. I have failed our employees and shareholders. Because of this, I am stepping down". That's taking responsibility.

"We had a major F-up. It was my responsibility. And here are the concrete steps I am taking to ensure it never happens again, along with the mechanisms you all have to hold me accountable. If these fail, the following bad thing will happen to me." That's taking responsibility

A company is bound to fire people in a well functioning economy or the alternative is every single employee will lose their job when the company goes bankrupt. Some people would rather bring every company down to the ground before firing a single person. In a well functioning economy what you then want is a short worker reallocation time.

Also if one of your options for "taking responsibility" is quitting, I guess your view of the world is that you would also fire any of your employees when they mess up, when whole industries have recognized the need for blameless cultures where making mistakes is part of the learning process.

You can fire people and/or let them go without claiming you "take full responsibility". That's ok, and exactly my point.

The phrase "I take responsibility" is never accompanied with any sign that the person does in fact take responsibility. It means more than just "Ooops, I did a bad"

I know that this is a low quality comment, but thank you, you have restored my faith in humanity.

No, he was criticized for using it as publicity on LinkedIn.

He was not criticized for showing too much empathy. He was criticized for not actually showing empathy. He made it all about himself. You might want to look into how you misunderstood that so badly.

He wasn’t criticized for having empathy, he was criticized for the narcissistic attempt to make the layoffs all about how his emotions.

What? It wasn't for "expressing too much empathy", it's for being obviously staged. Like, who gets their hot-take emotional reaction on video and then uploads it? /r/whyweretheyfilming vibes.

The Stripe people did it right, or at least as right as you can under these circumstances. https://stripe.com/en-au/newsroom/news/ceo-patrick-collisons...

Relevant discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=33450753

they got grief for exactly the same line zuckerberg is getting grief for in this thread.

Because there are a lot of people who just aren’t ever going to be satisfied with anything short of Zuckerberg feeling the pinch of not knowing whether he’s going to make his mortgage payment next month. It’s just people’s natural desire for punishment. I personally have a lot of disdain for zuck and what he’s built but the idea that he is ever going to experience enough misfortune to seem “just” as an offset for these layoffs is pure fantasy. If anyone is waiting for that, there is simply no path to satisfaction for them. Nothing except his own actions is going to stop him from being as billionaire as he wants to be.

Compare the Stripe layoff to the Meta one. The severance terms are very similar and I think the Meta offer is objectively better, if only slightly depending on tenure. Both the Stripe founders and Zuckerberg are both "taking responsibility" for the layoffs but without any resignation or personal financial burdens outside of just share price. This has basically zero chance of being a decrease in operating costs until well into 2023. Stripe and Meta seem to be on par with one another as far as how they handled their respective layoffs other than the Meta leak.

When did it mean anything other than "my bad"? It never did.

Taking responsibility would mean resigning as CEO, for example. Or altering the voting situation where he has absolute power, can't be voted out by the board of directors, and thus has no accountability for his actions and mistakes.

But just saying that you're taking responsibility is not actually taking responsibility. It's empty words.

I don't agree with that take at all. No leader would be able to learn from mistakes or grow if they had to metaphorically commit Seppuku every time they made a mistake by resigning or abdicating their authority.

Taking responsibility would mean owning the situation as being caused by you, and critically evaluating your actions to see if there were different paths you could have taken given the same information, or if there was other information that you should have added to your decision-making.

There are some mistakes so grave and unjustifiable that resignation would be the appropriate way to take responsibility for them, but I don't think a round of layoffs pending an expected economic downturn after excessive growth qualifies.

> if they had to metaphorically commit Seppuku every time they made a mistake

This is very far from Zuck's first mistake. In any case, though, I offered an alternative: making himself accountable to the board of directors. He is not accountable. He can't be fired, he can only resign. The fundamental problem is that Zuck gets to define the terms of his own accountability, which is almost an oxymoron.

And this is one downside to the unitary CEO/COB.

He, like Vladimir Putin, is only accountable to himself.

Ideally, society should not allow this type of business structure if a company is public or a reasonably large size (say 5k employees).

Employees can resign, users and customers can go elsewhere.

How does this relate to the mistake of vastly overhiring?

How does it relate to him being accountable? As the user up thread stated he is literally not accountable because he answers to no one

> As the user up thread stated

That was me.

> he is literally not accountable because he answers to no one

Zuck said he wanted to take accountability for overhiring and then having to do layoffs. So the question is, what does the theoretical possibility of employees resigning or users leaving have to do with accountability for overhiring and layoffs?

It has nothing to do with accountability. The reason that everyone has a visceral response to him saying he accountable is because we know it is not true

Sorry, I was confused by your reply. I thought you were arguing with me? Maybe not. But I'm still confused by it.

Ah, no. I’m in agreement that he is not being accountable. I am perhaps taking it farther in arguing that he is incapable of being accountable given how meta is structured

We got rid of kings in politics for a reason. Businesses will eventually learn these lessons, even if it's a hundred years later.

> Or altering the voting situation where he has absolute power

Absolutely this. Others in this thread are saying that the fact of having lost a lot of money is enough for him to be "accountable". But IMU the specific arrangement with Meta class B vs class A shares is that the group of other institutional investors lost _more_ but didn't have any ability to influence decisions, replace the CEO, etc. Zuckerberg's large on-paper loss isn't accountability for decisions he made, but is just the risk of being a wealthy person with a lopsided portfolio.

Both because of his role in deciding to hire so much, and because he's dead set on pursuing a metaverse vision which is controversial, I think "accountability" would require him to at least make it possible for other shareholders to vote on proposals on an equal footing.

"Where's the vaporware? Under the pickle...." is best portrayed by the younger types.


You know why the food sucks so bad when you know who they are catering to :p

That’s super pessimistic. What do you want him to say: “sucks all y’all lost your jobs but wasn’t my fault. Haha you’re unemployed now”. Like sure it’s not much, but without owning your mistakes how do you get better and improve to prevent them from repeating?

I think your confusng pessimism with scepticism.

Either his claim to take responsibility means something, in terms of it actually leading to consequnces and/or actions, or it doesn't. If it's the former, then what are they? If it's the latter, then why?

For example: do shareholders hold him to his responsibility? And if so, how? If they don't, who improves Meta's corporate governance to ensure that this self-admitted mistake doesnt reoccur and sexure their investment?

I've never worked at a BigCorp. How does this stuff work?

He can resign. As CEO he's ultimately responsible for the share price. By that measure, he just might be the worst-performing employee at the company.

He's also got full control of the company and arguably the shareholders not named Zucc want him, so he'd in some way be betraying them.

IIRC, the owner/CEO has fired himself some times, Ford had something like it, and I think LEGO too, years ago.

The shareholders not named zucc have zero influence on him being ceo whether they want him or not. He pioneered the tactic of having multiple classes of stock that let him retain all the voting power while still selling off “stock” that let him get investment money. Imo that sort of setup should be illegal because it leads to the sort of societally damaging behavior we see from meta

Societally damaging? Was AT&T labs societally damaging? Xerox park? Etc.

Since when does HN care about the stock price of a random company? The share price reflected the ownership structure so the people that bought in were aware and not coerced to buy the security. We shit on corporate short sightedness and suddenly everyone and their dog has a highly opinionated high conviction bet on what a random company should do with its cash flow?

Personally, I don’t care. If dude wants to try to build the jetsons space car, heck yeah. I’d rather someone in society try hard stuff (positive determinism) than more stock buy backs (like apple) or cash just sitting on the balance sheet idly (like historical google). Even if it 100% fails, society is better if we do research that doesn’t look outright obvious at first…that’s how we get better.

The other shareholders could sell at anytime if they don't like it; if they haven't sold, then they like him being CEO as far as we can tell.

They have sold, in droves. The stock has fallen 73% this year.

It's slightly absurd to say that "sell" is the only lever shareholders should have over public companies. It may be true in practical terms, but it's still a sad state of affairs.

Businesses can be successful while simultaneously operating in ways that you don't personally approve of. You're free to avoid doing business with those organizations.

That has nothing to do with the idea that shareholders have a say on how meta operates

Meta shareholders don't have much say on how Zuck runs things, that's what you signed up for when you buy Meta shares.

How many people upset about Meta layoffs were equally fierce in condemning Zuck for Meta's stock performance over the last decade? Seems like yet another case of people wanting their cake and eating it too -- the only novelty is the people affected are some of the most privileged people in human history.

They did sell. They literally had the largest losses in a single day in history by a single firm, but it doesn’t matter, he still controls the company

Do you have someone in mind?

If it was poker, then Mark just lost a big hand because he made a bad call. But he's still got a big stack, so he's not going to walk away from the table.

In poker you might even make the right move, but still lose. It's all probabilities.

