There's a guy who I think I've mentioned in passing in the journal, T., who started out at NetPoodles six months or so before me as a tech support guy and has successively been tech support manager, IT director and "project manager." He came to the company with no real IT experience and now knows more about networking and system administration than I do (in no small part because he had to learn how to fix our frequently shipped-as-broken products at the OS level). And now, apparently, he's also gone.
When I left work, T. was smoking outside and talking to a few other people, a group gathering about him, as he related--not in detail--how he was given the "your services are no longer required" speech. Everyone seemed flummoxed by this--everyone knows he's the only one who's kept the internal network together (as best as the misbegotten bastard LAN can be), and almost singlehandedly kept some of the few accounts we have from drop shipping all our products back in body bags. And the disturbing thing here is that when I say everyone, I mean everyone. He's the one upper management goes to when things break.
Or, at least, he was.
I've had a feeling of watching the end game at NetPoodles for the last month--not the "limping between quarters" game in which we always get just enough to keep death six months away, but the real end game, when they're preparing to be bought out or just sell their assets. It's been easy to write this off as paranoia; they've always staved off death before, right? Now, it doesn't feel like paranoia.
The Bizarro World parallels to Be, Inc. continue--with the Bizarro part, of course, being that Be had assets to sell. Granted, ultimately Palm bought Be for their development team, and that's certainly where the remaining talent at NetPoodles lies. NetPoodles' management, I suspect, has fallen back on their almost charmingly naive belief that GE will buy them to keep our "irreplaceable" boxes under development. Maybe. But maybe they'll just take a comparable amount of money and go to a Cisco reseller and say "we need to do this." Our only competitive advantage has been price (our boxes are expensive but, at least in theory, combine a lot of features you need multiple boxes from other vendors for), and buying us--even at bargain basement prices--would cost more than the GE contract would be worth.
Well. On my way home from work I stopped to look for a book on FrameMaker--time for some self-taught courses and maybe a new certification or two, even a comparatively cheesy self-financed set. I'd intended to eat at home but a friend called me on the way down the interstate and we ended up at Hops; now to watch "Galaxy Quest" on DVD, and to await the release of NetPoodles' next 10-Q sometime between tomorrow and Monday.
I'm suspecting it's going to read "pull the rip cord, dude" somewhere in it...