25% down

Expedia’s stock dropped 25% on some pretty brutal earnings numbers. I was at AT&T Wireless for the IPO and long slide from a high of 32 to sustained $6-8 valuations, and this was worse. Most of us sensed this was coming: our last financials were not good. Morale’s been bad in general, and the things that everyone knows are bad aren’t getting any better.

But 25% — that’s amazing. That’s “Our CEO, who is supposedly only four years older than me, is indicted on charges he doctored financial disclosures” or something.

Following the drop, all of the execs ran around and held emergency meetings with each other, which strikes me as ridiculous, because –
a) they all knew that the results were coming and the market would freak
b) if they didn’t know the causes of our ennui, running around talking to each other’s not going to help

My company’s got problems, but we’ve also got the best group of people I’ve ever worked with. We’re ridiculously smart. Everyone knows what’s wrong, we just don’t do anything about it, and why we don’t do anything baffles the employees and doesn’t inspire confidence in our leadership.

Take an example. Working at Expedia is increasingly political and back-stabby in a way it wasn’t at all a couple years ago. Part of it’s the direction of the company and the increased pressure to be business-led (instead of tech-driven), but a lot of it is from people who’ve been brought in over the last few years who enjoy using their knives. Those people need to be fired, or… all put in a room together so they can stab each other to death while everyone else enjoys their jobs again. It doesn’t happen.

Take another example. There’s an exec at Expedia needs to get fired. I’m not going to name them, but if you took a survey of the top 10 (heck, 5) people Expedians thought deserved to be fired for their work in the last two years, I’d bet they’d get on 90% of the ballots easily. People openly discuss when they’ll be the next to leave “to spend time with their family” or whatever. As an executive, they’ve made massive errors that would get any employee canned.

Worse: now that I’ve written that, I realize it applies to more than one person.

But they’re still there, still running their piece of the company and participating in emergency meetings to discuss what’s going on, and what to do about it.

I predict layoffs.