Business shares something with that.

I'd like him to say words that have actual meaning, and not words that resemble meaning after being filtered by a PR consultant.

Wow, people can find a way to complain about anything. The severance benefits are insanely generous. Nobody takes a job thinking that it will be permanent, or is that a thing now? Would it have been better if he blamed the layoffs on the market? Maybe it's just a glass half empty kind of thing.

> Nobody takes a job thinking that it will be permanent, or is that a thing now?

Does everybody take a job expecting to leave it? I don't think that is the case.

Everyone in tech whose job is a bet on the future success of a product should expect to leave it. Expecting 100% of products to have 100% success in 100% of economic environments is a bit naïve.

Just to point out Facebook is a success and is still making insane profits every single day.

They aren't losing money or posting losses.

The employees don't have control of the company, and they agreed to not have control when they signed on. If they want to control, they are free to start their own company, invest capital to get more voting rights or provide enough value that the company wants their input enough to give them voting rights. Also, just getting another job is an option... But I admire what seems to be a very generous severance package, which is not legally required on the part of Meta.

He lost untold billions of dollars (admittedly off his giant pile of even more untold billions of dollars).

He’s the primary controlling shareholder and defacto owner. What other kind of accountability would make any sense at all? Even if he fired himself, he’d either have to shut the company down, or find someone to replace him and manage them, which makes him their boss.

Edit: to correct dumb statement around share ownership. But you know what I meant.

> I got this wrong, and I take responsibility for that.

As always with these things, I wonder what taking responsibility actually means in practice.

Perhaps he will give up his sixth boat, or his fourth house, or his 13th car? Maybe he's going to wait on buying that private island until next quarter.

Everyone has to make sacrifices.

It might slow the pace at which he tries to take over the private resources of the island of Kauai, Hawaii from the billionaires before him but I doubt it.

I think it's interesting how pedestrian Oprah, Zuck, and Larry Ellison are, obsessing over a place Elvis visited for pork barbecue parties while demonstrating 0 understanding of local people and their needs.

It's incredibly embarrassing for humanity.

I think a Bayesian perspective is helpful here. 1) How likely is it that Zuck makes that statement if he feels like he is responsible? 2) How likely is it if he doesn't feel responsible? I think the answers to those questions are quite similar, in which case hearing the statement doesn't actually tell us much.

Just to elaborate on this since I had to think about it and I might save someone else the effort:

Let M = Makes the statement Let R = Feels Responsible Notation: ~R = Not R

Answering OP's questions 1 & 2: I think it's safe to assume P(M|R) = P(M|~R) = 1 So P(M) = 1

So Bayes' theorem simplifies as follows: P(R|M) = P(M|R)P(R)/PM) = P(R)

Thus, OP's point is that the statement tells us essentially nothing about the probability he actually feels responsible or empathetic, and I agree.

To use Bayes to update here, you must determine the conditional probabilities as they were before you knew that M occurred, and could thus update to P(M)=1. If one did not already know that M happened then one certainly could not say `P(M|R) = P(M|~R) = 1`. One might be able to claim `P(M|R) = P(M|~R) = P(M)`, which is just saying the events are independent.

Certainly with a prior that the events are independent, then you won't be able to update your probability of R by knowing that M did happen, any more than knowing last nights lotto numbers would probability of R.

In reality, things are even worse, as assuming independence is not fully reasonable, so you will end up with uncertainly about how or if the variables relate. One could assume some form of meta probability distribution of various ways the variables could relate, but then direct application of Bayes formula not feasible. You would still in that scenario not be learning much if anything useful about P(R).

But both of your assumptions imply the conclusion, so the math doesn’t actually seem helpful at all.

You’ve identified the problem with many Bayesian approaches, not just this one. Without sufficient data to make the probabilities accurate, it just shifts the uncertainty to the process of choosing probabilities.

I disagree. The question at hand is how we should update our beliefs in response to the evidence of Zuck making the statement. Given the priors of P(M|R) and P(M|~R), it tells us that we shouldn't really update. Different priors would lead to a different update.

Sometimes this sort of thing happens where our priors don't allow for a belief update in response to evidence. For example, does me writing this comment change your best guess as to whether my favorite color is blue? That depends on what you think of P(favorite color blue | comment) and P(favorite color blue | ~comment). Both of those are probably the same right? If so, my comment doesn't allow you to update.

This excerpt from http://www.hpmor.com/chapter/20 is relevant:

  Professor Quirrell looked at Harry. "Mr. Potter," he said solemnly, with only a slight grin, "a word of advice. There is such a thing as a performance which is too perfect. Real people who have just been beaten and humiliated for fifteen minutes do not stand up and graciously forgive their enemies. It is the sort of thing you do when you're trying to convince everyone you're not Dark, not -"

  "I can't believe this! You can't have every possible observation confirm your theory! "

  "And that was a trifle too much indignation."

  "What on Earth do I have to do to convince you? "

  "To convince me that you harbor no ambitions of becoming a Dark Lord?" said Professor Quirrell, now looking outright amused. "I suppose you could just raise your right hand."

  "What?" Harry said blankly. "But I can raise my right hand whether or not I -" Harry stopped, feeling rather stupid.

  "Indeed," said Professor Quirrell. "You can just as easily do it either way. There is nothing you can do to convince me because I would know that was exactly what you were trying to do. And if we are to be even more precise, then while I suppose it is barely possible that perfectly good people exist even though I have never met one, it is nonetheless improbable that someone would be beaten for fifteen minutes and then stand up and feel a great surge of kindly forgiveness for his attackers. On the other hand it is less improbable that a young child would imagine this as the role to play in order to convince his teacher and classmates that he is not the next Dark Lord. The import of an act lies not in what that act resembles on the surface, Mr. Potter, but in the states of mind which make that act more or less probable."

  Harry blinked. He'd just had the dichotomy between the representativeness heuristic and the Bayesian definition of evidence explained to him by a wizard.

The interesting and important question is what are the priors.

Since all of the priors here are speculative, there’s no use in pulling out Bayes.

The outcome given Bayes is the same as the outcome without Bayes, just a bit noisier ;)

Yes, thank you! I appreciate that. I should have elaborated in my OP.

https://arbital.com/p/bayes_rule/ has some great follow up info.

I live in a oil rich area and there's a large economy of well paid folks attached to it. They all understand it's boom and bust. They get paid really well when it's booming. Then they take the L when it's busting. All to say, I think people need to come to terms with the fact they weren't being paid well due to their sheer brilliance but due to the risk they assumed by joining a boom and bust industry. Nobody was lured into a job at FB under unfair circumstances and I'm sure they're not exiting on unfair circumstances. Does it suck to be in a cyclical bust period, does it hurt worse that it's in large part self inflicted by Zuck. Of course, of course.

On some level it's not even Zuck's fault. It's Jerome Powell's. It's however up to each individual to plan for what comes after knowing 2020-2021 was an epic bubble.

Apparently taking responsibility means lessening the impact by releasing this news alongside election results so it is somewhat buried.

Taking responsibility means first of all admitting that you were wrong. Most people never even get to this first step.

Think about it this way. If I, for example, did a series of activities that led to 13% of my division's business being impacted adversely, I'm almost assuredly getting fired.

When you go higher up the food chain, the same thing happens. When the people at the very top do something like that, does the same happen? Sometimes. Depends on who's on the BoD I guess.

In practice, the change is they're laying people off and paying them generous severance packages and some other support options to help them transition as well as looking to cut infrastructure expenses. I'm not sure what other change you would be expecting. As a major share holder he is significantly impacted, losing over $100 billion since 2021. He's far from the only tech CEO to invest in fast expansion during the initial covid boom. It can very much be argued he made general good decisions to fast expand then and retract now given the information they had at the time, though I think his investments specifically in VR have been terrible for the company as a whole. Only time will tell if that will ever pay off for them or continue to be a money sink hole.

> I wonder what taking responsibility actually means in practice

Increasing value of company stock

I think just leaving it at "I got this wrong" would land way better.

Adding "and I take responsibility" without actually substantiating that makes it sound way more hollow.

Taking responsibility might mean ponying up to give all the affected people additional months of pay / benefits etc. After all he is responsible for a big time disruption to their families

That would be a meaningful way of saying he is sorry as well as setting a precedent for all other billionaires who just "take responsibility" and continue on

It just means he accepts the blame, and holds no one else responsible.

Do people want him to fire himself to show he means it, or what?

People have a problem with it because it's a string of words without meaning. Better to leave it out than to sully modern language further with meaningless gibberish that looks like language.

Pretending not to understand doesn't mean the speaker was unclear.

