marchFirst circles the bowl...
November 21, 2000 10:36 AM   Subscribe

marchFirst circles the bowl... Too bad. I thought it would be cool to work for them but now analyst are predicting the demise of the company. I wonder if they will have a great deals on Macs when they go bankrupt?
posted by Brilliantcrank (7 comments total)

 
In that article, one analyst predicts their demise; several others that you neglect to mention talk about a variety of outcomes, most of them including a functioning marchfirst, perhaps minus the sub-pro employees who were only in it for the stock options to begin with (WTF, there's always more where those came from)... Whitman-Hart was and is a decent company in an increasingly slimy business. I wouldn't invest my own money in them, but I wouldn't count them out, either.
posted by m.polo at 10:50 AM on November 21, 2000


Too big, too fast = too slow, too stupid.

Too bad.

posted by Mick at 11:50 AM on November 21, 2000


This is not all that surprising - a number of firms here in Chicago have been letting people go in the face of hard times.

Is this a localized thing, or are design firms in a slump across the country?

As for MarchFirst being a cool place to work, I've heard quite the opposite. A lot more formal than other places, they require folks to *gasp* tuck in their shirts. Apparantly it's all dockers and button downs over there.

This is, of course, merely hearsay - I could well be misinformed.
posted by aladfar at 1:13 PM on November 21, 2000


It's not localized -- the whole tech sector is in a slump. (Where've you been? :))

Yes, MF, er, MarchFirst, formerly Whittman-Hart, is only recently slightly biz casual. Everywhere I've worked the W-H guys wore shirts and ties. Don't know how it might be with onetime USWeb/CKS people, though.

Two years ago, I came in from the cold of independent work to seek a job I labeled "at a Whittman-Hart type of place". I found Technium and it's worked out well for me. Salaried, stability, bennies, frequent changes of scenery, and no hustling or depleting savings.

I think W-H is in no imminent danger. It's just not going to be a happy year or so for them.
posted by dhartung at 2:32 PM on November 21, 2000


From what I've heard, the Whitman-Hart ethos of high quality technology work, together with the Mitchell Madison Group ethos of high quality strategy work, just drowned when thrown into the pot of USWeb / CKS -- a larger, younger, and imperfectly managed organization.

The e-business consulting pure-plays like Scient, Viant, iXL, Proxicom, Sapient, et al, at least have the virtue of having built themselves (relatively) slowly and organically over the past few years, and have a reasonably stable management and some significant corporate culture and coherence.

They will be able to live through the current slump. They'll probably never recover the highs in their stock (and therefore never recover the loyalty of people who joined out of the old-line consulting partnerships for stock options) -- but that might really be for the best. It is a far from proven that professional services are better rendered by a public company than by a private partnership. In particular, being smaller and more flexible suits the demands of finding niches not capably served by the more established technology, strategy and operations consulting companies (everything from McKinsey to IBM Services).

The "interactive" shops which are really more creative than they are either technology or strategy experts-- like Razorfish -- have a much less certain prognosis, I think. I suspect that the old-line advertising / PR companies will end up with almost all of that business, especially now that layoffs are making web production, design and development talent so easy to come by (and making big, established names attractive to folks a year ago who only wanted to be at startups).

There will always plenty big opportunities for 10-100 person creative / development / marketing shops -- but the niche for 101-5000 person shops may be small or non existent. (Part of that, of course, is that the Omnicoms and True North's of the world are good at finding promising shops and buying them out at can't-say-no prices...)


posted by MattD at 3:00 PM on November 21, 2000


aladfar: as far as company culture is concerned, it really depends on how the company was before the merger. The office where I work, for example used to be CKS (before merging with USWeb and then Whitman-Hart) and the atmosphere is disturbingly laidback: casual clothes, pets at work, Cocaine and Heroin Mondays.
posted by littleyellowdifferent at 3:31 PM on November 21, 2000


Jeez, and here I make do with a muffin and a mocha latte.
posted by dhartung at 9:49 PM on November 21, 2000


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