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gnat (29)

gnat
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Journal of gnat (29)

Wednesday January 09, 2002
12:34 PM

Layoffs

[ #2011 ]
More layoffs here at O'Reilly. Oh joy! This time, thank God, they gave us one day advance warning that layoffs were coming instead of one week. That week last year was miserable and unproductive. The number of people laid off is smaller this time, too.

I can't speak for ORA management, but I feel like the boom days of computer publishing are gone for good. The 90s Internet boom raised demand for books on Perl, PHP, Unix, and so on. But now that the world has realized that not every service can and should be delivered through the Internet, e-commerce expectations and implementations are being scaled way back, the whole computer industry is going to shrink again.

The next economic boom might come from nanotech, from biotech, from the military, or from somewhere else. I don't know. What I am pretty sure of is that it's not going to come from PHP, Perl, Unix, or any of the things we're currently strong in. It's a depressing thought, but I just can't see the future being any brighter.

I can't see us ever ceasing to publish Perl books. But we might be pickier about what we take on. And we might be a smaller company in a year's time. About the only consolation to be had is that it's not like anyone else in the industry is doing better.

That's the grim news. What's good? I think I still have a job :-| Despite my whining, I do enjoy editing and the book business. And we have some kick-ass Perl books in the pipeline. (plug: I'll be working on Perl Cookbook 2ed once this PHP book is out). I just got a copy of the first book I edited all by myself (Programming Web Services with SOAP--the Amazon rank right now is 952, which is pretty damn good!). I found a coauthor for the book that the original author abandoned. And I have amazing coworkers in both techpubs and conferences who inspire me every day to do better and be better.

Now, back to the PHP book ...

--Nat

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