I'd say yeah, that's pretty much it. In any case, what'd you expect? He's not giving up the control of the company. He made a mistake, yes - but there's no obligation for anybody who makes a mistake to give up everything and never have any responsibility again. So what else is there?

What would him taking responsibility in practice look like to you?

Good question. I don't know the answer. And that points to the problem, really. In rhe world as ut is, there isnt really a way to realistically imagine a CEO doing anything meaningful to take responsibility for a self-admitted error lile this.

If, just for the sake of argument, I said he should resign or compensate the affected people out of his own pocket, I'm fairly sure that people here would think I was being naive. People here are already saying that corporate leaders wouldnt take decisions if they had to be held responsible for the outcomes.

So we end-up with a bunch of people who everyone knows (a) are not responsible for mistakes, and (b) are tacitly understood to be able to make statements that habe no meaning. In other words, lies.

And thus the domain of trust becomes smaller and more fractured.

I think people who say it's meaningless are wrong.

Saying you take responsibility is about clearing the workers of fault, it's not about thing you will reform or somehow suffer more than they will.

He could go out there and say it's not my responsibility, it is the workers fault. They underperformed. Most CEOs don't want to do that

If I hired someone and they made the value of the company go down 73% in one year, I would probably fire them.

Taking a salary cut. Loosing unvested options. Fewer grants going forward.

Financial penalties that incentivize him to not fuck up again.

To be fair, his net worth fell by $70+ billion. So that sounds like a financial penalty to me.

A reduction in net worth (i.e. stock price dropping) is a pretty terrible penalty, because a) it doesn't actually reflect upon the CEO's successes or failures, and b) because any bump in Meta's stock price will bring that net worth right back. And, usually, doing a mass layoff will do exactly that.

EDIT: Sure enough, Meta's stock is up ~17% since a week ago.

> And, usually, doing a mass layoff will do exactly that.

That tells you that companies have far too few mass layoffs.

Only if your goal is short-term profits, and not long term sustainability.

Stock prices are the market's estimate of the company's long running prospects.

Management has a fiduciary duty to shareholders. Stock price isn't everything, but it's still prima facie evidence of what shareholders want.

Homie this isn't a fuck up. It's what shareholders want and it is awful.

These 11k employees are not a threat to facebooks existence. Not even close. If that was the case FB stock would be tanking.

FB is pulling in record profits. They just are getting a little nervous and they are laying people off. It is ridiculous.

I don't necessarily disagree with you, and we will see FB's stock bumping back up again now that Zuck's make the "hard decision" to lay off employees.

Yeah. Up 7%! when the SPY is down 1%. Wild.

To be fair, up till this point, Metas PE ratio was half that of Google.

Zuckerberg takes a $1 salary and no equity compensation.

Neat how all his property was just donated to him by adoring fans then. Obviously there’s no way he’s discovered to wield his vast wealth

…he starts the company. Afaik, he’s never taken any additional compensation beyond his ownership share, that came about because… he started the company.

So the multiple houses? The land in Hawaii where he tried to just take from the current owners? All that was part of the company? Pretending like he just owns the company and hasn’t taken compensation anywhere cause he has a 1 dollar a year salary is a a child like understanding of how billionaires leverage their wealth

I'm certain there are people smarter than I who could come up with an appropriate penalty. Quite a few on Meta's board, no doubt.

Put him on a PIP with a mentor? :D

Facing repercussions on the level of those he's laying off. If he's responsible he should be the first one out the door.

Or rather the person who is responsible should go before those who are not and have been doing their job.

If a middle manager was responsible for a bad decision, their head would be on a spike. But it's the chief executive officer, so he gets a pass, if only because he's in the position of power.

That’s impossible because he is already profoundly rich. There is no way to simulate the hardship without stealing what is in the bank.

Now we're talkin'

If the issue is his moonshot bets on AI research and metaverse that are not expected to immediately payout hurt the company by having too much headcount not contributing to short-term revenue, and core products can't support that, then he made a bad strategic decision, and the appropriate way to take responsibility for that is to remove the unique voting structure so that Mark is no longer the sole person capable of deciding the company's future strategy.

But either way, it's still inevitable that a change in strategy would entail elimination of some of that headcount.

Has he actually admitted how he failed in his responsibilities? I have not followed the FB fall closely but from the outside there appears to be some dubious strategic decisions at work. It would be interesting to hear him elaborate on the situation with something like “I failed to see how precarious it was to be at the mercy of Google and Apple for our core ad business”. Or, “looking back, it was a mistake to not get into cloud computing for a more diversified revenue stream”.

You believe that a company with plenty of privacy concerns and/or user data handling would've been successful on cloud?

Not on cloud; cloud. Like AWS, GCP and Azure.

I kinda disagree since they've been holding into their datacenter for a while plus they've the expertise to run it

Why would they need to use cloud?

They wouldn’t need to use cloud, they would provide cloud services like the companies I mentioned. Of course it’s way to late in the game for that now.


sacrificing some personal wealth for the good of the people that were affected

Yeah, he could easily bankroll a 36 month severance package or something similar. Like "sorry I fucked you right at the onset of a recession, here's a pile of cash to help you weather the storm." That would be actually taking responsibility

He lost $90B. I'm not sympathizing with Zuck, but what you're suggesting literally happened.

But he wasn't punished - people demand blood and blood can only be given non-voluntarily.

He was punished by the market. People want more blood than that and some people will literally never be satisfied

All of them bloated up. It's just like, polite to take the blame.

Is there a better way to say this?

I think the meaning is pretty clearly "Many of you are being let go not because of poor performance on your part, but bad decisions on my part."

It's acknowledging fault.

> Businesses usually try to find ways to correct for major failures in decision making.

Which eventually leads to complete stagnation and nobody being willing and/or able to make a decision.

He is paying a pretty decent severance package for the US as far as I understand.

Like the soul of America, it’s nothing but empty corporate speak.

"Today, effective immediately, I, Gavin Belson, founder and CEO of Hooli, am forced to officially say goodbye to the entire Nucleus division. All Nucleus personnel will be given proper notice and terminated. But make no mistake. Though they're the ones leaving, it is I who must remain and bear the heavy burden of their failure."


Hilarious, yet the way corporate PR is heading it could be real and none would be the wiser.

For someone who barely ever worked an office job, Mike Judge is an expert at portraying office space.

I suspect he mainly had to figure out that it’s the same as everywhere else, but the displayed politeness of office managers make it especially delectable satire.

In Office Space there is the «pieces of flair» argument with the waitress (Aniston), it’s much more bitter, and I suspect much harder to keep it funny, because in truth those worker endured much more violent management, there is little space to spin it in a funny way.

> because in truth those worker endured much more violent management, there is little space to spin it in a funny way.

what? no one got beat over flair, and having worked in a lot of serving jobs, the level of violence serving drinks was roughly on par with the number of fights I've seen in the data center.

Yeah.... I'm going to have to ask you to come in on Sunday... thanks....


When I was an early IT manager my team would make fun of me and compare me to the manager from office space... because I would always say "thanks" when I would ask them for something...

But I learned to say "thanks" because at Intel - in the 90's it was company culture to always close an email with "thanks"

When I worked at FB though it was a hostile environment. so no Thanks.

There's an interview here that covers some of how it happened: https://www.theringer.com/movies/2019/2/19/18228673/office-s...

It does mention he worked for a military contractor, which probably provided an accelerated environment for learning corporate bs.

A number of us were convinced Judge just hung out in a booth at Applebees and local bars in Austin and wrote down everything we were saying.

Living in Richardson explains Beavis and KotH.

SV should start new season. Writers will have no shortage of material.

11000 people lose their jobs -- "let's make more shows about it!"

to quote an old guy: "first as tragedy, then as farce"

I am imagining a scene were Gavin Belson takes over Pied Piper and installs his VC friends who immediately fire half of the people. Then website crashes in next hour and they are frantically calling back people to re-hire them.

Sometimes times are so bleak you need humor to really process it all.

I wonder how many of the people who say “musk is just an investor and Tesla and spacex exist because of the engineers” now say

Zuckerberg is clearly the responsible for the failures of Facebook.

You can’t have both.

> you can't have both.

Why not? Nothing you wrote suggests that we cannot have both. In fact, Musk bought Tesla, is not an engineer, has no engineering training or education or engineering accomplishments (the code he was writing for the company that became PayPal was notoriously terrible and had to be scrapped). Say what you want about Zuck, but if you plopped him down at a terminal and made him do the job of one of his own senior Devs I bet he would be able to do it. Musk couldn't do the same for any one of his companies in any of the technical positions.

I find it interesting that someone states something like 'you can't it both ways' without thinking it through and while presenting no reasoning for it, and then just leave it there like it is now a rule we must accept.

