Monday, October 22, 2007

All You Need Is Love

Long before "Lost," there was another television show about being stranded on a mysterious island and held captive by strange characters. "The Prisoner," starring Patrick McGoohan, aired in the 1960s and later became a cult classic in repeats on public television. In that show, McGoohan played "Number Six," a former spy tormented by "Number Two," "Rover" and a host of bizarre people living in "the Village" and accessing underground observation centers.
The most controversial episode of "The Prisoner" was the series finale, in which the unanswered questions of the show are left unanswered. Instead, viewers were exposed to a series of strange images, symbols and the sound of the Beatles' "All You Need Is Love."
(Prediction: When "Lost" airs its series finale, I expect to see at least one reference to the finale of "The Prisoner." And it will probably be that same Beatles tune.)

I found myself thinking of the conclusion of "The Prisoner" last week as I wrote the final piece in my five-part series on questions for B2B media. In that blog post I asked "What can you, your staff and your publication bring to the table that no one else can?
I promised to give my answer to that question this week.
And here it is:

I don't mean love of the industry you cover. That's the realm of user-generated content, expert columnists and feedback functions. I mean love of the industry that you're in.
In B2B media, we are in the business of connecting people with information and with each other. Increasingly, that's the business that all of media is in. But in B2B, that has always been the core of what we do.
And as long as we love it, we can survive any challenge.

I'm not talking about loving your publication. Because your publication may become obsolete. I'm not talking about loving the stories you write, the graphics you design or the photos you take -- those are but a part of what we do. I'm not talking about loving your employer, which may view you as nothing more than a piece of machinery.
I'm talking about loving this game. I'm talking about loving this profession. I'm talking about obsessive love, irrational love, exuberant love -- love of the game even as the game changes and it sometimes breaks your heart.

There will always be someone who can publish more articles, produce more content more quickly, write better prose and shoot better video. There will always be bloggers and standalone journalists with more insight than many of the folks on your staff. There will always be marketers with bigger budgets and better research creating content that will rival your own. You cannot win all those battles all the time.
The only weapon you have is the love of the game.

For more than two years now, I have asked various versions of the following question: "if you're in this game for the money, how can you compete against someone who is in it for love? "
And the answer is that you can't.

Close observers of B2B media have seen two very different visions emerge of what it means to be in this business. First, there are the new voices -- standalone journalists, bloggers and others who write because they feel passion for their subject. Second, there are the new investors -- private equity firms and leveraged-buyout specialists who look at B2B media as a series of "properties" and "products" that need to cut costs, grow revenue and then be resold again and again.
In the middle are the professionals of B2B -- the editors, reporters, designers and other foot soldiers of our industry.
And to those people I say the following: It's time to choose sides.

When the investors cut your pay, when the investors show contempt for your ethics, the only reason to stay in B2B media is because you love this game. Only love will give you the strength to fight the good fights and to quit when your boss crosses the line. When new competitors emerge and your core publications begin to lose money, only love will give you the strength to work harder and smarter and build something new you can be proud of.
So choose a side.
And remember that love is all you need. In fact, it's all you have.

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Five important questions for B2B media: Part Five

(This is the final post in a five-part series in which I pose questions about the state of B2B media.
You can find the earlier installments here, here, here and here.)

I spoke at the Folio:Show a few weeks ago, sharing my thoughts on hiring in this new and challenging era of multimedia reporting, programmer/journalists and social media. I ended my remarks by talking briefly about a young New Zealander named Glenn Wolsey.
I'm a fan of Glenn's work. So I like to use him as an example of what the new style of journalist can look like. He has the subject matter expertise that B2B media requires (Glenn is an expert on Apple products.) He's a talented writer. He looks great in video. And he's a gifted photographer. He publishes a blog, and is comfortable with conversational media. And as a resident of New Zealand who writes about a U.S.-based company, he symbolizes all that is important and powerful about the global economy and a distributed workforce.
But the real reason I love to use Glenn as an example is the shock value.
Because he's only 15-years old.
Check out Glenn's site here. Or read an interview with him here.

