Glowforge lays off 30 employees

I’m always sad to read about layoffs. Not only do the employees who are laid off face the trauma of losing their jobs, but the surviving employees also face uncertainty and change. Layoffs usually trigger more turnover, and sometimes more people quit than the number cut during the layoffs.

My heart goes out to both the departing employees and those who remain in an uncertain situation. I also feel sorry for the leaders who have had to make difficult personnel choices.


While layoffs are always disheartening I hope these are just a result of them finishing the Aura project and not an indication of something more sinister.

I’d like @dan take on it but I’d also understand if he chooses to remain quiet.


It’s nice they’re all getting a year’s health insurance as part of their severance, that’s pretty stand-up since health insurance is a huge worry for people when they get fired.

I did see it’s reported they’re also providing visa assistance. That suggests that some or many may be H1-B folks brought onshore.

But 30 out of 145 (reported in July) is an awful lot of people to ascribe to a single project that although delivered is still experiencing issues.


They have phone support now (again) so not email customer support.

I don’t think introducing an entirely new product signals the beginning of the end, and I applaud the decision to provide health insurance for a year. Layoffs have been announced recently for all sorts of businesses - from GM to Spotify to Etsy. Finding good employees is a real challenge, and having to layoff good people must be very painful.


Well, maybe it is a good thing they never responded to the CVs I sent them.

Best wishes to those who got laid off, it’s tough. I go through it every couple of years, usually.


For those in the corporate world, I seem to hear about layoffs most often around the holidays. Is there a financial reason for a company to undergo layoffs right before the new year versus after?

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Wonder if it is a trimming in prep for the Sale that is bound to happen some day. Keeping it leaner after the new project and the stabilizing of the of Glowforge pro.


Accounting & tax implications for calendar year taxed companies. Doing it in December vs January allows all the accounting to be constrained to that fiscal year (even if actual payments will be made in the new year). That can keep the “bad news” in a single year. If you wait until January, the prior year’s reportable bad performance gets carried forward into the next year.

Layoffs are always a failure of management. At best it’s bad planning because you didn’t manage staffing levels to need as whatever is changing in the market is resulting in more staff than needed. Worse it’s often deliberate decisions being made to jettison some resources because the company would rather hire new cheaper people than re-train the longer tenured experienced staff.

There’s also seasonality occurring because many contracts are annual so a company may be losing a contract or closing it down and they cut the resources associated with those contracts. Proper planning would reduce or eliminate the need to “layoff” the staff. Either by ramping up sales activity (& incentives) to replace expiring contracts or to spread contract termination dates across the year to mitigate the impact at any point in time.

Yet you’ll still see executives bemoaning the lack of employee engagement, loyalty and willingness to subjugate their personal lives to corporate demands.


Many companies work on a annual budging process that runs // to the calendar year. This process often identifies situations where change is needed to hit goals. This could signal any number of things. Thus the timing of the layoffs being near the year of the end is not uncommon.

Layoffs are one way to eliminate low performing employees with little risk of pushback related to the termination. It is hard to say they were picking on an individual when there was a corporate wide reduction in the workforce tied to a corporate goal. A company generally does not get rid of their best people during a layoff.

While it sucks for those laid off, a leaner GF staff is a positive for customers (like all of the gf owners) who need the company to stay afloat to keep those servers running. Should GF close up shop completely, we all have paperweights instead of lasers.

Note, this is not a defense of layoffs, just an explanation of how they work and why they happen at this time more often than other times.


I once worked at a very poorly managed dotcom. We had waves of massive layoffs towards the end.

One evening, we few stressed-out survivors were called into a meeting. The SVP of sales gave us a pep talk. “I don’t know why you’re so upset! You are all EASILY replaceable and should be happy you’re still here.” Wow, man. Some people skills!

I have also worked for some poorly run game studios. You usually find out that you are out of a job when you come to work one morning and your boss’s boss’s boss from the other side of the country is in the building for a surprise meeting.

Actually, every place I have worked has been kind of a circus. I can sure pick 'em, I tell you what.


Also insurance. If they wait until the new year they’re on the hook for another month of health insurance before COBRA kicks in.


and they have to deal with another tax year worth of taxes, social security, etc. even if they only paid them for a month, they’d have to file for that year. dealing with it before jan 1 just makes their administration easy.


As one who was laid off from a tech industry job, hired back, had to live through horrible “survival guilt,” then got laid off again, I can say it made a huge difference in my life, because I ultimately went back to school and completely changed careers, and the second one has been much more rewarding than the first.

Then again, I sure wouldn’t want to have to relive those years of loss and hardship. :frowning:


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