> is not an engineer, has no engineering training or education or engineering accomplishments

You should probably fact check this statement. There are plenty of people on quora or even here who worked with Musk. You are completely wrong on this.

Are you one of those people?

SV from HBO I’d really something else

For how long it is, it's incredible how high the hit rate for jokes were.

It was disturbingly accurate for parody.

I couldn’t watch it - I lived through far crazier stuff than what they showed, and it was just too painful.

One of those cases where they had to tone down reality so people would believe it, but still came across as unrealistic!

While watching with my wife I kept mentioning who I knew that were perfectly characterized in the series.

The Three Comma Guy, Gavin Belson, the Conjoined Triangles of Success... Been through all that.

did you work at Uber during their crazy days?

That startup experience was all pre-Uber existing, for better or worse!

If you feel like triggering your PTSDs, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Startup.com is a good one. Not intended to be a comedy, however.

Quite the opposite.

Whats your dick to floor ratio?

Rewatched all of it recently. It actually got better and more on the nose with time. Incredible.

It means as much as was said. Nothing at all.

So, after Twitter and Meta layoffs there will be around 15,000 people looking for the job. In one moment. With other layoffs it can be counted over 20,000 people IMHO. Will this over flood the market and bring expectations and salaries down?

In the small central EU country where I live, that wouldn't even saturate the open programmer positions - just about 1/10 of it. I'd be very surprised if it saturated the US market in any measurable way.

If anything this just means these people will be working on more different products, and that means more opportunities for even more programmers in the future.

I'm quite interested in learning which small central EU country has 150k outstanding programming jobs.

According to EU Commission's estimates whole EU needs ~600 000 more programmers, with Poland (where I'm from) needing 50 000. This seems conservative to me, everybody's hiring and salaries grow pretty quickly.

You'd be earning about 50 000 USD per year as a senior developer, but that's plenty enough to live a very good life here. Outside IT people earn about 10 000 USD per year, food and services are very cheap, and there's a comprehensive welfare state.

When people talk about EU salaries do they typically mean pre-tax or post-tax.

In Poland you'd be usually talking post-tax per month but I converted for American standards, so pre-tax per year. You can get more, mind you, that was just the average.

pre-tax most of the time, but of course varies per country

It’s usual to talk in “brut” in France, and it means mid-tax. 60k€ “brut” = 90k TCO = 45k€ in the pocket of the employee.

That’s already a good salary for a mature dev in France (Paris +20%), and going above requires being intrapreneur/team lead/low manager. Americans usually say it’s shit pay.

Almost always pre-tax, only exception I know is Italy. They seem to talk post-tax

We're a small startup, and looking for full-time, full-stack senior devs. Any chance you may any that you'd be open to connecting me with? - Zabe

With the fact that you got the demand/offer law not in your favor, these salaries will definitely go down.

Impressed to hear that Poland pays well for developers compared to other jobs. 50k for a senior role would definitely be a good salary even in other EU countries

When you take into consideration taxes and social security; you will be taxed at an effective taxrate of around 40% for a salary of 40k euro. To get around taxes, you need to work as a contractor, and use some copyright law on the time you spend coding (you create something) which cuts the taxrate for that time in half.

Low Cost of living is true if you find a cheap enough place to live, but due to Russia's invasion, housing just isn't that cheap unless you know where to look for and are from Poland. I called 20 people just to be able to check a single apartment out.

50k isn't good for a senior role either; new grad salary in Germany in 2020 was around 60k gross.

> With the fact that you got the demand/offer law not in your favor, these salaries will definitely go down.

Doubt it. Everybody in my current team has several offers to change jobs with 5-15% increase in salary. Some from the same (American) company for which we work right now (but they don't know that cause we're hired through 2 subcontracting companies ;) ).

What is relevant now is not relevant tomorrow

I have colleagues from Prague making around $100k after taxes. They're contractors, though.

Best thing is 100K in Prague is about the same as making 300 to 500K after taxes in Bay Area in COL/PPP adjustments

Not exactly, only the "living expenses" part of the salary can get this "equivalence multiple" applied. The rest of the salary should be counted 1:1 with the US because other purchases cost the same regardless of where you are (branded clothes, travelling, buying a laptop, buying a car, investing for retirement, stocks cost the same everywhere). So it's more like the first 20k are like getting paid 100k and the rest of the 80k will just be 80k, so more or less 200k equivalent.

It's very hard purely on cost of living to match a salary of 500k anywhere in the world, because at some point the extra items / investments all cost the same regardless of geography.

But you will probably stay there for life so you have the benefit for life. "investing for retirement, stocks" are cheaper as you also need 3 to 5 times less.

With 100K in Prague you can retire/never needing to work for money after 3 to 10 years Depending on your habits. Not sure how many Bay Area employees can do that staying there.

I am somewhere close and earn 300K which is about 30 times of what you need per year. One year of works covers all my expenses living like a local for the rest of my life in capital returns even at a modest 3.5% SWR.

I take that over 500K Job (of which over 30% goes to US Gov, while i pay max 10%) any time, heck I take it over a 1000K Job in SF/NY etc.

It's good to look at the whole picture like that. A lot of "cost of living calculators" tend to implicitly assume you're spending every take-home dollar on eggs or gasoline, which isn't true for highly-paid software engineers.

I'd propose that you should also calculate how many years of 300k in the Bay Area it'd take to retire in Prague vs years making 100k in Prague.

I ran these numbers a couple years ago, and it was costing me about ~$8000/month to live in the Bay Area. I estimated we could live in Tokyo or much of the USA at a similar quality of life for $4000/month. With $310k/year (taking home $190k) that meant I was able to save about $90k a year. In Tokyo, I could only get companies to offer about $140k at the time, and it was about the same for remote work in the USA. That meant I could save about $50k/year.

You can make a strong argument that saving $50k and living in one location is better than saving $90k in another, but it's good to have all the data at hand to make the best decision for yourself.

> But you will probably stay there for life so you have the benefit for life.

Hard to know this 30 years ahead of time. Maybe after 30 years in the Bay Area you retire to Hawaii? Or lower COL like Portland? Or even a town in Japan? You have tons of choice if you’ve been saving at 500k. If you’ve been saving at Eastern Europe salaries, your options narrow

There are also benefits in not earning 5x as much as all your friends.

Traveling is cheaper in EU simply because more interesting stuff is very close, flights are crazy cheap (usually you can find flights under 100 USD both-ways inside EU), and you can do it a lot while being paid (20-30 days of paid vacations per year in most countries).

Retirement/healthcare and education is paid by taxes already in most countries so there's less things to save for. Also cars are optional and distances are smaller.

I agree about the rest (but I wouldn't want to live in US anyway, no amount of money can buy you a walkable city or safety for your kids).

Sounds like system is working then as most engineers at meta make 300-500k

Not quite; an iPhone costs more in Prague, a Tesla much more, a laptop can be double the price. You don't purchase lots of iPhones, but the global goods generally have higher prices in Europe than EU, partly due to VAT, partly due to market conditions. Energy and gas are much more expensive in Prague.

Working as a contractor yes could bring as much but highly specialized one get 1k Euro a day. You're basically on the top 1 or less %

Not really most contractors I know are just regular programmers, average in skill. Their rate is around 800eu/day, they all work in big bureaucratic enterprises. Hiring contractors is basically the only way a lot of those companies can get access to somewhat decent talent.

And it is not as expensive as it seems. If you live in a country with strong social safety nets hiring someone is crazy expensive.

The few contractors I know that work normal software jobs have lower rates, but they still make good money.

I don't know where you live, but 800 euro/day is not a standard rate for avg programmers in many parts of Europe. Is most probably half or sometimes less than that.

These are React guys. What kind of specialization are you thinking of?

React guys don't get 1k a day as a contractor come on.


In the UK the rate is between 400 and 600 (450/650 euro) and is one of the market that pays the most in Europe. Many other countries are offer half that amount for a "react" guy

I am asking who gets 1k/day, not saying it's React.

That logic would apply to any job that anyone can study or train to do. For example a doctor.

Poland has had economic growth comparable to countries like South Korea, since 1980!

Well in early 80s the whole country went on a strike and there was a martial law for 2 years. Low base effect.

Nobody denies it. Again is the offer and demand law. Probably high delocalization brought new jobs which ended up and saturating the market and growing salaries to fight for the very same talent pool.

Something similar happened in Ukraine. I had friends in Europe that were running companies in there till when the wages became comparable to the original country. They still kept the Ukrainian office but eventually reduced the growth in favour of other locations

If you come from FANG and you are good you can basically walk into a german tech place or even car manufacturers and get hired on the spot.

Yes, but your salary will be 1/2 of what you're used to.

