After many years of few layoffs in large, profitable technology companies, it almost seemed like that was something that never had and never would happen.
Obviously the last 9-12 months have disproved the notion that it wouldn’t happen. And a little research, or just being born in the late eighties or earlier, gave plenty of examples that it has happened.
One good example is a Microsoft memo from 1993 called Shrimp and Weenie Guideline (via Steven Sinofsky) directed to its managers. It’s a good example of communicating that efficiency and profitability is important, even when a company is respected and very profitable.
Some issues in the memo that feel as relevant today as 30 years ago: avoiding unnecessary spending, leading by example is more powerful than just having rules and policies, headcount growth is not always necessary to reach objectives and it is important to make tough personnel decisions.
While technology changes fast, many business challenges are essentially the same decade after decade.