So Ev has just announced major layoffs at Medium:

I’ll start with the hard part: As of today, we are reducing our team by about one third — eliminating 50 jobs, mostly in sales, support, and other business functions. We are also changing our business model to more directly drive the mission we set out on originally. Renewing Medium

As someone who, on a vastly smaller scale, has been through this type of thing, I have nothing but sympathy for Ev. Even when you are as monstrously successful as Ev (Blogger, Odeo, Twitter), layoffs always hurt. You never hire people thinking that you are going to have to fire them. You always hope that the people you hire will hire more people and so on.

The Hacker News discussion on it has the normal nay sayers and people saying “But it is just a blogging platform”. And, yes, Medium is a blogging platform but it is operating on a scale which is very, very hard to achieve. The really interesting there is from the post by MG Siegler:

The numbers speak for themselves. 2 billion words written on Medium in the last year. 7.5 million posts during that time. 60 million monthly readers now. Long Medium

Wow. I had no idea that Medium was on that type of growth curve. That is flat out astonishing. When you consider the scaling issues at that type of size with the rich user interface that Medium offers and the integrated analytics, aggregation and notification, yes, I can see why they raised the amount of funding that they have.

Now, that said, it does seem that they overstaffed at the business level. And it seems that those are the positions being scrapped. Interestingly at least some of the staff seem to be dealing with this well:

Newly ex-Median here. This was not a huge surprise. On the surface, this is a change in product strategy. The underlying story is the company positioning itself so it can survive an adverse environment if it needs to. It’s hard to fault managers for dealing with that potential (and its hard to deny that the next 2-4 years could be really bad). Hopefully not, but it would be malpractice not to prepare. So better to focus resources now than be walking dead in a year or so, jettison unnecessary products/projects, and hope for the best. It’s a great product, and with time and luck, they’ll sort out a good business model, but like the rest of the publishing world, they’re still sorting things out. Despite being one of those made redundant, I enjoyed being there, and wish them the best. On that note, you should ask yourself if you are prepared for winter, because winter is coming. Permalink