back to article IT security is a safe job? Tell that to Norse staff laid off this week

One of the more promising security startups of recent years has laid off a sizable chunk of its staff, citing business pressures. Norse – which you may remember from its FreeBSD fault finding or its global cyber-attack map – is one of a growing number of firms that uses a worldwide network of sensors and server racks to track …

  1. a_yank_lurker

    Job Security?

    There is no job that is totally secure. Back to the article, I wonder if the major problem lurking in the background is a poorly thought or executed business plan coupled with underestimating the costs and overestimating the growth.

    1. Halfmad

      Re: Job Security?

      These lay offs could have been part of the agreement to secure the additional funding, it's unlikely having looked at the current business model that any investor wouldn't make suggestions especially around potentially temporary staff or areas of the business which weren't focused on what the investor wanted.

      It's very possible that these staff were on contracts which were up for review shortly anyway or were part of an IT project which was coming to an end - We all know how companies love to ditch staff just after they've implemented a big change, only to then find they'e nobody who knows how to fix it when things go wrong ;)

  2. Howard Hanek


    Why is it that " better serve our customers...." with fewer people is always 'better'?

    So the goal must be to have a staff of one?

    Suffering from multiple personality disorder as the ideal?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Howard

      "So the goal must be to have a staff of one?"

      No, the goal is to be a CEO with no profit gobbling staff.

      1. waldo kitty

        Re: Howard

        "So the goal must be to have a staff of one?"

        No, the goal is to be a CEO with no profit gobbling staff.

        so where does the "better serve our customers" part come in??

        aside: "customers"... really? are they "cuss to mers" or are they "clients"? there is a difference... like the difference between being ignorant and stupid, i'd rather be ignorant... ignorance can be cured by education... i'd rather be a client any day of the week...

        PS: the only real cure for stupidity is hot lead at high velocity...

      2. TheOtherHobbes

        Re: Howard

        >No, the goal is to be a CEO with no profit gobbling staff.

        CEOs work for investors and VCs. As soon as a CEO accepts external funding he/she reliably finds the company culture changes as The Money starts demanding higher returns as quickly as possible.

        The Money usually only cares about short-term ROI or pumping up the financials with hot air ready for IPO.

        Longer-term growth isn't the usual plan, because The Money can always "invest" elsewhere after a company has been bled dry.

    2. Blue Pumpkin

      Re: Howard

      Usually because as a start up you've grossly overstated the number that you actually have and that give you money .... staff outnumbering customers is generally not a good place.

    3. imanidiot Silver badge

      Re: Howard

      These customers he's talking about are not the companies clients but the shareholders and investors.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    My future daughter-in-law moved from AZ to CA in June to take a job with Norse. Then the company unexpectedly announced a mass layoff the day that employees returned for a 2-week unpaid holiday vacation. No severance package, no HR department to assist employees find new jobs, no help with CA unemployment agency. To say the least, dirty and unethical. Hope Norse goes bankrupt.

    1. Anonymous Vulture
      WTF? in the VC lane

      That is how life goes in a small VC backed company. Nothing new to see here. As an employee you are trading in job stability and traditional Personnel resources in exchange for potential stock options and the opportunity to advance your career much faster than you would in a well established publically traded company such as Oracle or HP.

      As far as your complaint about an "unexpectedly announced...mass layoff", when are mass layoffs ever expected by or communicated to the rank and file in any industry?

      Your future daughter-in-law swung for the fences and struck out. It happens more often than not, but I hope she continues to push ahead in the field.

      1. Dabooka

        Re: in the VC lane

        To be fair, I think 'unexpectedly announced' is different to 'warned by the company'.

        When I got the chop along with quite a few others, the smarter ones amongst us had expected something for a good two years, with no formal acknowledgement, albeit it was harder to be sure who or where would be hit. No one affected could claim to be taken by surprise unless they were either naïve or delusion.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: in the VC lane

        "when are mass layoffs ever expected by or communicated to the rank and file in any industry?"

