Joi Ito's conversation with the living web.

Kevin Marks blogs "How I emailed myself into a job and blogged my way out of it". I was trying to figure out whether I should write something objective and refer to my strength of weak ties post, but I'm not going to.

Kevin Marks, of MediAgora fame and a regular in #joiito is one of the most helpful and interesting people I've met recently. A lot of his job involved compiling huge pieces of code on slow machines so he would hang out and help people on #joiito. I feel a bit guilty because I think people on #joiito were a bit demanding of his time, myself included. I remember asking him to take care of my nephew and niece over iChat at 4 am in California while I did some cooking.

Anyway, I think this is a great loss to Apple, but may end up being a good thing for Kevin, MediAgora and the social software space. I am obviously talking to Kevin about "his next thing" but I encourage people who are looking for partners and are interested in someone who understands streaming media, alternative music distribution theories and social software to talk to Kevin. Now is your chance. (And if you come of with something cool to do, talk to me before you talk to any other venture capitalists. ;-) )


Kevin was an office-neighbor, with a very similar career-path at Apple -- I too was hired for my demonstrated dev-list expertise, (in my case) fired for not delivering the engineering goods that my manager needed (Apple is under extremely tight hiring freeze, so bringing somebody in to do that job meant somebody else had to go).

Tough being a generalist in the corporate world...

If you're reading this Kevin, hang in there. There's always room in the industry for good people like you. While you're probably too professional and humble to openly criticize Apple, I'm not. :) Their glory days were over in the early eighties when they fired all the pioneers and started hiring way too many Ivy League MBAs.

Starting when I was 12, I worked three newspaper routes and saved my money for an entire year so that I could buy an Apple IIgs. As you know, there was never any good software released for that box. I was devastated and I'll never forgive Apple for that. :)

Allow me to transpose my angst on your situation when I say that Apple was crazy to part with you.

A key factor is the lack of understanding of what loyalty means and how loyalty really works in the corporate world.

The most common perception is that the employee MUST be loyal to the company and not leak secrets.

However, there is no reciprocal loyalty from the management to the staff. Well, after all, employees get paid.

The long term implications are
a. Huge losses of intrinsic knowledge, especially in groups with little or no documentation.

b. Erosion of trust. This is the most damaging item that gets missed. This is manifest in forms such as the loss of passion or the lack of desire to rally behind a cause/ goal.

c. Increased costs to the company.

d. Substantially increased risk of failure.

Few managers make any real efforts to get down to the root of "performance problems". Firing people is the easier short term approach. Hopefully the new hire(s) will perform better than the previous.

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