Earlier today, I published the following message on our internal company blog. For those members of our community who wanted to know about the changes at Six Apart today, I've reposted it here publicly for reference.
Today we are making some changes at Six Apart. We are reducing the size of our full time staff by around 8% and are making some organizational changes as we prepare for 2009. This note is to provide some detail and context around these changes.
Everyone is aware of the challenging economic times we face. The uncertainty of 2009 has made planning very difficult but it is clear that next year looks very different now than it did just a couple of months ago. While it would be easy to just blame “the economy” for these changes, however, the truth is more complex.
This year was one of profound growth and change for Six Apart. In addition to welcoming almost 90 new people and growing to a company of over 200 employees, we launched Six Apart Services, Six Apart Media, Blogs.com, Movable Type Open Source and MT Pro, a suite of TypePad-powered products, including Blog It, Blog Link, the TypePad iPhone app and TypePad AntiSpam, and reached the final stage of the biggest technical project in the company’s history: the migration of TypePad onto a new platform. And, as you all know, we aren’t done yet, with several of our most significant product releases still to come this year.
From a financial point of view, the company continues to grow with Q4 2008 on track to be our biggest revenue quarter ever, and cash flows from our revenue, past financings, and sale of LiveJournal providing funds that will serve us well going into next year and beyond. Despite the challenging economic environment, we estimate that the depth and breadth of our products and services will allow us to continue growing revenue throughout this downturn.
So why are we doing this? First, as with many companies these days we are being proactive about keeping our expenses low. Second, with so many changes in 2008, and looking forward to the changing market 2009, we have to rebalance our organization accordingly.
We've been reminded lately that blogging was born out of the last recession in 2001 - 2002, and that during tough economic times creative voices look to powerful, cost-effective ways to connect and communicate with the world around them. With that backdrop, here are some of the organizational changes we are making and why we feel they are necessary:
- Creating Six Apart “Genius” group. We are refocusing our marketing efforts from promoting Six Apart to helping support our bloggers and clients directly. Our marketing, community, and support groups will merge to create a single team whose mission is to help our bloggers be successful. Despite the economy, or perhaps because of it, we believe that more people will be turning to blogging to promote themselves or their business, and we want to provide them with more than just great technology but also help with getting started, design, building an audience, revenue generation, and more. We are committed to having Six Apart remain the best resource for individual and professional bloggers around the world. Bar none.
- Growing Six Apart Services. Our professional services group has grown significantly as our larger clients are increasingly using Movable Type and TypePad as cornerstones of their broader online strategies. Companies have always come to us to help them compete in a modern, social Internet but now they are also looking for more cost effective ways to run their entire web sites and seeing MT in particular as a complete web content management solution. With this has come the need for more support and services. Today we will be transferring several people from around the company into Six Apart Services and have more open positions in that group.
- One hosted technology team. As we all know, the TypePad migration has been a long and arduous project that organizationally split much of the engineering and ops team around various pieces of that project. As migration completes and we move forward, we are bringing the hosted engineering, analytics, infrastructure, open platforms, and operations teams under one leader, Ben Trott.
- Moving forward with Six Apart Media. While we expect that online advertising will be hard hit by this economy, analysts still expect Internet advertising to grow and we expect that Six Apart Media will continue to grow in 2009. We’ve had tremendous response to our advertising program that we launched in April which now includes almost a thousand bloggers and continues to grow rapidly. We are committed to serving these bloggers and helping them make as much money on their site as possible in this environment. We will continue to grow our sales force and account management teams to meet this need.
The management team doesn’t take these changes lightly and agonized over this decision. However, our first responsibility is to the company as a whole and we feel these changes are the right ones to keep the company competitive, secure, and positioned for future growth.
As I’ve said several times in the past, all companies face adversity from time to time, but the mark of a great company is how it responds. Today is a day when we will be tested. A day to help one another. And a day to say some goodbyes.
Tomorrow will be about redoubling our efforts to create an even stronger focus on what's made Six Apart successful: the bloggers we support.
Thank you for all you do.