        When they are required to be by law, e.g. as in the EU, which has rules about consultation periods with employees if the employer is big enough and the number of job losses exceeds a certain number.

        That too presumably falls once TTIP is passed though.

  4. Commswonk

    Too many chiefs, not enough indians?

    ...the senior vice presidents of sales, products, and marketing left the firm towards the end of last year as part of a management cull.

    Quite why US companies need serried ranks of senior VPs has always escaped me; the idea seems an excellent way of draining corporate resources, i.e. the income generated by the lesser beings elsewhere in the company.

    I'm not saying that there is no need for people to be "in charge" but "senior vice presidents" are almost certain to want more than simple Heads of Departments, and by "more" I don't just mean salary, but also all the other accoutrements that they feel their status warrants.


  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Norse, like every other business in the world, had to let some employees go in order to better serve customers with quality products

    Not every business does this. It's a stupid thing to say.

    1. Lynrd

      not necessarily

      While you should never, ever use an absolute when making a statement, I can think of many businesses would better serve their customers if they let some of their employees go.

      But seriously, the VC world is all about risk and reward. If you work at a tech startup, you risk this sort of thing happening to you. You take the risk because you believe that the company or technology will have some sort of successful exit. Most won't.

      Slaves have job security.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: not necessarily

        It is rare for a VC funded startup company to make the sort of 10-0% redundancy to make this quarters figures look good. You are either in a desperate hiring frenzy or you go bust.

  6. MD Rackham

    Doing the employees a favor?

    Sure, lay people off after the holidays to give them plenty of opportunity to rack up the credit card charges.

    Then yank the rug out from under them.

  7. AustinTX

    Sounds familiar

    Laid off half our staff "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    Closed most of our offices "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    Using cheaper ingredients "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    Lowered quality standards "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    Slashing our product line "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    Jacking our prices up "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    CEO fired "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    Getting sued by industry peers "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    Suing our customers who complain "in order to better serve customers with quality products"

    WISE CHOICE OF WORDS. Give that PR hack a raise!

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Ah VCs

    Worked for many as a contractor .... doesn't feel so personal when you then get laid off after completing the contracted 3 months or whatever.

    I really do wonder why people endlessly bemoan being laid off. Its the way things are these days, I'm not saying it is right or good... just its happened enough times that people who fall foul of redundancy ie. without a plan in place ... probably aren't the level of smarts you want in a company. Hankering for the old days of 1 job for life with a good pension doesn't make it happen. Adapt or die.

    1. drtune

      Re: Ah VCs

      I'm with you there; I've contracted for lots of tech companies for well over a decade now and I have simultaneously "no job security" (nobody owes me a living) and "plenty of job security" (I'm constantly learning new stuff, nothing gets boring, and have never yet had a significant stretch without work). My typical gigs are say 3months to a year, and there's often repeat business. I like it a lot..

      ...oh and [almost] no pointless meetings, no annoying management, and as much vacation as I care to take (and frequently I'll do some billable hours while on vacation, which keeps customers happy and me paid)

  9. wikkity

    still advertising for 16 "open gigs,

    Or sacked the only people who knew how to access their web site?

  10. CrosscutSaw

    talent upgrade

    Is it possible that since they are growing and got more money, they will hire more experienced or talented staff?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: talent upgrade

      As the layoffs were done to meet investor requirements, there's already talk of re-filling some of those positions after ~6 months, and possibly sooner with contractors for positions that can't stay vacant that long (for example, the guy who makes sure the map is working).

      1. OrientalHero

        Re: talent upgrade

        so the "redundancies" aren't. Isn't there any recourse to litigation for the employees if that's the reason given? I'm sure you can do that in the UK if they hire someone for the same role/purpose having made the original employee "redundant".

        1. CrosscutSaw

          Re: talent upgrade


          Yeah that seems odd, let's lay off staff that we don't need but we need!


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