This was not an easy decision to make, nor is this an easy conversation to have. At the end, if you squint, I hope you’ll see the faint glimmer of a silver lining. But we have work to do before we get to that point.
On October 16th, 2023, Stack Exchange laid off roughly 28% of its workforce. This follows a previous lay-off of 10% in May.
Among those impacted this time were two highly valued members of the Community team.
While we are respecting the privacy of those impacted, I want to take a moment to say that the folks we laid off were not let go on the basis of poor performance. On the contrary, they are some of the best folks I have ever had the chance to work with. These are attractive hires, solid candidates, and affable, talented people. We’re grateful to have had the chance to work with them. They have our respect, and they deserve yours as well. I hope that we can count on you to do everything possible to ease their transition, beginning by not speculating as to who was cut and ‘why’. They deserve some privacy as they get focused on their next moves.
It is impossible to ignore the fact this action will have impacts on the community. Now that you have a better sense for what took place, it’s time to talk about the effects that this change will have on the community itself, and your participation here.
Our commitment to the community remains unchanged.
I want to start by dispelling any concerns that our plan involves contractions in the community, closing any site, or ramping down participation. The community isn’t going anywhere.
Community is among the most reliable cornerstones of the place – the essence of what makes this company what it is. Our intent to support the community using whatever resources we have available is unwavering.
Our commitment to ensuring the community is maintained, however, does not mean the community will be unaffected by today’s changes. It will be affected, and you deserve to know exactly how.
Our responses to you will be temporarily disrupted.
Everyone in the company will be involved in managing this transition. Because every team in the company was impacted by these cuts, every single team’s workflow is going to change. You can reasonably expect some delays as we adjust.
Projects undergoing active work may change scope or be canceled.
Stack Exchange has many projects in the oven at any given time, ranging from days to months in length. The scope of many of these short-term projects will change.
Longer-term projects that are more piecemeal in nature, such as time spent servicing requests for new tools, may also be impacted and responsiveness may slow down. My commitments during the recent moderator action negotiations remain intact, and we will continue to honor them.
At the same time, there may be a couple of very exciting product features to announce - including the potential return of one or two that were previously sunset that you might feel strongly about. We’re seeing some positive signs around uptake for our new OverflowAI features, and today’s actions will allow us to be more strategic and to narrow our focus as we move forward. Expect to see a continued focus on OverflowAI as we build it toward commercial viability.
Short-term priorities may shift towards reliability and maintenance.
It’s important to us that the sites continue to function as designed. Like I said, the community isn’t going anywhere. That means we’ll still prioritize bug-fixes as usual, and maintain our uptime. Any reduction in our work throughput will come from other areas of product development.
If you’ve got questions, put ‘em in answers. One question per answer, please.
I’m expecting this post to spark many questions, and we’ll do our best to answer as many as we can. If we answer that something is confidential, please don’t take that as an opportunity to speculate. Again, out of respect for anyone impacted, we are not able to answer any questions about individual employees. We may remove content that violates the privacy of people impacted here.
To make this easier to manage, please ask only one question per answer. In terms of answering questions here, the following are designated as official company spokespersons. Any other person answering or discussing below is not working with or answerable to them and those answers should probably be regarded as unofficial and not authoritative. Our designated spokespeople are:
- Prashanth Chandrasekar (CEO)
- Lily Toy (Chief Legal Officer)
- Jody Bailey (CTO)
- Philippe Beaudette (VP, Community)
Others may be designated if needed but they will be introduced and added to this list by one of these people, if so.
Today is a pretty sucky day for all of us, but particularly for those who are leaving us. I wouldn’t presume to imagine how they’re feeling, but I know it can’t feel good. We’re all going to miss our colleagues, and we’re asking for your understanding as we sort out how we move forward. But one of the most important things that we do now is to honor our impacted teammates and the gifts they brought with them, and we do that by letting them know that their work and contributions will live on, and they will forever be a part of the story of this place. We were honored to work with them. We owe them a debt of gratitude, and we wish them the very best.