Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Overstock Meltdown Continues

A reader (citing a discovery by the great Sam Antar) brings to my attention this fascinating item yesterday from the blog of a person describing herself as a recently fired Overstock.com employee.

The post says that along with this employee, who is unnamed, the vice president of of Internal Marketing, Director of Site Design, was also canned on Friday. Interesting to see mid-level employees shown to the door while its inept CEO, Patrick Byrne, remains untouched by a lapdog board of directors.

I guess that's the difference between being born with a silver spoon in your mouth and having to work for a living.

I'm sure these and other fired employees are delighted that they have lost their jobs at the same time that Byrne keeps on the payroll a full-time stalker and operator of a smear website.

That sort of thing does wonders for employee morale, as you can see from the comments below, which were directed at Byrne:

[A former Overstock employee] was knowledgeable, experienced, fair, and kind; which are a collection of traits very foreign to the upper echelons of the Overstock bureaucracy. You, on the other hand, are undeserving of the fulfillment of my promise because you have displayed yourself to be anything but a gentleman. Brash, disingenuous cad more aptly comes to my mind and one who’s been so deluded and brainwashed by the Iagos he surrounds himself with that he has quickly driven his own company to the ground while blaming it on naked-shorting.

As you seem to be such a raconteur, I will suggest a great story for you. It’s that of King Lear. Read it and perhaps you will learn something. As disconnected from this company as you are, the rest of us are in quite the opposite situation (perhaps something akin to rubbernecking a trainwreck).
This is, of course, a (purportedly) disgruntled former employee, and her comments (the gender becomes obvious from an intriguing previous post) have to be evaluated with that in mind.

Still, disgruntled former employees are excellent sources of information for journalists and other investigators, and their views frequently reflect employee sentiment. (The first step, of course, is to prove that this really is a disgruntled former employee, and not a red herring planted by the company.)

One can only guess at the state of morale at this company. I am sure some terrific, honest people work at Overstock. One can only speculate how it feels to work for a CEO like this one.

As I said, I am not convinced this post is genuine. But whether it is the real McCoy or an Overstock plant, this much is certain: This company, and this CEO, are melting down faster than a candle in a fireplace.

UPDATE: The employee blog was swiftly turned "private" by its authors, and is no longer available for public perusal. That argues in favor of the "real McCoy" hypothesis.

© 2007 Gary Weiss. All rights reserved.

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Wall Street Versus America was published by Penguin USA on April 6.
Click here for its Amazon.com listing and here for more information on the book, from my web site.

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