A note from Jack
September 13, 2022
A note from Jack about the recent layoff and what went into the decision.
Today I announced a layoff at Patreon of 80 people, or about 17% of our teammates. Here is the note that I sent to the Patreon team about it earlier this morning:
Hi team — I have some difficult news. Today, we will lay off 80 Patreon teammates from our Go-to-Market, Operations, Finance, and People teams, with roughly 17% of our team leaving the company. Before I get into the reasons for this decision, I want to recognize that today will be difficult for much of our team and even harder for those leaving Patreon. Over the last 9 months, we’ve seen the tech industry – and the whole economy – change considerably. Many of you have asked me about layoffs at All Hands meetings as we’ve set out to tighten our focus, and I’ve said that layoffs would be a last resort. Today we are taking that step, and I am deeply sorry to the kind, talented, creator-first people who will be leaving Patreon.
How I arrived at this decision
Over the past decade, the Creator Economy has become one of the world’s most important movements. Tens of millions of people are now creators, and they reach billions of people with their work. A key problem, though, is that the underlying economic systems to help creators build their businesses were underdeveloped. Patreon started over 9 years ago to address this problem by designing a better way for creators to build stronger relationships with their communities and better businesses around their work.
All of this remains true today. In fact, I’m more confident than ever that the world needs a better economic system for creative people, and Patreon will keep building that system for creators over the decades ahead. However, the pandemic introduced volatility to the broader trend, starting with a rapid acceleration during COVID lockdowns. In response, we built an operating plan to support this outsized growth, but as the world began recovering from the pandemic and enduring a broader economic slowdown, that plan is no longer the right path forward for Patreon. I take full responsibility for choosing that original path forward, and for the changes today, which will be very difficult for our team.
In response to the changing environment, Patreon needs to change the way we operate. Here’s what that means for us:
- First, we’re going to continue increasing our investments in our product, engineering, and design teams, so that we can deliver the updates to our product that our creators and patrons need.
- We’ll also maintain our commitment to outstanding service and support for creators.
- We will restructure our marketing efforts under a smaller, consolidated team in the near-term, focused on updating our brand, developing creator resources, and launching new products.
- We will restructure our Creator Partnerships efforts to take a more scaled approach with a smaller, consolidated team in the US.
- We will reduce the size of our operations, recruiting, and other internal support functions to align with the new scale and priorities of the rest of the company.
As part of these changes, we are closing our Dublin and Berlin offices, and continuing operations in Porto. In the case of Dublin, we are consolidating our engineering teams in the US to improve collaboration and efficiency, as nearly all of our engineering teammates are located in our US offices. We are offering our nine Dublin engineering teammates relocation packages to join these US-based teams.
In the case of Berlin, the office was solely focused on Sales and Marketing, and that’s one area where we’ve reduced our budgets in order to shift resources toward our product. Moving forward, we will adopt a more scaled approach to helping creators onboard, in which US-based teams will support multiple regions. We will be consolidating our marketing efforts to our US teams, focused on updating our brand, developing creator resources, and launching new products.
Our Support and Trust & Safety teams in Porto will continue to invest in one-on-one support for our creators and patrons in Europe, and moving forward, we will continue to translate our products, provide support in local languages, and cultivate a presence in Europe, but with a smaller geographic footprint.
Logistics for today
I want to ensure that everyone knows their standing with the company as quickly as possible, and that every departing teammate has a personal conversation with a senior leader from their team.
So within the next 10 minutes, teammates who will be leaving the company will receive a calendar invitation to a video call with a leader in your function and a teammate from the People team. In that meeting, you’ll review the details of your separation and have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have.
Teammates on our Dublin Engineering team will receive a calendar invitation with “Relocation Offer” in the title to discuss their next steps with a member of the engineering leadership team.
If you don’t receive such a calendar invitation within 10 minutes of my posting this message, your role is not impacted by today’s change.
For our remaining employees, our function leaders will host team-level meetings later today, and I will then host multiple Q&A sessions for teammates across US and European time zones.
This is a challenging economic environment to be looking for a new job, so it was especially important to me that we build a supportive package for teammates leaving the company, including extended health coverage, additional equity vesting, at least three months of pay, and job placement support.
In the US, teammates leaving Patreon will be given three months severance plus an additional two weeks for each half year of tenure beyond the first year. You’ll also receive COBRA health care coverage through the end of the year.
For our teammates in Europe, the intention of the packages is to provide you with three months of pay and an additional two weeks per half-year of service beyond the first year, plus three months of health care coverage. Because of differing laws by region, packages in different countries will vary in terms of how we pay for and cover these expenses.
All teammates leaving Patreon, regardless of your location, will be eligible for three months of mental health benefits through Spring Health, and teammates enrolled in our financial counseling services through Origin will have an additional three months of continued coverage. We have also contracted with outplacement services to provide teammates with curated job matching, resume writing, and cover letter writing services, for as long as it takes you to find your next job.
We’re waiving the one-year equity vesting cliff for all departing employees so that everyone has an opportunity to be a shareholder, regardless of your tenure. Those with stock options will vest through October 15, 2022, and those with RSUs will vest through the next vesting date of November 20, 2022, so that you still benefit from the work you’ve done this quarter. All departing teammates will qualify for an extended option exercise period of 5 years, and we have extended it to 7 years in regions where we are legally able.
Last week, we let go of 5 teammates from our security organization, which stemmed from a different set of reasons from the ones guiding today’s decisions. The change last week was part of a longer-term strategy to continue distributing security responsibilities across our entire engineering team, bring new areas of expertise into Patreon internally, and continue partnering with external experts. Unfortunately, the change generated concern that we were reducing our security investment, but I wanted to make it clear, especially in light of today's changes, that we are in fact increasing our investment in security.
To the incredible teammates who will no longer work at Patreon: thank you for everything you have given to our mission, to our creators, and to Patreon. Because of your work, hundreds of thousands of creative people are building stronger businesses and communities. I am so sorry for the difficulty this causes you, and I am grateful for your kindness, creator-first attitudes, and impact you have had on our mission.
To our teammates who will remain at Patreon: the second Renaissance has already begun, and we have a massive opportunity ahead of us to change the course of history for creative people, to give them leverage and control, to give them direct relationships with their communities, and to help them build beyond their dreams. Our focus is sharpened, but our mission is unchanged: we will help build a world in which creative people are cherished, respected, and powerful, with tools and infrastructure to help them realize the potential of their imagination.