My brother moved from FAANG to Atlanta to work for Home Depot. His comp went down from 400k to 140k. Which is still great for Atlanta, but there is no situation where a move from FAANG to any other company comes without wage deflation

No, but if it keeps a roof over your head, that's all that matters in the immediate aftermath.

Roof over your head. Seriously? In Europe if keep it modest you can keep a roof over your head by working in supermarket. I don't think this should be your aim honestly.

Depends where in Europe you live, though. And in recent years, even that is not enough for most countries with a strong Tourists sector, as rent goes up year on year (they increase rent during summer then lower it, but it's still higher than before). That's been going on for at least 15 years in some regions of Croatia. Not to mention everything (except salaries, od course) is being rounded up to Euros, so that's additionallt going to affect Croats.

More like 1/5th in central europe.

Yeah, $140k is like VP money in Europe...

Europe is big. That statement is only valid for some European countries.

and in Japan.

14 million yen per year is pretty standard engineer money in Japan for the most prestigious jobs anyway

Of course, that's like $100k or less with current exchange rates, haha

Yeah, but that's still in the USA. The poster is talking about a totally different type of switch.

As an aside, you're talking about switching from a company that supposedly makes revenue selling ads but really is inflated with free money to one that makes revenue from selling hammers. People who made this switch before the free money are going to be fine. Now that 11,000+ people are going to try to make this switch, they're going to wish they had.

The other thing that happens with this is your job becomes much more practical and less oriented to whatever fads are sweeping SV and HN. Some like it, some don't.

High frequency trading pays better than FAANG if you got the right skills and can cope with the work environment (which is not as bad as it used to be from what I hear).

>where a move from FAANG to any other company

Is this ignoring finance, promotions, or (until recent layoffs) private/public big tech/unicorn-like companies?

Like, even within FAANG the pay bands are huge for the same level.

Oh, so he is fine, I don’t see the issue

Wow. You want sympathy for people who've been earning $400k for years and now have to come back to Earth? My heart bleeds for him.

> You want sympathy for people who've been earning $400k for years and now have to come back to Earth?

I don't notice any request for sympathy in the GP comment.

I don't think these people need either sympathy or pity. They will do fine. They're all smart. Most are also hard workers. People like that don't struggle for long.

You can currently do this as well. Turns out FAANG is popular because german tech pay is pretty garbage.

German tech pay is fine. The EU does not strive for the wealth inequality of the US, and tech wages are more than enough.

The damaging wealth inequality is the hundred millionaire + class and the rest.

If prosperity distribution had kept track during the last 50 years (wealth has increased dramatically due to tech), the average salary would be 6 figures, so it’s actually better for wealth distribution to have tech folks making higher 6 figures to put pressure on the 8+ figure class.

High tech-sector salaries are the result of extreme wealth inequality, not the cause of it. The 0.1% are not Meta engineers hammering a check and fretting about RSUs. They are the ones investing in every half-baked TechCo and startup because they already own a few small countries and a Blackwater detail the size of the 82nd Airborne, and they can't think of anything else to do with their money. It's this desperation for anything approaching positive real returns that has inflated US tech salaries.

At German car manufacturers? Absolutely not. The maximum compensation that an IC can commend at BMW is just above 100k€ -- and that would require more than ten years of experience.

Compare that to a new grad at Google Germany making 130k€. Somebody with ten years of experience there would be making closer to 300k€.

But that typically old-school setup where there is only one way to make more money is move up the career ladder into management or in German “Führugskarriere”. I have no pity for these types of companies who don’t understand that a senior engineer is worth more than a young group leader. A few companies have started to change but Germany has along way to go to adapt from this mindset, but in reality there would be enough money just another distribution is necessary.

Google Germany does not pay new grads 130k. Not even close.

The GINI coefficient for Germany is about 32 vs 41 in the US with the global average being 38. That's not so far apart, and the US is skewed by have a chunk of the world's wealthiest people.

It's hard to take two numbers in isolation that we don't really use day to day and make any kind of sense of them. It's only when you graph a few countries together[0] that you see:

1. the US is somewhat of an outlier, while Germany is grouped together with other wealthy countries

2. the US' Gini has been steadily growing last few decades - implying inequality is getting worse

3. Germany's Gini is very slightly declining in the last few decades - implying it's staying roughly stable

I don't think higher-than-average is particularly good at all - you're in the neighbourhood of places like Qatar, Iran, DRC and Argentina. In fact the only way you'd use Gini to suggest the US has a ok level of wealth inequality is if you presented two countries Gini coefficients side-by-side to someone who doesn't normally think about Gini, presented them without any other context and said "look, they're kinda close"

[0] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient#/media/File:G...

What I'm getting at is that Germany isn't some paragon of equality, it's average. The US as I pointed out is skewed by the high number of staggeringly wealthy people and a trend of people moving from the lower to upper levels of what you might call middle class. In the US wealth held by people form 50% of the distribution up to 99% represents about $91T vs $18.2T for the top 0.1% and $4.4T for the bottom 50%. The coefficient really hides the vast middle and upper middle distribution in the US.

Also this obscures the fact that it is far better to be poor or working class in the US than somewhere with a similar Gini coefficient.

> The US as I pointed out is skewed by the high number of staggeringly wealthy people

I think you might want to lookup what Gini tries to measure. You used Gini as a way to suggest the USA isn't so bad, and now you're having to backpedal and say that actually Gini kinda sucks but the USA isn't so bad.

> You used Gini as a way to suggest the USA isn't so bad

No, I'm pointing out that at lot was being made of a small difference in a ratio that's really sensitive to marginal differences. I'm noting a marginal difference that makes the US look more different than other OCED nations than it is in fact and more like autocratic developing nations than it is in fact.

I'm also pointing out that it isn't a good measure at all. It's as coarse as GDP and more misleading.

A graph showing income inequality seems impractical when discussing wealth inequality.

Slip of the tongue (fingers?) when I was typing - the original figures ch4se gave were for income inequality so I stuck with that.

Well income is what gini measures and what the comment I was replying to[1] was referencing.


Sure, that makes sense. It's just worth noting that the U.S. are not an outlier amongst developed nations when looking at wealth inequality -- which, IMO, is the much more important metric.

Yes, that's part of my criticism for gini.

> the US is skewed by have a chunk of the world's wealthiest people

It's a little bit funny to say that a metric is skewed by measuring the thing it is designed to measure...

Not really. The US attracts wealthy people from around the world, has a gigantic internal market, and is friendly to financial business. If you don't consider the top 0.1% then the picture looks totally different. The VAST majority of wealth in the US is help by people in 50th to 99th percentile range. The Gini coefficient makes the US look superficially more like Qatar, which is obviously nonsense.

Some metrics aren't linear so w/o knowing more about Gini coefficient, my first thought is "I have no idea if the difference is significant or not". Can someone ELI5 this so that I can build an intuition for what "1 unit of Gini" means?

It's a curve reflecting income (not wealth) share of a population against a line of perfect equality, which is a 45 degree angle. A low disparity hugs the line and a high disparity hugs the X and Y axis. Gini = A/(A + B) where A is area over the curve and B is the area under the curve. So an increase of 0.1 in the gini number reflects a larger A.

It's not a very good way to measure what it is trying to measure[1].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gini_coefficient#Limitations

I think the main problem is the lack of intuition of what "1 Gini means", except the "lower is better". Is difference between coefficient of 10 & 11 the same as difference between 30 and 31? The poster to which I responded said that "32 vs 41 is not far apart" - is it? Is difference between 10 and 19 the same as difference between 32 and 41 (delta is the same)? How about between 0 and 9?

That was me, and they aren't that far apart. Is 41% of the area under a lot more than 32%? Not really, see this example[1] Norway here has a coefficient of 27.5 and the US was at 41.2 but the graphs are barely different except that you can see that the US has a sharp bend on the far right hand side. The gini formula is really sensitive to that in a way that doesn't tell us much.

[1] https://wol.iza.org/uploads/articles/495/images/IZAWOL.462.g...

Wealth/income inequality is addressed by wealth/income taxes, or marginal consumption taxes. Controlling prices (limiting wages) would be a terrible way to go about it.

Lol blaming workers for income inequality.

Use profit margins to determine what wages should be. I wouldn't be surprised if the wages are fine on that basis, actually. But let's draw the right conclusions for the right reasons.

Say how much do the executives make at German companies?

Do tech salaries really affect the overall wealth inequality? Programmers are both few and still salaried.

It's best for the wealth to remain on companies owners. That's what Germany thinks.

Strong disagree with that one and this is a fairly unambitious take. Most companies and employees themselves in the EU buy their own kool-aid of "yeah we are ok with getting paid $40k because we got health insurance" (which does not work as efficiently in practice as one would like).