A little more than two years ago I wrote for the first time about what I sensed was becoming a phenomenon -- standalone journalism (or entrepreneurial journalism.) The Web had created a situation in which anyone could be a publisher. There were no start-up costs. There was no need to cajole investment bankers into lending you money. You didn't need a boss, a circulation department, ad salesmen, printers, tech staff or a receptionist.
You could publish all by yourself. And you could do it because you thought you could make money. Or you could do it because you enjoyed it. Even 15-year olds like Glenn -- who would never have been able to grab the attention of traditional publishers -- were now free to compete in the realm of ideas, rather than the worlds of investment capital or traditional employment.
Two years ago this month, as more bloggers and entrepreneurs rushed into our markets, I told readers that "it's time to ask yourself, if you're in this game for the money, how can you compete against someone who is in it for love? "

Certainly the rise of "user-generated content" has provided part of the answer. Publishers have found that they can co-opt the passion of this new generation of bloggers and standalone journalists by bringing them in-house while allowing their style of conversational journalism to flourish. Every smart B2B publisher has embraced the idea that readers are also writers, that the audience can also be reporters, that everyone can contribute.

But consider, if you will, some of the other challenges that have arisen.
Google has replaced the home page. People don't "surf" for information the way they did just a few years ago. Now they search for it. And woe is the B2B publisher who is so delusional that he thinks readers continue to bookmark his site and check it constantly for updates.
Content aggregators have become delivery systems. For everyone who subscribes to one of our newsletters, there's someone else who subscribes to a more neutral provider like SmartBrief or FierceMarkets.
Once we could argue that the work we produced had a professionalism that others could not duplicate. But that's no longer true. Content marketers have learned our methods, and they are producing compelling content that rivals anything done by traditional publishers.

There are, of course, ways to respond to these challenges. Search-engine optimization is a must-have skill for journalists and publishers. The way to make your email newsletter more valuable is by offering more value within it -- linking to information wherever it comes from, including competitors. B2B companies can expand their custom-publishing operations and embrace the it-doesn't-read-like-an-ad mentality of the smartest content marketers.

But the challenges keep coming. And I have my doubts that most B2B companies are prepared for whatever comes next.

Half-full Glass
If you're a longtime reader of this blog, or if you've ever seen me speak at an industry event, then you know I am both thrilled and optimistic about the changes in media. I'm not one of those people who long for the old days. I love bloggers and multimedia reporters and programmer/journalists. I love feedback functions and Website functionality. I love YouTube and Facebook and Twitter. I love RSS and CSS and every other acronym in the new-media world.
But I also recognize that we have lost things.
Until recently, most of us were among the sole voices that people recognized and trusted in the industries we cover. Until recently, our publications were among the few ways that marketers could reach their targets. We worked less than we do now, but it was easier to make money.

In business, people sometimes talk about points of difference and unique selling propositions. But in B2B media, it's getting harder and harder for people to point to what makes their products unique. Everyone is a publisher now and Google is everyone's circulation department.

Which brings us to today's question:
What can you, your staff and your publication bring to the table that no one else can? (I've published my answer to that question here.)

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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Five important questions for B2B media: Part Four

This is the fourth installment in a five-part series in which I pose questions about the state of B2B media. You can read the earlier pieces here, here and here.

My friend Doug Fisher, a journalism professor at the University of South Carolina, recently wrote about disagreements in the newspaper industry involving Caspio, a system that is designed to make it easier for journalists to publish database-driven information to the Web.
In brief, some of the best minds in journalism fear that when newspapers use Caspio they are missing an opportunity to develop database-programmer journalists of their own.
My first reaction to Doug's piece was this: I wish we had this problem in B2B.

Unlike the newspaper world, B2B media has long seen the value of providing data to customers. A good portion of B2B companies publish databases, directories, buyers guides, etc. But unlike the newspaper world, B2B publishing companies have not yet seen the value of having journalists interact with the data.
Or, to put it another way, B2B media hasn't fallen in love with the work of Adrian Holovaty.

If you're not familiar with Adrian's work, then you just haven't been paying attention. In just a few, short years he has been instrumental in three massive shifts in media -- ultra-local reporting, the creation of Django development software, and database-driven journalism (including his award-winning mash-up, He's gone from the Lawrence Journal-World in Kansas to the Washington Post. And he recently won a $1 million grant from the Knight News Challenge.
He is perhaps the most important person working in journalism today, although he's not yet 30-years old.
And most B2B editors have never heard of him.

Nearly everyone who writes about media has written about Adrian. But if you're new to the subject, I'd suggest you start by reading this profile in American Journalism Review. Then visit Adrian's site and read some of the pieces he's written himself.
What you'll find (and please forgive my simplistic explanation) is that Adrian urges newspaper reporters to recognize that the information they collect can be viewed as "structured data" that can be stored in databases and repurposed into new forms of journalism.
And increasingly, the smartest newspaper reporters and editors in the world have begun to follow his lead.

