Blogging may have been invented during the last recession, but that doesn’t mean it’s immune from tough economic times. Six Apart, the San Francisco startup that offers Movable Type blogging software and TypePad blogging services, just announced it’s laying off eight percent of its staff.
The news comes just a couple weeks after chief executive Chris Alden told Portfolio.com that a down economy boosts blogging. The layoffs don’t invalidate that claim, but they do undercut some of the optimism Alden expressed. In his announcement, Alden acknowledges that the cuts are in part a response to the economy, but he says that’s not the full story. For one thing, he actually anticipates that the fourth quarter of 2008 will be Six Apart’s best yet.
“So why are we doing this? First, as with many companies these days we are being proactive about keeping our expenses low,” Alden writes. “Second, with so many changes in 2008, and looking forward to the changing market 2009, we have to rebalance our organization accordingly.”
The “rebalancing” includes launching a “Genius” group to market directly to bloggers and clients, growing Six Apart’s professional services group, consolidating a number of teams into a single hosted technology group and increasing the staff for the Six Apart Media ad network.
Blog posts from executives announcing cuts are becoming increasingly common. Valleywag’s Owen Thomas has even made fun of the common buzzwords and phrases they’re using. But even though Alden’s post hews to the format, I will applaud the one element that I haven’t seen in many other layoff announcements: Alden himself will be taking a 15 percent pay cut. This probably won’t make a huge difference to the bottom line, but it’s still a laudable move that lends weight to executives’ oft-repeated claims that they aren’t making these decisions lightly.