In this latest financial downturn, many market analysts have said that technology companies look to be okay. BitTorrent begs to differ, searching as it is for both a business model and a new mission. What are the implications?
Today BitTorrent informed about half its employees, or 18 people, that they were being let go, according to a person familiar with events inside the company. That is in addition to a 20 percent staff reduction in August. In addition, a co-founder, Ashwin Navin, said yesterday that he was leaving the company, although he informed the board of directors of his exit in March.
A person with knowledge of BitTorrent’s plans also said the company would soon close its BitTorrent Entertainment Network, once conceived — and covered in the press — as a rival to iTunes. The company, with its remaining 20 employees, will focus on BitTorrent DNA, a content delivery network that helps media and video game companies distribute their products cheaply over the Internet.
It seems problematic for the company to actually turn a profit. Although the company has struggled to find its market niche, BitTorrent is actually used heavily. The Pirate Bay, a popular and semi-legal downloading site, now includes nearly 25 million peers.
Ashwin Navin, BitTorrent's former CEO, will be starting a start up incubator with several other Silicon Valley types from YouTube on down. Even as most pundits focus on the capital side of capitalism, the growth side of capitalism with its churning labor markets and innovative entrepreneurs continues unhindered.
Last month, my good friend (and GMU professor) Garett Jones surveyed the bailout mania rampant in Washington, DC and muttered the funniest line of the season: "Creative destruction, it was fun while it lasted." I tend to agree in spirit, but don't think mere national governments can stop human ingenuity. Oh, but they'll try ...