MySpace CEO Owen van Natta did what everyone knew he was brought in to do: pull the trigger on 420 of the company’s 1,420 employees.

Nowadays smart companies don’t put out press releases on layoffs. Instead, they send an email to staff that’s guaranteed to be leaked onto the Internet.

Here’s van Natta’s after-the-firings message to the remaining staff. Nice of them to include an exact headcount. The best line is, “Becoming more innovative is an ongoing responsibility for all of us, not a one-time effort.” Up here in Silicon Valley, innovation is very deliberately a one-time effort. After that, you jump to another company that offers you more stock options.

Here’s the full text of Van Natta’s email:


Today we are making a number of changes to MySpace’s domestic organizational structure.  For the long-term health of the company we are making some very tough, but unfortunately very necessary decisions.

We are reducing our workforce from 1,420 employees to 1,000 – all divisions within the company are affected by this restructure.

These decisions are difficult for everyone, but especially for our friends and colleagues who contributed to MySpace’s success and are directly affected by the changes. Through no fault of theirs our company’s size became unsustainable. The future success of MySpace is dependent upon us operating as a nimble and entrepreneurial company with the adaptive mentality of a start-up.

I believe this is the first difficult step toward a major turnaround – a step that will not only shore us up in the short term, but position us for long term success. We need to become a more innovative company.  Becoming more innovative is an ongoing responsibility for all of us, not a one-time effort. We are developing a process that will empower anyone in the company to contribute ideas and enable us to integrate your thoughts into our plans for the future.  We will follow-up with details on this process in the coming weeks.

This week we will communicate the foundation for our company strategy. In the days ahead, I will visit a number of U.S. offices, starting tomorrow at HQ, MySpace Music, and El Segundo. On Thursday I look forward to seeing everyone in Seattle and San Francisco, and on Friday, I’ll be spending time with the team based in New York.

I’m honored to be working with you on the next phase of MySpace and I’m grateful for your patience during this difficult process.

Thank you,

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