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GPS obsessed

25 February 2013

Pelago slashes headcount, discontent behind the doors of the Whrrl creator?

whrrlv20story 300x103 Pelago slashes headcount, discontent behind the doors of the Whrrl creator?Pelago, the maker of location-based mobile social network Whrrl, has become the latest startup to layoff staff in response to the economic downturn.

In a statement to TechFlash, Pelago chief executive officer Jeff Holden said the company made a “modest staff reduction” to “provide the multiple years of runway this economic situation will likely require.”  Holden refused to say how many staff were let go, but TechFlash reports rumors of 20 percent.  Exactly one year ago when Pelago raised $15 million in venture capital, the company employed 40 people and planned to double that number.  Before the layoffs it’s unknown exactly how many Pelago employed.

Recently Pelago announced Whrrl version 2 which has a decidedly different flavor from the first release.  The new version emphasizes real-time storytelling between friends, augmented by location, and in a previous article I said I was impressed with the concept.  But judging by the conversation the TechFlash article generated, it appears not everyone is particularly happy with it.  Mainly for the reason that it’s not well understood; a problem that lies directly with marketing and management.

I guess I shouldn’t be surprised then, that so many of the commenters are less than happy with the performance of chief executive Jeff Holden, formerly a vice president at Amazon.  Plenty of the commenters described Holden as “arrogant,” “not very social,” and prolific at “alienating employees.”  There is also mention of the extremely high attrition rate at the company.  According to one commenter, only 10 percent of Pelago employees last longer than a year.  What’s going on behind the doors of Seattle-based Pelago?  And why do so many people seem to have a problem with Jeff Holden?  Is it really that bad?

If you have any information regarding this story, I’d love to hear from you.  Just shoot me an email at justin at gpsobsessed dot com.


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