Reflections on this past week

The eclipse as viewed from a farm in Kansas.

Facebook’s anti-climactic IPO and the spectacular solar eclipse kicked off an interesting week.

I was glad to see a little good news come out of Yahoo yesterday with Axis. The Livestand thing and the Scott Thompson fiasco were just more nails-in-the-coffin of an apparent death spiral that’s been going on for years.

Thompson had a bachelors degree in accounting, so why did he lie about the second major? Obviously, sheepskin meant more to him than his colleague from his PayPal days Peter Thiel. Thiel, a co-founder of PayPal, was on 60 Minutes last Sunday preaching that college education is no longer worth the costs. Apparently Yahoo’s employees also felt strongly about academic credentials. The New York Times quoted a Yahoo insider saying “It was a very emotional situation for employees. They were saying, ‘How can I work for a company that has a C.E.O. who claims to be a computer scientist when he’s not? I can’t work here if that’s true.“

Speaking of fibbing, the WSJ ran a piece in their Weekend Edition called “Why We Lie“. They say that while we would like to think in black and white about dishonesty, that is just note the case.

Everybody has the capacity to be dishonest, and almost everybody cheats—just by a little. Except for a few outliers at the top and bottom, the behavior of almost everyone is driven by two opposing motivations. On the one hand, we want to benefit from cheating and get as much money and glory as possible; on the other hand, we want to view ourselves as honest, honorable people. Sadly, it is this kind of small-scale mass cheating, not the high-profile cases, that is most corrosive to society.

Yahoo’s not the only one struggling. HP provided more detail on their layoffs this week. They plan to cut 9,000 people by end of HP’s fiscal year in October. By the end of 2014, the company will have cut 27,000 people in total, some through early retirements, out of a workforce of 350,000. Bloomberg said a third of the cuts will pull from US employees and the enterprise services group will take the largest hit.

Monster published a post on “How to Tell if a Layoff is Coming” including such indicators as project cancellation, budget cuts and senior management resignations, but by now most folks recognize the signs (the question is who is going to get cut). Speaking of which, the hits just keep on coming at RIM: there’s another defection – its head of global sales is stepping down. Also, the Toronto Star also just broke a story forecasting layoffs at RIM this coming week.

Steven Sinofsky ran a piece on his prolific blog on the history of Windows desktop interfaces. The post mentioned dumping the “dated and cheesy” Aero for Metro. Elsewhere, Microsoft’s communications department had to backtrack on Ballmer’s Windows 8 propaganda. I am so not ready to deal with another new Windows desktop much less its entire upgrade avalanche this year.

Meanwhile this site continues to run slower and slower. I have about had it with Go Daddy.