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Fab's CEO: "It's a Fucking Startup. Why Are You Here?"

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Fab.com's last remaining founder, Jason Goldberg, posted an open letter to his employees on the company blog early this morning. The headline is "It's a fucking startup. Why are you here?" which sets the tone of the letter: A little dramatic, very passionate and riddled with expletives.

All those descriptors are understandable considering that the company has withstood multiple rounds of layoffs that took their 750-employee-strong team down to 300, endured massive budget cuts, lost co-founder Bradford Shellhammer and killed its original flash sale model within the past 150 days. What's left is a formless soup of design-minded e-tail in desperate need of a direction, to paraphrase.

Right now, according to Goldberg, Fab is "solving for a repeatable viable business model," and that requires some tough love for its employees. To wit:

What is Fab right now? Right now it's a fucking startup.

It's really hard. It's intense. It's a struggle. It's ambiguous. It changes a lot. It's all consuming. It's a lot of sausage making. It's working weekends to hit numbers and dates. It's stretching people beyond their comfort zone. It's insisting on doing it better even when it's already pretty good. It's being brutally honest about gaps and weaknesses. It's one day you're headed in one direction and the next day another, because the first move wasn't the best move. It's being ok with things not working because that creates opportunities to learn how to fix it.

But, like many a decent rallying cry, Goldberg's answer is to spurn depression in favor of excitement:

In fact, as I freely tell people, I'm actually having more fun now than ever. Why? Because we're actually doing the hard work of building a company now. We're figuring shit out. We're owning up to every crack and digging in and fixing it. We're fighting for our lives.

If you're really into startups, this is the fun time. This is the time you earn it and learn it. Want to know what it takes to turn around a company and rebuild it? Fab is one of the only places in the world you can get that kind of experience. If you're a real startup person, this is the best time to be at Fab.

He goes on to demand that his employees don't just do good work, but become builders (because it's a "fucking startup"). And he required each one to email him an answer to the question, "Why are you here?" His reasoning for the homework:
Because it's wartime at Fab and every team member needs to be here for the right reasons. It's not enough to just want to be around long enough to see what happens. It's not enough to just want to do good work and hope for the best. It's not enough to just love design…

You need to believe in our ability to build a new Fab and raise your hand and volunteer and lead. You need to be relentlessly curious about fixing and building. You need to go to bed each night obsessed with the struggle and wake up each morning dying to dig in and make it better.

Are you feeling motivated yet? Goldberg has posted a few employee responses, one that begins with, "I have the stomach for this." Fun times ahead indeed.
· Fab.com Expects More Pink Slips This Week [Racked]
· Fab Co-Founder Stepped Down After Major Lay-Offs [Racked]