EU - esp. Germany and some other European countries - have abysmal salary compared to rest of the developed world and a poor wage growth over the last 10 years or so.

Heck, even countries like India have experienced faster growth: netto, a senior tech professional in India can earn more than what what they'd get in Germany. And that's not even accounting for 3-5x difference in cost of living.

Absolutely not even if you consider it pre-tax. Post-tax it's just horrible

Yes, but you get a social security which is without par. Including one year Arbeitslosgeld (in most situations), health insurance, the works. I always find it funny that we compare these things. In the USA the salaries are superhigh, but lo and behold if something happens to your crystal perfect life. And in life shit happens. A disease, an accident, an unwanted pregnancy. There is so much that might go off, you can literally drown in debts before you even know it.

Agreed, this is actually pretty scary for me (living in the US for a decade now) - bankruptcy is potentially one accident away (especially if it takes away the ability to continue doing the high-paying job).

If you have a high-paying job that you're worried about losing due to some kind of health incident, you should get disability insurance.

In the USA in Meta like companies you have good healthcare insurance, one year paid maternity leave and a lot of other benefits. 4 months salary at layoff. And you make 2 to 3 times more than in Germany.

I thought about moving to Berlin and did some research. Median salary for a Senior Software Engineer is 86k EUR in Berlin according to Glassdoor. You will pay ~48% in taxes (depending on your Tax class), so it will be around 3700 net per month with an avg rent ~1500 EUR. So it's like 2200 EUR left, and you are supposed to have a life (and even make some savings) with that money. I don't know how this is fine to be honest. The only reasonable way to do it is to have this salary when you live in a more cheaper place with a better tax regime.

Nah. With 86K gross/year in Germany you get: around 4K for tax group 1 (single) and 4.7K for tax group 3 (married and your partner earns less than you). Also, average rent in Berlin is among the cheapest (compared to other big cities like Hamburg, Dusseldorf and Munich). So, more like 1K/month for a decent apartment.

This salary calculator is extremely accurate https://www.brutto-netto-rechner.info/gehalt/gross_net_calcu...

In any case, I agree with your overall statement: even if 86K/year puts you in the top 10% of earners in Germany, in reality it's hard to afford a decent house (not flat) with that salary (unless you wanna work until you're 67...)

For me it comes to an almost philosophical question: do you want to live like an average person in a developed country, or do you want to live better than average in a different place with a cheaper cost of living?

Thank you for the calc though, seems really helpful.

Low pay, old tech, stiff management, strict hierarchy.

If you want to earn <€70k, interviews in the EU seem to be much, much simpler.

I have seen a previous manager at a company cannot compensate for FANG levels say for interview candidates "Don't put a high bar, besides we won't get that kind of talent because... you know... FANG".

But i don't see that being necessarily true and largely depends on type of software you build and the culture of the company. A lot of people are decent engineers and are not interviewing for FANG for a variety of reasons are for no reason in companies that may or may not deserve them. I think its hard to build street cred to get people to work for less, but interviews should always have a good bar.

One weird thing about the software industry is that the guys who design skyscrapers and the ones who put in drywall have the same job title

You don't need some Google genius to do a lot of this work, and sometimes a regular person will do a better job than some wonderkid who spends too much time and effort trying to automate it

Those German car manufacturers are also taking advantage of ex-FAANG in the US.

Surely they're not all engineers, many are sales and admin positions. But the number is still large tho

Obviously it’s the Vatican City State.

Monte carlo skills finally going to pay off in Monaco

Latin is required and the use of BSD systems is forbidden though.

and please, don't install kernel 6.6.6

Nobody said a word about programming jobs being outstanding lol

"outstanding" meaning "open", which is what GP referred to


It sounds like HN satire.

Romania? Poland?

Romania and Poland aren't exactly small by European standards, in fact they're some of the biggest by population and area. And Romania is not Central but Eastern European [1], so that's out.

Small and Central European would be Hungary, Slovakia, Czechia, Austria, Slovenia, Switzerland based on the most widely used definition of Central Europe [1]


Depends, Romania is either central, southern, or east european. Culturally is most definitely not eastern. Germany is by some considered central european. Austria and Switzerland see themselves as west european. Oh the delusion.

See the map of the most widely used definition of the region of Central Europe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Europe#/media/File:Cen...

Every country changes their belonging to a region based on the perceived value bias of what is being discussed.

A user here humorously put it that Slovenians see themselves as Western European when it comes to how honest and hard they work, Southern European when it comes to weather and food, and Eastern European when it comes to drinking, partying and having fun.

But geographical location however is immutable, so let's stick to that instead of the other more biased definitions.

> But geographical location however is immutable, so let's stick to that instead of the other more biased definitions.

Proceeds to using precisely biased, political, definitions.

These distinctions are pretty arbitrary, maybe just wait for GP to clarify.

They're not going to clarify because there is no country that matches this description.

Small would be Luxembourg.

Luxembourg is not Central European.


Have you followed that link?

Have you seen the second map in the introduction?

Have you followed that link? Have you seen the first map?

The one that says “There are numerous other definitions and viewpoints.”?

No the one that quota encyclopedia Britannica.

I think we are both talking now about the first chart in the section “Different views of Central Europe”. The one with the caption “Central Europe according to The World Factbook (2009),[1] Encyclopædia Britannica, and Brockhaus Enzyklopädie (1998). There are numerous other definitions and viewpoints.”

Which are smaller than various US States, so I think categorizing them as small is reasonable.

I would probably not classify Poland as small, especially noting how big of a population drop between Poland and Romania is. And if Poland were a US state, it would rank 2nd in terms of population, sightly over 1 million people less than California...

Exactly, so Poland would be a large state (but a small country).

Romania is Eastern Europe, not Central.

While it might not saturate the US job market as a whole, it will saturate the parts of the local programmer market that can come even close to matching the sorts of salaries these people where probably paid.

If they're willing to move to anywhere in the US and/or take a 50+% pay cut then they'll have no problem getting a job. If they all want to stay where they are and get paid within 20% of their current salary then lots of people will end up without a job.

It should also be noted that a person recalled from the home office already has a hidden 20% pay cut if she or he has to commute for about an hour in each direction.

EDIT: I mistakenly first wrote "each day" instead of "in each direction".

It does not cost 20% of a FANG salary to commute even if you are doing in in a Hummer you bought off military overstock .com.

i think they're talking about the dilution of your hourly wage, if you consider the travel time to be work

On top of that, lots of companies hiring remotely.

True, if you assume time is perfectly fungible into money. For most of us it’s not.

You can also consider this in terms of work. Being forced into the office increases work by 20% without a commensurate raise.

Sure, but "pay cut" has a specific meaning, and that's not it.

When I roll on to a new project and it is more/less work than my previous one, I don't think of it as a pay increase or decrease.

Definitely true normally but we’re in this weird world where a ton of people got to try a previously unavailable or unemphasized option. Full-time remote work used to be a bit unusual but a couple of years was enough for a lot of people to get used to the idea and now it feels like a cut to go back, even if they were used to being in the office in February 2020.

unless you spend a less time in the office than you would at home

No, but commuting has other expenses: beyond the obvious cost of cars that often includes eating out more (often at pricier locations), extended childcare, wardrobe expenses, etc.

No, a FAANG employee probably isn’t suffering (although consider the pay outside of the prestige jobs) but everyone just got a multi-year reminder of those indirect costs.

Or they'll start their own companies. Not a bad time to do it.

If they’re doing that then it means Meta, Twitter, Stripe, etc process got rid of the wrong people.

I work at Stripe. I can’t throw a proverbial paper clip at this company without hitting someone who could be founding a company right now. There’s no way to lay off 14% of Stripe without setting free scores of future founders.

hubris of tech workers. as if starting successful companies is just that easy

It’s helpful to remember that we’re collectively doing about 1% of what we theoretically could be accomplishing.

If you somehow forced someone to sit and practice drawing a hand for eight hours a day, they would get surprisingly far as an artist.

Being a founder isn’t too dissimilar. Determination tends to be decisive.

If you spent eight hours a day trying to make a small group of users love you, you’d get surprisingly far.

I think that’s what they mean about potential founders at Stripe. There’s a lot of potential energy that a layoff might release.

This is the "live laugh love" of the Bay Area.

> It’s helpful to remember that we’re collectively doing about 1% of what we theoretically could be accomplishing.

Is this supposed to mean anything at all?

my guess is that most, if not nearly all, successful founders were pulled into that position (i.e. self-directed) vs pushed out of desperation.

I'm not sure about that.