Although we B2B journalists are further behind our newspaper brothers in learning to see story elements (earnings, dates, names, events) as data, we do have a distinct advantage in mastering database-driven reporting: We are already awash in data. For many of us, there is an entire department of people down the hall who collect, store and sell data to our readers.
But many B2B reporters never even look at the stuff.

A year and a half ago I wrote a post about two very different experiences I've had with data at publishing companies. At one publisher, the very idea that a reporter like me wanted access to the data so that I could mine it for stories was seen as silly. But at another company, reporters were required to mine the data for stories.
You can read the details here. I don't think you'll be surprised to learn that the first company is now a shell of its former self; while the second company is arguably the most successful electronic publisher in history.

Over in Philadelphia, my friend Russell Perkins runs a group called InfoCommerce. It's a consulting and research firm for data providers. And each year Russell offers something he calls his "Models of Excellence Awards."
Take a look at this year's winners here. Then check out earlier winners here. What you'll find is that while some award winners are from B2B publishing companies, most of the best stuff comes from standalone data and search providers.

I cannot help but wonder if one way to improve B2B publishers' data products -- many of which are already quite wonderful -- would be to allow B2B journalists to experiment, mash-up, drill down and write about what they find in the databases. I have no doubt whatsoever -- because I have seen it in my own reporting -- that opening up the databases to journalists will lead to new, previously unimagined stories and graphics.

Which leads to today's question:
How can we create an environment at our companies where smart people in editorial and data can learn to build stories, products, databases and ideas together?

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Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Five important questions for B2B media: Part Three

This is the third in a five-part series in which I pose important questions for B2B media. You can see Part One by clicking here. Check out Part Two by clicking here.

If you're reading this, odds are you're white.

Since I started my consulting business a few years ago, I've had the chance to visit dozens of B2B publications. I've also had the chance to speak at tradeshows run by Folio magazine, the American Society of Business Publication Editors and American Business Media.
And everywhere I've gone I've looked out upon audiences made up almost entirely of white people.
It's really begun to drive me nuts.

Sure, every once in awhile I'll see a few Asian folks. That's particularly true in New York and California. And sometimes I'll meet someone with a Spanish surname.
But of the roughly 1,000 U.S.-based B2B journalists I've met, no more than a dozen or so were black, Arabic or South Asian.

It's been nearly two years since I first wrote about this issue. Back then, after a visiting a series of white-dominated businesses, I said "it has become positively creepy to visit your newsrooms." And I assure you that the creepiness factor has only increased.
In addition to the whiteness factor, here are some other things I have noted:
1. An absence of black folks in the newsroom does not reflect the numbers of blacks in a community. Even in cities such as New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Kansas City -- all of which have substantial numbers of black residents -- B2B news staffers are overwhelmingly white.
2. The lack of black folks in a newsroom does not correspond to a lack of black folks at the company. When I wander outside even the whitest of the white newsrooms, I tend to run into substantial numbers of black people in support jobs -- payroll, circulation, reception, etc.
3. When I ask executives about the lack of minority journalists at their publications, the answer I'm most likely to receive is some variation of "we just don't get many minority candidates."
4. When I ask executives what, if any, recruiting they do that is aimed at minority candidates, the answer is almost always "none."
5. When I visit college campuses, or speak to groups of college students at journalism conferences, it is clear that part of the problem begins at the universities. The numbers of minority students at most schools is dissapointingly small.
6. It's also clear that few if any schools consider trade publishing a suitable destination for their graduates. So even schools that have large numbers of minority students tend not to funnel those kids toward us.
7. B2B's shortcomings involve race and ethnic background, not gender. I am not aware of a single B2B publication that has a problem recruiting women for entry-level jobs. Journalism schools tend to attract a good number of female students. And although it is possible to argue that management remains a male-dominated realm, the number of women in management jobs at most B2B publishers dwarfs the number of minority employees at any level in editorial.

It's worse for us
It is clear that this problem -- although present to lesser degrees across all media -- is massive in B2B. Newspapers don't have a problem this big. Television, particularly among on-air personalities, both national and local, doesn't have a problem this big. Radio is considerably more diverse. Online-only consumer news is far more diverse. B2C publishing doesn't have a problem like we do. I've worked in all those fields. And it's only in B2B where the lack of diversity is so glaring, so obvious and so overwhelming that it makes my skin crawl.

