Some of the Pro Tools community may think we’ve been quiet regarding the recent delisting of Avid from NASDAQ in the last couple of days.
The first reason is, that like 99.9% of the people commenting on this story on various forums and social media, we haven’t got a clue what it really means in terms of the legal, corporate and financial issues. We could have run a story an hour after the story broke, it would have put several thousand extra visits on our site numbers, but it wouldn’t have not really added anything meaningful to the story.
Secondly, our first job as a blog is to help inspire creativity, we don’t want to distract the incredibly creative people who use Pro Tools from getting on with being creative. As creatives there is little we can do about this situation, for the time being the best we can do is keep doing what we do best - be creative.
However, whilst we don’t have much of a clue about the world of Wall Street, we do know there are some equally real losses that are not found on the balance sheet.
The first loss is the hemorrhaging of talent from Avid over the last few years - some got the 30 minutes to pack your desk into a box treatment and others made the move to greener pastures. However those talented and committed people left Avid, the company is a shadow of its former self. The staff losses are across the board, from sales, marketing, developers, product managers, support, in fact the list is endless - many of them are friends, who thankfully have found new work and nearly all of them are thriving and happy.
Whenever a company looses talent the cost of dealing with the loss, in terms of additional pressure and work for those that remain is great. Avid are a technology company and the last thing they need is a brain drain. One of the greatest miracles in the last few years is that Avid have been able to deliver outstanding products like Pro Tools 11 and the Avid S6 control surface, but whichever way anyone wants to spin it, in terms of staff, Avid is a shadow of its former self.
The second loss is the huge distractions the whole stock price and delisting stories add to an already pressurised company and those left on staff. If you think that being a customer brings uncertainty then just imagine being an employee. The grass roots employees have to continue doing their jobs with this stuff hanging over them, I know many of them and they are being absolute professionals and heroes - of course they get briefings from their managers about these issues, but even those with the toughest skins or the eternal optimists will no doubt be shaken by this ongoing uncertainty, even if they tell you otherwise. It will soon be Messe 2014 and during Messe 2013 meeting Avid staff after the change of leadership was like meeting people who had just glimpsed the Ark of the Covenant, their resolve was unshakeable and their hope renewed.
The role of leadership is two-fold, to cast vision and inspire confidence, both to your team and to the world, or to put it another way to inspire faith.
An equally real loss for Avid are those who have their faith shaken each time another part of this story unfolds, no amount of inspiring talks or press statements can fix this.
In the coming weeks Avid will be revealing their Avid Everywhere vision, we’ve been told it is something very special, it may be wise to wait to wait until then to make a judgement on the future of Avid.
There’s a proverb that says ‘hope deferred makes the heart sick’. In the final analysis, just as with Wall Street, the only thing that restores faith is results.
Russ Hughes and Mike Thornton