Starting a company is a risk vs reward calculation. If they were getting high salaries it wouldn't be unreasonable to want to minimize your risk by working on a project on the side while getting a bigger saving bank until a certain point. If you get fired the calculation is now whether you want to invest in job search or take the plunge and start the company

If you were that risk averse (that you didn’t act on your entrepreneurial instincts) when times were good, my money is that you’re more likely to double down in searching for safety.

I don’t know that there are any stats on this so in the end it is juts your and my opposing instincts :-)

A lot of entrepreneurs' personal stories start off with a setback like this last couple of weeks have imparted upon thousands of people

I'll bet a lot of those "low performers" just had a hard time jumping through hoops at the circus, but will do just fine out on the savannah

Imagine thinking that starting a new company is a bad idea. It might not be easy, but the engine of progress is the birth of new firms, not the monopolization of markets through a handful of them. The vast majority of jobs are provided by small to medium-sized businesses, not companies like Twitter or Stripe. This is particularly true in Europe, but it's quite universal. We need new companies, even if some fail (or even most).

OP isn't saying it's "easy". They are pointing out that forming a startup is achievable by a small (scores = several 20s ~= 60-100) number of people impacted.

I feel exactly the same. I would love to run my own tiny company, but it looks very tough to bootstrap. Everytime I hear someone say it is easy, I cringe.

Uber for cats will rise again!

Not necessarily… a potential good startup founder is not necessarily a skill set that a FB needs right now. And many business ideas that aren’t “FB-scale ideas” can still be quite successful for a small founding crew.

That’s right—-any time you’re laying off thousands people at once, some of them will the “the wrong people”. There is no mechanism for mass layoffs that can accurately target only “low performers”. Even if these layoffs reflect good decisions, good decisions at corporate scale are not necessarily good decisions at the individual level.

Not necessarily. There may be business opportunities that Meta, Twitter and Stripe are not interested in.

Let's hope so

Fed raising the interest rate is hardly a good time to start a startup.

Only for startups that depends on free money from Fed like Movie Pass, Juicero. Startups with sound ideas should be fine.

Wouldn't layoffs starting at larger tech companies imply demand is waning and there would be a much smaller market for all of these new startups?

Demand for what, though? Startups can cover ... well anything, really?

There's certainly less demand for Facebook's style of social media, for sure.

This is a valid concern in a recession but there are different niches and business models. Facebook has been very profitable selling ads but that’s not the only option, and there are opportunities which might be a good fit for a small company which a big one is structurally incapable of finding. After the dotcom crash, I knew several people who found solid niches selling services to other businesses - it didn’t have the hypergrowth potential of something like an ad-supported social network but most of those fail, and there’s a lot of money in less sexy industries.

Wouldn't layoffs starting at larger tech companies imply demand is waning and there would be a much smaller market for all of these new startups?

It depends on how you define "startup." They don't necessarily have to keep staring at screens for their living.

It was mass layoffs of real estate and banking workers in 2008 that kick started the food truck industry.

Demand is always growing in some markets. I predict major growth in the defense and agriculture technology markets over the next decade.

Clean tech also seems big - even if the Republicans did manage to gut federal support for renewables (I’m doubtful given e.g. how much money Texas wind farms are making) consumer trends are looking solid and a lot of state policies represent locked-in market.

Yeah, ads revenues are down which means a whole load of ad-supported business models are no longer economically viable.

I don't think a recession with low demand and high interest rates is a good time to start a company at all.

Except for that whole funding environment being dead thing. Not to mention that nine out of ten startups fail even in good times.

I used a 1yr severance as a seed fund for my current company.

That doesn’t dispute the fact that only 1 out of 10 startups “succeed” and that definition of “success” is overly generous.

No, it doesn't dispute that startups are risky, even if you know what you are doing. By the way, water is wet, too.

Isn't this about the worst time to start a company? Uncertain economic outlook, high inflation, high borrowing costs.

Less competition, more available labor, the books start with a "this is hard" and get better when things get better (compare with starting when things are easy and then having it rough when times get hard)...

Only if you can start a company that's cashflow positive from essentially day one. Burn rate provided by suppressed interest rates and cashed up venture capitalists is quickly becoming a disappearing concept.

The first dotcom crash was good that way: people make worse decisions when they have piles of VC funny money and anyone with a real business has trouble standing out when the field is full of competitors burning bright but fast.

I’ve been here long enough to have seen the countless comments lamenting the current state of qualifications and ability in the industry. Here’s to hoping that meta and stripe laid off under achievers that would be wise to get into a different industry where they’ll perform better. Musks layoffs ignored since it seems clear that his were indiscriminate and hasty to the point of negligence.

> under achievers that would be wise to get into a different industry where they’ll perform better

Why would they perform better in another industry where presumably they do not have qualifications either (nor ability)?

Does the small EU country you are living in pay FAANG level salaries (200k and more) for their developers? Because in the small central EU country where I live, they always say skilled workers are in demand until you tell them your desired salary ;-)

“Oui mais vous avez des tickets resto” — Explanation: French people seem always very happy with low salaries as long as they have social benefits such as 4,60€ ticket for restaurant at lunch. And free healthcare, which they pay 800€ per month (for a 65k€ salary).

They really need some economy lessons. If I were a true capitalist, I’d teach them socialism for free.

I don't see it, I used to get a few emails from recruiters every day. The other day I got 1, and it made me realize it's been literally weeks since I had one. Lots of companies froze their hiring. The music is stopping, and there's a lot less chairs. Not everyone is going to find a new seat.

Did I misread or you live in a small central EU country with 200.000 open tech positions?

Well to be honest 1/10 was a little bit of overstatement, but yeah every year there's a governmental report about how this country is missing 150k programmers so it's about 1/8 or so.

> there's a governmental report about how this country is missing 150k programmers

You shouldn't take these governmental reports at face value. In my country, we see a lot of these reports too, and for all kinds of professions. Most of the time it just means that the corporate want more people willing to work for less.

Well, yes. But if all the corporates only want to hire people at that price it’s still a shortage. It’s just a shortage of shrubs.

That's quite explicitly not a shortage in the economic sense.

The problem is this statistics contains jobs ads that are not viable:

If i put out a job ad: Need a software develioer with skills in COBOL, latest react and assembly, to lead a team of 10 for $30k

And I cant hire anyone

It will still end up in government statistics for shortage.

This is lile if we all put out ads on Gumtree/craiglist 'will buy a Toyota, brand new, for $1000", and someone counts thise ad and concludes there is a shortage of Toyotas.

I saw a lot of this in 2009 and 2010. Hilariously low offers. CEOs complaining they cannot find enough employees.

The offer may be appropriate for what the value that the developer is expected to bring to the organization.

Not all organizations get lots of value from developers.

It also means they're not losing a lot by not having a developer, so they're perfectly ok with having the position open until someone takes it.

If they are offering so little money that noone even applies for a position in a year, then clearly it is not a real job offer.

If I want to hire a top proffeshional for minimum wage, its not a job offer, its just wishfull thinking.

In that example, you still want a Toyota though, right? Just because you don't want one all that badly doesn't mean your life wouldn't be better with one.

Tough to say. Do I need a Toyota? no, but I'd happily buy one for $1K.

Demand elasticity makes any report on the volume of demand irrelevant unless it also covers the pricing of that demand.

We have this too in Germany, but it's usually not based on open positions but some "we would need this to grow the GDP further industry is saying they miss these number of people" from some lobbying group like Bitkom. But Chapeau! for your country.

Keep in mind that government reports have a time lag. It's based on someone doing research some time ago. The time lag could easily be months. If it was 100% true at the time of research, the current situation may be very different.

Meta was hiring aggressively at the beginning of the year, as were many other companies.

Which translates to: We can't find 150k programmers willing to work for the salary we are offering.

That salary is still 2x-5x the average.

Yeah, fly ‘em all to a “small central EU country” which shall henceforth be known as LuxemValley. As a bonus, ‘errbody working in LuxemValley shall be known as the SiliconBourg and be issued a mug, backpack and Chemin de Fer paddle. :D

Seriously, under current law, H1B workers will be even more locked-out of US jobs until these newly RIFed US workers land somewhere, but India doesn’t really depend on H1B contractor revenue like it did during the mass RIFs of the “Dot Com Bust.” No, now Indian citizens can work comfortably, efficiently and economically from India, like many of the far more expensive (and now RIFed) US workers had been doing from their US homes. For those RIFed US workers to compete with more economical India-based workers, they’re going to need to either get very small and crawl under the door to struggling US employers (by lower their salaries while abandoning remote work) or maybe they’ll need to cut expenses by moving to a “small central EU country” and get paid in Euros.

