Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

A Picture's Worth a Thousand Words–So What Does a Big Smile in a Layoff Story Mean?

Maybe: Happy days aren’t here again?

BoomTown always enjoys chatting with the always sunny Loïc Le Meur of Seesmic (and will, in fact, be appearing at his Paris-based digital conference in December, called Le Web).

But I am not quite sure what to make of his big, happy smile that was in this picture above (click in the image to make it larger), which went with a story in the New York Times about start-ups cutting costs.

In fact, the whole Seesmic crew is grinning awfully hard, putting a very game face on recent layoffs that cut the staff at the video blog service by more than a third.

Money–or, more accurately, non-money–quote from the Times piece:

“To preserve cash, many tech start-ups are rushing to lay off employees and cut expenses. They are shelving their dreams of Google-size riches and getting small, humble and thrifty, all with the more modest goal of surviving the coming economic winter.”

In a less puritan mode, Seesmic raised $6 million in May from a bunch of high-profile angels, of $12 million total.

They include LinkedIn’s Reid Hoffman, former AOL head Steve Case, SoftTech VC Jeff Clavier, entrepreneur Mark Pincus, former Goldman Sachs analyst Michael Parekh, entrepreneur Ariel Poler, investor Ron Conway, FON founder Martin Varsavsky and an investment group called Atomico founded by Skype founders Niklas Zennström and Janus Friis. Tech bloggers Jeff Pulver, Michael Arrington and Dan Gillmor have also invested.

Now, Le Meur is trying to stretch his dollars in the economic downturn, spurred by venture capitalists who have been pressing entrepreneurs like him to do so.

“If I can’t make this work in three years it will be a failure,” Mr. Le Meur said to the Times. “If I can and I get through this, it will be much stronger.”

In other words, what doesn’t kill us …

C’est la vie in Silicon Valley!

But in more bon-vivant times, back in February, I did a video post on my happier visit to Seesmic’s San Francisco HQ.

(Note: Many in the video are no longer at Seesmic and neither are the shows discussed, as well as the now-defunct Web 2.0 sentiments about growth without revenue.)

Here’s the video:

Image Credit: Jim Wilson/New York Times

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— David Pogue on why he’s joining Yahoo