In a global economy, there are compelling reasons to diversify a workforce.
But I don't want to talk about those today. Because the more I think about this issue, the more it becomes clear to me that the problem here isn't about motivation. It's about effort.
Far too few B2B executives and senior editorial staffers put enough effort into recruiting minority journalists. Far too few of us visit historically black colleges. Far too few of us post our jobs on sites that cater to minority journalists (examples are here, here and here.) We don't do enough. That is clear to me.
What is unclear is the reason. Is B2B more racist? Is there something about this industry that attracts and rewards prejudiced people? Or is it some other character flaw? Are we lazier? Less concerned with social issues? Are we more easily defeated? Prone to giving in more readily in the face of difficult tasks?

And so this is today's question:
What is it about B2B in general, and your company in particular, that causes our race problem?

(Disclosure: I am a member of the most common demographic in B2B publishing -- I am a middle-aged, white, male.)

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Five important questions for B2B media: Part Two

Yesterday I posted the first in a five-part series of questions that folks in B2B media should be asking themselves. Here is the second post in that series.

Last week Steve Ballmer, the chief executive officer of Microsoft, was the keynote speaker at the annual Association of National Advertisers convention. And it was there -- before the group that pays the bills for all of us in media -- that he predicted the death of print publishing within 10 years. "Anything we think of as media today, whether it is print, TV or the Internet, will in fact be delivered over IP (Internet protocol) and will all be digital. Everything will be delivered digitally."

For the record, I am not one of those people who claims that print is dead. Rather, as I have said numerous times in this blog, I believe that "some of print is dead. Some of it isn't...yet. And some of it will live forever."

And I'll match Ballmer's prediction with one of my own: within 10 years, hundreds and hundreds of publications will still be printed on paper. Here are just a few of the periodicals on my desk that have a future in ink: Backpacker, Guideposts, Baseball Digest, Dwell, Giant Robot and Berkshire Living. And although I can add to that list easily, I must admit that there is not a single B2B magazine that I am convinced will be published on paper in 2017.

Tipping Points
Earlier this year, a blog post by my friend Colin Crawford at IDG caught the attention of the B2B media world. (Disclosure: IDG is a client of mine.) Colin wrote that "the absolute dollar growth of (IDG's) online revenues now exceeds the decline in our print revenues." That turning point became a tipping point for IDG. Within weeks, IDG closed the print edition of InfoWorld.

In that same post, Colin also disclosed that online revenue at IDG accounted for 35% of total U.S. publishing revenue. At some key brands, Colin said, online already generated the majority of revenue. And the company expected online revenue would reach approximately 50% of total revenue across the company by 2009.

Then, in June, CMP announced that non-print revenue had surpassed print revenue at the company for the first time. Chief Executive Officer Steve Weitzner told Folio that the "trend is continuing and the gap is actually growing." Armed with this "tipping point" data, CMP promptly closed some print publications, reduced the frequency of some others, and laid off 200 people.

And just a few weeks ago, Cygnus executives said that a decline in print advertising"has accelerated and is significantly larger than we projected during our business reviews, held less than three months ago." At that same time, Cygnus said that online ad sales had risen year-over-year by more than 50 percent. Apparently surprised by the arrival of such a tipping point, and worried about what it meant for the business, Cygnus slashed salaries across the company by 7.5 percent.

The Nature of Business
Business is nothing more -- and nothing less -- than resource management. A company controls things of value: raw materials, a workforce, etc. Management uses those things to create new things that it sells for a profit. But business is fluid. So as sales of Thing 1 rise, sales of Thing 2 sometimes fall. As the costs of creating Thing 3 increase; the costs of producing Thing 4 decline.

Thus every so often a business is forced to reconsider the things that it makes. Every so often a business is forced to ask itself: what business are we in?

In B2B media, we are in the business of connecting people with information and with each other. And it should be clear to everyone that the ways in which we do that must change. The core of what we have done for years and years -- produce print magazines -- is simply not as profitable as it once was. Print revenue is declining. Print productions costs are rising.

But other things we do are growing more profitable. Tradeshows and online publishing are generating more revenue than in the past. And, at least in online publishing, some costs are dropping. So it is inevitable -- inevitable -- that the business equation across all of B2B will shift. We will be closing more print magazines. Heck, within 10 years we may close them all. We will be shifting resources -- firing some workers, hiring new ones, changing incentive plans for ad sales, increasing investment in tradeshows and online while cutting the budgets of print operations.