Or they'll start their own companies and crush the competition like insects, while the dinosaur companies full of contractors slowly die out

just like we saw in the 80s, 90s, 00s, and 10s

I hear you, but things will be different this time around. It would take me 20 minutes to explain, but gist is there is a HUGE diff between senior engineer and senior tech, there was no H1B phenom until 2001, almost no senior level engineers (cough) remaining in the biz until around 2006 (thanks to dot-com bust nuclear winter) and balance wasn't even restored until recently (very recently) because, you know, engineers with 10 years experience aren't half as confident as techs with 5 years experience. If you're a senior level engineer who can write operating systems, firmware and glance at a data center blueprint and see RF signaling issues as easily as you can look at a schematic and see DMA inefficiencies, are you going to pledge allegiance to a turd like company run into the ground by the spoiled Boomers or are you going to start your own company (or throw in with some hungrah folks you maybe met saving from the supremely over-confident senior technician crowd)? This time around, those Strange Conditions don't exist anymore and, much as it was in the 80s, you can't buy/refi a house in the US unless you can show significant ATR and lastly, with tightening credit (that comes with higher interest rates and, for now at least, higher home prices), you are going to need to be compensated in greenbacks (not stock) and show stability (not 1-3 years per gig)...all things that are harder in startup-land. For now, find another gig with a large company, go overseas (Europe not Middle Eassssst) if you have to. I will write a book, but they won't let me publish until the movie is done roflmao

> I'd be very surprised if it saturated the US market in any measurable way.

Most of meta enigneers won't be working for 120k midwest coding job if they can avoid it. So spread will be focused on similar pay positions vs distributed unifromly.

Going off the article it sounds like most of the layoffs are in business and recruiting so I suspect a small-ish fraction of the layoffs will be programmers

You're right but its not as if only Meta are firing or we're anywhere close to this recession ending. There's gonna be a bunch of pain to come still unfortunately.

most of the people being laid off are not programmers

They used to say “assets have legs in silicon valley” but not in Horizon World!

I reckon 11k would pretty well fill all the available tech roles in Czech Republic (which fits the "small Central European" description). God knows where they'd live though, rents + prices would explode

I think the pay will go down its the meta and google etc that have been pushing up the salaries without the demand from them the pressure on salaries will bring them down.

The real problem to worry about is hiring practices, shitty HR people, algo-based auto rejecting and shitty fucking interviewers... THIS will have impact on these people suffering to find a new position....

So really what needs to happen is companies need to be reaching out URGENTLY to those have been kicked to the curb.

There is thousands of years of experience this population carries.

It does mean that a lot of folks will be looking for work, expecting really big salaries. Because they have become used to a very high standard of living, these salaries will actually be required.

MANGA companies pay ridiculously well.

I suspect a lot of "Reality sh*t sandwiches" will be in people's lunchboxes.

"these salaries will actually be required." I wonder if foreclosures spike. Bay area.

Yup. I suspect a lot of these folks are living in overpriced rental apartments in SF (and Brooklyn).

Similar here. Over the summer my country of 3m people, reached its yearly immigration quota in tech jobs of 16,000. And that doesn't include people moving inside the EU or refugees from Ukraine.

Isn't that forecasted by the same people who now says that they didn't see this coming? :)

the effect this kind of thing has on the broader market is that it makes everyone else reconsider their hiring plans. I doubt there will be as many open positions after this announcement and it won't all be from hiring

True, but these aren't ordinary engineers who'll settle for ordinary salaries. These are the top paid engineers in the industry - there are practically no places that can hire all 20,000 of them at their current salaries.

Per last job report in US, there were two positions for every person finding normal jobs. For IT, I would think that ratio is twice. However, the biggest issue that people have to deal with: (1) Meta paid 2X to 4X higher than regular employers so that’s massive pay cuts for the folks, (2) they lost the unvested stock aka their hold out compensation of past 4 years they worked for.

So, this would be huge financial setback for impacted people akin to losing half of their wealth and cutting down their future income as well in half.

> they lost the unvested stock aka their hold out compensation of past 4 years they worked for

Are you assuming a 4 year cliff or why would one lose 4 years worth of stock?

Interesting point you're bringing up. Personally I wouldn't count unvested stock as part of my wealth.

I think the parent comment is talking about your general 5-year vesting schedule. In other words, for each of the past 4 years you worked, you will have some unvested stock today.

5-year? almost all schedules I'm familiar with in high tech are either 4-year or 1-year.

Outside of the 2:1 job postings to job seekers ratio, none of what you're saying here is correct.

Meta does pay higher (maybe not 2x higher) and the message in OP says employees will get their November 2022 vesting, which implies they won't get any future vested stock.

Well no because they no longer work for FB. But they still have all their vested stock.

Yes, which is what the GP post said, they lose their unvested stock. By future vested I meant, stock that will vest after they are laid off. Could've been clearer I guess.

So that I understand though, after you're laid off, any unvested shares you own will never will vest. You essentially forfeit those shares?

Probably depends on the company and circumstances in which you were laid off.

I googled but I see zero references to "hold out" compensation. Is that actually a term?

I remember the dot-com (and Y2K) bust, when all the people who got into tech for the money (and not the love of it) suddenly decided to switch career. I hope the same happens now.

I dont really care why you got into it so long as you remain excellent while you're here. the Problem is the (seeming) correlation between money driven motivation and apathetic (sub)mediocrity.

For me it’s about how CV-obsessed our industry has become, which you could say that is also caused by the money factor.

Basic things like the KISS principle have been thrown in the garbage can, almost all that matters is how the tech we’re now using can further increase our career prospects.

So you're implying only people who are passionate about tech should be allowed to work in tech? This does not hold water for almost any profession. Tech pays extremely well, and if you can do the work, who cares how you feel about it?

You're reading it wrong.

If you can do the work, awesome, no one cares how you feel about it. But that's the keyword: *IF* you can.

People who went into IT for the love of it are diligent by default (from my personal experience) and CAN do the work. Then you get people who enter IT for the money (nothing wrong with that) and not all of them can do the work.

Those are the show-stoppers usually which incur various debts (from tech-debt to actual financial debt) because you end up having to carry them.

Let's not pretend as if they don't exist, there's so many of them.

Absolutely, and it's hugely demoralizing to work with them.

A person like that was moved off of my team recently, and the general lift on the team from just having them gone has been astounding. Everything is up: velocity, stability, even just the vibe of technical planning sessions.


> We've known since the early sixties, but have never come to grips with the implications that there are net negative producing programmers (NNPPs) on almost all projects, who insert enough spoilage to exceed the value of their production. So, it is important to make the bold statement: Taking a poor performer off the team can often be more productive than adding a good one. [6, p. 208] Although important, it is difficult to deal with the NNPP. Most development managers do not handle negative aspects of their programming staff well. This paper discusses how to recognize NNPPs, and remedial actions necessary for project success.

This is awesome, thank you for that!

The other most interesting part of the book (while certainly dated), is the citations to see what came before and more material on it.

    Weinberg, Gerald M. The Psychology of Computer Programming (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1971)
    Dunn, Robert H. Software Quality: Concepts and Plans (Englewood Cliffs: Prentice Hall, 1990)
    Christenson, D. A. et al, "Statistical Methods Applied to Software", collected in Schulmeyer, G. Gordon & McManus, James I. Total Quality Management for Software (New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, 1992)
(and so on)

And while one can certainly debate the "is the advice given in something that is 30 or 50 years old still valid" - that debate itself is interesting in considering what was going on in the minds of managers back then and how they tried to solve these problems.

There is a certain lack of institutional knowledge and a desire to throw much of it away with the phrase "we're agile" or some other management buzzword of the day... and yet Brook's Law is still as valid today as it was nearly five decades ago (gotta keep an eye on that... I wonder if they'll do a third edition in 2025).

I once had to fire that person. I hated it, it was very hard to do because they guy was a personal friend of mine and he never talked to me again afterwards. However, it fixed the team and we went on to do a lot of very good work that we couldn't have done otherwise.

Bit of a tangent, but it's kind of harder to hire as well.

Years ago when interviewing people I didn't have to wonder as often how passionate the candidate actually is towards the field, or whether they're just looking for a high pay job.

These days I get those doubts a bit more. I think most people are still at least somewhat passionate though (bad/awkward programmer tooling which we've gotten used to are somehow great filters....)

It is more fun to work with people that love the work they are doing, who get jazzed up on covering all the corner cases and really good test suites and efficient use of a computer. People who will listen to tech talk for ten minutes and then act like they are thinking, “how will this get me director or VP by thirty” are less engaged and less fun.

During the dot-com days, you could get a job if you can fog a mirror and turn on a PC. Now you typically need to get a degree to get your foot in the door so at least there is a vested interest. (Not to say there aren’t talented people without degrees.) I think the OP is talking about getting rid of some of the dead weight. We’ve all worked with someone who coasts along and wonder how the hell they have a job in the first place.