b5Media, one of my portfolio companies, has been hunkering down trying to make sure they can make it through the current mess and come out the other side as one of the survivors.
Last week, Co-Founder Jeremy Wright and his management folks came to me with a plan that, in his words "protected the core". Jeremy stepped up and took his pay down to just above minimum wage letting me know that he could find some things, like his book, etc on the side. He wanted to protect his equity. To him, b5 was an amazingly great property with amazing bloggers and solid team. He believes and I believe. We put additional capital in last year because we believe. He comes to work everyday and is on email with me at all hours of the night. Rock solid.
Next, the other managers basically presented a plan that said you don't need us in this present situation. One is going part time with another going on to a different job. They showed me a plan that for the most part doesn't impact the line workers nor the bloggers. It is a plan that basically said even if the world effectively grinds to halt (and it just might) for a fairly long/ugly period, the company lives. People get paid, we survive. When the world turns around, and it always does, we will be there, be strong and be ready to take advantage of having lived through the bad times.
It was an extraordinary meeting on so many fronts. The maturity, professionalism, and true believe in the value of the company was a a refreshing change from the normal nonsense of how people go overboard in order to keep upper management in place. The stars in the company continue to shine thanks to some amazing people.
You will, no doubt, see doom and gloom written about b5 from competitors or sites that do those things for a living. You'll see complaints or shots at this or that person. That's fine, it goes with the territory.
I can just tell you from being up close and personal that Jeremy and his team are exactly the type of people you want around the table when you have to make tough choices in really crappy times.
Jeremy's post on all of this is here.