This will happen. It is happening already and it will continue to happen.

You can't stop it. It's not about you. It's about business. It's about risks and rewards, profits and loss.

The only thing that is open for discussion is the rate of the change. And that is something that each of us must consider individually. Just as the profit potential of print products is declining, the career potential of the people tied to those products is slipping. Just as each company in B2B must decide when to shift resources away from underperforming units, each worker in B2B must decide when to back away from a losing proposition.

So this is today's question:

What is the tipping point for you and your publication? What metric will you use to determine when you'll pull resources from print and at what level? And more importantly, when will you decide that it doesn't make good career sense for you to continue to work on a print product?

(Update: For breaking news out of InfoWorld, check out this article from Folio.)

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Monday, October 15, 2007

Five days of questions for B2B media

I don't claim to have the answers.
But I do have questions. And this week I'm going to ask five very important ones. Every day from now through Friday I'll share with you the sorts of questions that buzz around in my head ... and that should be buzzing around in yours.

A few days ago BtoB magazine asked Tad Smith, chief executive officer of Reed Business Information, to discuss his investment plans for next year (Disclosure: Reed is a client of mine.)
You can see his responses here.

What was most interesting to me was Tad's statement that he planned to boost spending on online editorial, but that he would do so by spending money on non-editorial staffers: " If you ask someone in California how many people you need to start a Web site, the response is three engineers and one editorial person. If you ask the same question in New York, the response is three editorial people and one engineer. To me, a dollar today spent on site engineering is better than one spent on building editorial content. This may seem counterintuitive, but there's too much focus on content. What you need is content that is more easily found and, when found, more enjoyable to read. That is all about engineering. We want to have sites where people come to enjoy the great content we already have. "

No doubt that's the sort of statement that outrages a good number of journalists. But the truth -- ugly as it may be -- is that Tad is right. For most B2B publishers there is too much focus on the art of content creation and and not enough on the science of content distribution. Editors are creating tons of articles. But since few editors have the skills or interest to optimize their articles for search, much of their effort is wasted.
It's comparable to producing a newspaper with a staff of hundreds of journalists but not a single printer.

Even more worrisome is the widespread problem in B2B publishing of misunderstanding how people consume content on the Web. Much of what we ask people to read online is just plain unreadable on a computer screen.
There is no excuse for producing a text-heavy monstrosity like this site from CMP. And why would anyone think the design of this Grand View Media site is acceptable? Or, for that matter, go back and take a look at the remarkably Web-unfriendly look of the interview with Tad. As I wrote nearly a year ago, BtoB Magazine seems unable to grasp the fundamentals of writing and designing for the Web.

In the past few weeks I've had conversations with a number of executives who made note of two interesting, disconcerting and possibly related facts.
First, after publishers have closed underperforming magazines, they've found that page views of the related Web sites have not suffered -- even if the sites are no longer being updated. In fact, once the editorial staff "was out of the way," as one exec said, a little search-engine optimization led to a boost in page views. Publishers have found that these sites -- full of evergreen, useful, "how-to" content -- could be profitable. The trick is to sell ads against search-engine friendly article pages, and not to "waste" money on staff to create new content.
Second, a much larger percentage of editorial staffers than anyone wanted to admit are proving absolutely incapable of functioning in the new media environment. The problems seem to be emotional and cultural, rather than intellectual. And they may be insurmountable. Or, as one senior editorial executive told me, "I just don't have the patience anymore for another conversation with another middle-aged white guy who thinks he's being mistreated by the world because I want him to know what a f**ing title tag is."

And so, this is today's question:
What is the correct ratio of art to science, creation to optimization, words to design, editor to engineer for each of us and our publications?

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Sunday, October 07, 2007

Reading the anger at Cygnus

A week ago today I wrote the first of two blog posts about the trouble at Cygnus. The reaction -- in the form of comments I published, comments I censored (because they contained anonymous personal attacks), and e-mails I received -- was both shocking and informative. I warned a week ago today that Cygnus' plan to cut wages was ill-advised and that it "isn't going to end well."
If anything, I was probably being too optimistic. It's beginning to look like this could end in disaster.
Take a moment to look at those earlier posts here and here. More importantly, read the comments. Because today I want to talk about those comments and what they mean.

