I just did a check, and WigWag still has plenty of active employees, but they are not hiring. Which is a good thing! From what I can tell, turnover has slowed over the past several months and there seems to be some stability.
Some of those employees are very busy! The software team, in particular, seems to be doing lots of good work. But I have no clue about the hardware and production sides of things (they could be down to part-time for all I can tell). I have very few ways of learning more, such as about the situation in China (my Chinese connections have all returned home to the US).
As for management, well, you know my thoughts on WW management.
I'm having a much harder time finding out anything at all regarding WW's financial status. They're paying their basic bills in Austin: The lights are still on, the phones work, the website is up (including this forum!), and they haven't been locked out of their building.
I have no idea what their financial assets are, nor what their burn rate is. I have no clue at all how close they are to running out of money and disappearing in a puff of smoke.
As far as "dead" goes, please don't confuse it with "silent". Remember that WW knows very well that there's nothing they can say to make us in any way happy. Clearly, anything they do say will immediately get put under a microscope and ripped to shreds.
They'd rather avoid the abuse. Why not? At least, that's how I think they're looking at it, which I believe is actually the worst possible perspective for them to take.
WW and we both know that the only thing that really matters is product in our hands.
I've been on projects that went very, very bad.
At some point we had to stop beating ourselves up about it and find new paths forward. At some companies that meant becoming the rats leaving the sinking ship. At others, we'd just accept months and months of suffering. However, the best thing I ever did on one particularly bad project was co-sign a "We suck!" letter to corporate (not project) management.
They sent us the hardest-assed SVP in the corporate suite (6 levels above us in the corporate structure). We thought heads would roll, and we suspected we deserved it. Instead, he acted more like a therapist, applying "tough love" and kicking our asses into making measurable progress (which does wonders for attitudes and emotional states). He negotiated time extensions and on-site visits with our customer.
Yes, our customer showed up and we apologized to them. No, there were no ritual sacrifices or suicide ceremonies. We were glad to have the smoke and mirrors we were hiding behind cleared away. After that, there was much more travel in both directions, and a much closer relationship.
The SVP laid out for us not only how badly we were behind schedule, but also how enormously, massively, incredibly over-budget we were. He let us know corporate was willing to eat that loss, but they were not in any way willing to disappoint a customer. We got very customer-focused and wowed them.
The bad news? Just this: No pay raises until the customer signed off on final delivery, and maybe not even then. We were glad to still have our jobs, so that wasn't an issue for us.
I learned so much from that experience that it fundamentally changed how I cope with failure, be it my own or that of coworkers or associates.
So, were I advising WW, I'd suggest they write a "We suck!" letter and share it as a KS update.
They should talk frankly about their current status and the path that got them here. Let us know what mistakes were made, and what lessons were learned along the way. Make no promises AT ALL about the future, other than to work hard, and request whatever positive help (not forgiveness) the KS backer community is willing to share.
To me, WW's failure to leverage the experience of their 1700 KS backers may be their greatest failure of all. Way too many shameful secrets, way too little communication.
WW dug themselves into this hole. It's up to them to put on their big-boy pants and climb out of it.
Starting with a clear-eyed retrospective of the past three years.