Black Friday

Saturday, 17 November 2001, 1:01 pm
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TechTV logo sheds a tearI’ve been in broadcasting for 25 years now. I’ve even been through layoffs before. But I’ve never experienced anything like yesterday. As many of you already know, TechTV fired 130 people on Friday – 25% of our work force. A great many companies have had to cut back in the past few months, and millions of folks have lost their jobs, but having it happen so close to home was a brutal shock and totally devastating.

I was stuck in airports all day yesterday, trying to get back from Raleigh NC to the Bay Area. I spent much of that time on the cell phone getting updates as some of my closest friends were getting fired. I felt so helpless.

I guess part of the reason these layoffs hurt so much is that TechTV is much more than a job for most of us. Rightly or wrongly, it has become a second family. Like any family it’s frustrating at times. And painful. And intensely rewarding. But what a bitter blow it must have been to be so suddenly thrown out. Monday morning is going to be so tough for those 130 people. People who, for the most part, looked forward to coming to work, who believed in TechTV’s mission, and who gave their all to make it happen.

I don’t know the names of all the people who were fired. I’m slowly learning who made it and who didn’t. And each name added to the latter list is like a blow to the stomach. I know these layoffs were necessary for the channel to survive until better times. I know it must have been incredibly hard for management to do this. I also know that the people who are gone will go on to do great things – they’re all wildly talented and bright. But it still hurts like hell.

There’s a thread on the message boards devoted to the layoffs: TechTV Shakedown. I hope you all will use it to share your feelings and offer support to the good people who were let go.

There are still over 400 people who work at TechTV. We’ll pull it together and continue to bust our butts to give you a channel we can all be proud of. But for a while at least, we’re grieving the loss of 130 of our friends. Thanks for all your hard work and dedication, guys. I can’t wait to work with you again. And I know we will some day.

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6 Responses to “Black Friday”

  1. Anonymous on December 4th, 2001 8:01 pm

    Ahh. The Blog is Back.

  2. Anonymous on December 6th, 2001 11:19 pm

    I’ve heard that tech is experiencing a boom in sales. I hope that the people who got canned will benefit. I don’t think you mentioned who won your book last night. If so I missed it. I have yet to buy a copy, but I will get around to it when I see one in the store. Online purchases just aren’t my bag for now. at least until I trust this machine again which might be never. A new unit came on Monday, but unfortunately it didn’t work and I had to send it back.

    When I heard about the CES judge duties up for grabs I wanted to sign up so bad. Back in 88 I quit my job and my marriage and went out to visit my brother in Oklahoma City. While I was there his computer club signed him up to do a computer show in the area. His old apple 2GS wasn’t much but it was very impressive for back then with his house stereo hooked up and all. I loved the show even though it was very primitive. I officially bought my geek card during that brief intermission and my own 2GS not long afterwards. If I could go I’d be there in a second whether or not I could be a judge. Inspector gadget for a week. How cool.

  3. Anonymous on December 7th, 2001 5:03 am

    I hope Scott comes back, he was funny, even though his jokes were sometimes were covered up with talking. Like his “Make sure to carve a reminder in a block of cheese” one day on TSS, that was hilarious.

  4. Anonymous on December 13th, 2001 3:08 am

    I hope someday to turn on the aul box and see scott back where he belongs,he was a great segment in your show,and i feel something should be done with the tech tv viewers to get him his job back! Any ideas leo?

  5. Anonymous on December 14th, 2001 8:25 pm

    It is a very difficult thing to reach a decision concerning layoffs. At times, one has a choice of thinning out personnel, or going bust with everybody being out of work. God knows how great the loss would be were that to happen. You have all become part of so many families out here in reality-land. Know that our prayers are with you all. May the Peace of God be with you always. michael

  6. Steve S. on November 17th, 2007 9:03 pm

    Can’t believe it’s been six years.

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