How bad is it?
As you read through the comments you'll see a level of fury and distrust that is nothing short of overwhelming. The staff at Cygnus is furious. In addition to the sheer anger, there are a few other things worth noting in the comments.
Consider that:
1. The staff's outrage at actual events is so intense it may be leading to outrage at imagined events. One comment refers to a company-paid trip earlier this year to Hawaii for "publishers, sales people, and their spouses/significant others." But another comment says no such trip took place.
2. The atmosphere at the company is now so poisonous that even when management is making sense, the staff doesn't hear it. In one comment, a staff member is angry that the co-CEOs had earlier said that "We anticipate interactive budgets to EQUAL print budgets within 2 years."
The person posting the comments calls that projection "unrealistic" and "nonsense." But it's neither. I don't know if the co-CEOs were talking about their clients' advertising budgets or if they were taking about Cygnus' internal budgets. But either way, interactive budgets already exceed print budgets in much of B2B. But at this point it seems likely that the staff is unable to hear even when senior management is making sense.
3. As things were deteriorating at Cygnus, it appears that senior management continued to give editors new duties (making "on-site reader calls," whatever those are), and then misleading the staff -- suggesting that the new work could lead to pay raises.
4. There are no indications in the comments (or in the emails I've traded with Cygnus workers) to suggest that the company's human resources department has been briefed fully on the salary cuts. Workers say they can't get straight answers even to simple questions. (Note: a staff meeting has been scheduled for this week, and it's likely that many questions will be answered then.)
5. No senior or mid-management people have stepped forward to defend the company's actions. Not one person. Not a single one. That speaks volumes.

Irreconcilable differences?
At Cygnus, the employees and executives are not working together. Rather, they are separated by a monstrous divide of contempt and distrust.
As far as I have heard, no one among the workers or middle management believes that the salary cuts and related actions can work. No one, it seems, has any faith that senior management can pull this off. No one appears to believe that Cygnus will be OK.
Only the workers at Cygnus know for sure just how ugly things have become. Only they know how much less work is being done, how much less effort is being made.
The question is what, if anything, can be done to turn things around.

No doubt the co-CEOs and other top brass at Cygnus arrived at the decision to cut wages because they believed the environment demanded drastic action. Perhaps they were right. Perhaps not. Only those people who have seen the company's books and debt agreements know for sure.
But I have no doubt that as drastic as the situation might have been, it would have been a wiser move to take a different drastic action. Cutting wages for every worker in the company is not a recipe for saving a company. It's an invitation to low morale, sabotage and an exodus of your key players.

If Cygnus' senior management is reading this, allow me to suggest the following:
Now is the time for drastic action. You have to do something to win back your staff and you have to do it quickly.
Because when I read the comments and emails of this past week it is clear to me that Cygnus is slipping away.

(For another take on this, check out this post by Prescott Shibles, the smartest guy who ever worked for me. Prescott talks about how his morale was crushed years ago when the company we both worked for stared cutting wages for execs and freezing salaries for everyone else. That company -- or at least the unit we worked for -- survived and thrived. And Prescott has too. However, it's worth noting that new investors and a very different sort of CEO led the company back from the depths.)

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Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Things get really ugly, really fast at Cygnus

On Sunday, I posted something to this blog about the troubles at Cygnus. I suggested that upper management's decision to cut wages would lead to morale problems, and warned that the plan to cut salaries "isn't going to end well."

It now appears that I underestimated just how angry folks were.

In the past few days I have rejected 12 comments to this blog because they violate the one rule I have about comments -- no anonymous personal attacks (There is one exception -- I generally allow anonymous personal attacks on me.)
That's a record. Nothing I've ever written has generated such nastiness. The folks at Cygnus are livid. And I don't think it is an exaggeration to say that the staff hates the company.

To those of you who wish to vent your anger on this blog, I ask that you please resend your comments. Feel free to do so anonymously. I understand that many of you fear for your jobs. But if you wish to be anonymous, do not mention bosses, co-workers, administrative staff or others by name or by identifying title. I'm sure that those of you in editorial understand my hesitation to publish anonymous personal attacks and curse words. I'm sure you have similar rules at your publications.
Also, some of you have shared personal anecdotes about the management of Cygnus. These stories, if true, are illustrative of what has gone wrong at the company. But I'm not willing to publish those accusations anonymously. Nor do I have the time and resources to "launch an investigation" of the people in charge. Instead, I would urge you to contact the reporting staff at Folio magazine. Perhaps they would be interested in chasing this story.
Thanks. And good luck in these next few difficult weeks.

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