clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Code/red: Cisco Sheds Thousands in Annual Summer Workforce Molt

Plus, douchebag commenter curation, neckbeards and that ice-bucket thing.


  • GenCon, the biggest table-top gaming convention around, kicks off in Indiana.
  • Charitybuzz’s auction for a half-hour coffee session with Google Chairman Eric Schmidt concludes.

Cisco: Can I Get a Quick Head Count? No, the Ones Rolling Around on the Floor.

For Cisco, layoffs are a summer tradition — like barbecues, picnics and heatstroke. Last August, the company sacked 4,000 employees — about five percent of its workforce at the time. In July of 2012 it shed 1,300. And in July of 2011, it whacked 4,400 and pushed another 2,100 into early retirement. So news that the company will soon embark on its fourth consecutive “reallocation of resources,” releasing 6,000 employees into the wild, was about as surprising as the tired “transforming Cisco requires making tough, tough decisions” rhetoric with which it was explained. More surprising is Cisco’s failure to return to growth despite these annual bloodlettings. The company has now dumped roughly 12,000 people in pursuit of that goal with nothing to show for it, except evermore desperate ideas for attaining it. The latest: Flying 20,000 Cisco employees to Vegas for three days of sales seminars. Did I mention it spent $1.5 billion on stock repurchases during the quarter, bringing its 2014 total to $9.5 billion?

Science Fiction Vewy Scawy, Says VC Firm

Michael Solana, director of community at the Founders Fund: “While innovation has improved our lives in almost every way imaginable, people are more frightened of the future than they have ever been. And after ‘Battlestar Galactica,’ can you really blame them?”

Hmm, Too Funny for an NSA Job

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has no plans to ban electricity, nor is he resigning his position to pursue a career in freelance photography. Russian hacking collective Shaltay-Boltay just wishes he would.

Let’s Make It a Fire Challenge and See Who Really Steps Up

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has done it. So have Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo, Zillow’s Spencer Rascoff and Apple marketing boss Phil Schiller (who then called out his boss, Tim Cook). Who’ll be next to take the Ice Bucket Challenge to end ALS? Hoping for News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch.

iPhone Manufacturing Process, Now With Fewer Known Carcinogens

Benzene is a known carcinogen and n-hexane causes nerve damage. Nice to see Apple has finally gotten around to banning them from its final assembly processes. Too bad it’s still permitting their use in early production.

There’s Your Business Model, Medium: Douchebag Commenter Curation

Nicholas Jackson, Pacific Standard: “[Comments] just don’t belong at the end of or alongside posts, as if they’re always some extension of or relevant to the original. They belong on personal blogs, or on Twitter or Tumblr or Reddit, where individuals build a full, searchable body of work and can be judged accordingly. Hell, put them all on Medium, and let Evan Williams try to sell the douchebags to BMW.”

We’ve Supported This Dinner Every Year … We Just Got Lucky This Time

That Comcast* and Time Warner Cable are spending more than $130,000 to sponsor a dinner honoring one of the FCC commissioners currently reviewing their controversial merger is coincidence, pure and simple. This according to Comcast spokeswoman Sena Fitzmaurice, who says anyone raising an eyebrow over its financial participation in a fete for FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn should be ashamed for seeing controversy in what is clearly altruism. “We absolutely dispute the notion that our contributions have anything to do with currying favor with Commissioner Clyburn or any honoree,” she said in a statement. “Such claims are insulting and not supported by any evidence. They are purely fiction. We have supported the organization year in and year out regardless of who the dinner honorees have been.”

* Comcast owns NBCUniversal, which is an investor in Re/code’s parent company, Revere Digital.

OOO: Thank You for Your Email, Which I Have Immediately Deleted

Chris Bryant, the Financial Times: “Daimler employees can head to the beach this summer without worrying about checking emails, sparing their partners and children the frustration of work-related matters intruding on the family vacation. The Stuttgart-based car and truck maker said about 100,000 German employees can now choose to have all their incoming emails automatically deleted when they are on holiday so they do not return to a bulging in-box.”

Just Ask Mark Karpelès …

“Highly influential thinker” George Gilder: “Bitcoin is a breakthrough in information theory that allows you — without reference to outside third parties — to conduct provable, timestamped transactions that can’t be changed, can’t be faked and can’t be duplicated. Bitcoin is the currency the Internet deserves and needs.”

And How Many Hours in the Law Library Did It Take to Come Up With That One?

William & Mary law professor Adam Gershowitz: “A driver could simply say that he was only wearing Google Glass (perhaps because it contains his prescription lenses) and that he was not ‘using’ the device at all. Indeed, a police officer who was observing traffic would have no way to know whether a passing driver was ‘using’ as opposed to simply ‘wearing’ Google Glass.”

Neckbeard, Noun, Informal, Pronunciation: /ˈnɛkbɪəd/

The Oxford English Dictionary: 1. A growth of hair on a man’s neck, especially when regarded as indicative of poor grooming: “I can picture myself wearing these clothes a week from now, bits of food caught in my overgrown neckbeard.”
1.1 A man who is socially inept and physically unappealing, especially one who has an obsessive interest in computing: “I know people expect me to be some sort of balding, overweight neckbeard.”

Off Topic

Craigslist Missed Connections: You Farted During “Boyhood.”

Thanks for reading. Send tips, comments and chocolate Legos to, @johnpaczkowski. Subscribe to the Code/red newsletter here.

This article originally appeared on

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.