The Badger joined a local community group on Facebook during the pandemic. This week he left it because postings have become dominated by niff-naff and trivia. Although it’s been interesting to see how posts to the group have changed over time, the Badger’s now got better things to do than see content that ranges from requests for spare cardboard boxes to cat-sitting! What’s this got to do with Big Tech in turmoil? The link is subtle, but it’s real; it’s the act of change and leaving.
Big Tech – a convenient phrase for companies that provide online services that the public uses in daily life – has been announcing significant job cuts over the last six months. Meta, for example, has recently announced further major layoffs to take effect by the end of April and May 2023, and, as the Badger writes, Amazon have announced a cut of another 9000 jobs. According to Computerworld, the pace of job cuts will rise across the entire tech sector throughout this year. It’s a view that the Badger shares.
Many have commented on the reasons for these layoffs – see, for example, here – but fundamentally it’s really simple. Big Tech is having to change to adapt to a new world, market, and economic reality. Change is painful, just look at Twitter, especially for those who lose their jobs with their employer. What’s happening with Big Tech, however, is just part of the circle of life for any commercial organisation, large or small, in any market sector.
Big Tech is not immune to having to deal with decisions taken during the pandemic on staffing levels that haven’t worked out. Nor is it immune to the cutbacks and changing behaviours of the consumers, businesses, and advertisers that underpin their business models. It’s not immune to ever-growing competition from peers and rivals, tightening regulation, inflation and rising costs, and the need for adopting cleverer automation to keep operational efficiency at a peak. The latter alone drives a need for fewer people. The pandemic, geopolitical events, and changing world markets have made some kind of reset in Big Tech companies inevitable with some employees, as always, part of the fallout.
So, is Big Tech in turmoil? No. It’s just going through a part of the circle of life that all businesses go through. It’s worth remembering that when big oak trees shed their acorns, some of those acorns go on to become new oak trees. Some of those losing their jobs will start new businesses that flourish, and others will go on to spread their knowledge and experience more widely through taking new jobs outside the tech sector. The Badger believes there’s a certainty for those being let go in Big Tech’s reset, namely, that they as individuals will cope. Why? Because as the dominant species on our planet, humans are fundamentally resilient, adaptable, and resourceful.