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Brier Dudley's blog

Brier Dudley offers a critical look at technology and business issues affecting the Northwest.

July 13, 2007 at 10:48 AM

Jobster’s Jason Goldberg re-emerging

After being lambasted online during a messy restructuring over the holidays, Jobster’s co-founder and chief executive has had an uncharacteristically low profile.

That’s changing now that the restructuring is starting to pay off. Profitability is in sight, and Jason Goldberg is talking to the press again.

Thomas James Hurst / Seattle Times

Jason Goldberg, co-founder and chief executive of Jobster, the Seattle-based jobs site.

Goldberg told me today that the company’s having a party today to celebrate profitability in its first line of business, the premium recruiting service for employers started two and a half years ago.

That’s helping fund new lines of business, including a public recruiting network. The company is also launching new services, including a free profile search service launched today, new Jobster applications for Facebook and a platform business that will enable companies to build their own recruiting social networks using Jobster components.

Overall profitability could happen if priorities were adjusted, but for now Jobster’s reinvesting revenue, Goldberg said: “We’re eyeing profitability very shortly.”

According to Goldberg, the second quarter was the best in Jobster’s history and the company expects sales to grow 60 percent this year, even as expenses are down 50 percent. The latter results from the restructuring, a decision to cut field and phone sales groups and rely instead on less expensive online sales.

In January the company cut 40 percent of its staff, trimming it to 66 people. Goldberg drew heat, especially from tech bloggers for not acknowledging the pending changes on a company blog, which was instead upbeat and often covering relatively trivial topics.

Employment dropped further after the first layoffs, but it’s now climbing again. The company employs 85 now, including three people who were laid off in the restructuring but returned after the dust settled.

The year before, in 2006, Jobster sales grew 400 percent, he said. The company has also slowed its burn rate.

Jobster stood out in part because of its remarkable funding. It raised $48 million from investors including Ignition Partners, Mayfield Fund, Trinity Ventures and the venture arm of London publisher Reed Elsevier. Goldberg said the company still has plenty in the bank.

“We’re confident in our business,” he said. “The numbers are really what speak for thesmelves. As a company we’ve rebounded form the restructuring.”

He also continues blogging. So far the cute pictures of his puppy haven’t drawn much flak, but things have changed a lot in the last eight months.

Idealistic notions about corporate blogs revealing everything happening inside a company have given way to more realistic expectations of what a chief executive will and won’t say online (without a pseudonym, at least). The Web 2.0 cheerleaders also seem less inclined to single out scapegoats now that skepticism of the whole phenomenon is in vogue.

Goldberg also seems humbled by the experience. It took a half-hour before I could get him to talk about himself and use “I” instead of “we” in a sentence.

“It’s understandable that when times have been not as clear for everybody that I have personally taken some of the lumps for it,” he said.

Comments | More in | Topics: Startups

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