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Kickstarter Is Losing Nearly Half It’s Staff

The pandemic is affecting us all, and it’s Kickstarter’s turn to suffer the ravages of the global economic slowdown with a 35% drop in projects in the platform. As a result, up to 45% of the company’s workforce is facing layoffs.

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The Verge has a copy of a memo sent out by Kickstarter.
]I’d like to update you on the conversations we’ve all been having about how to keep Kickstarter well-positioned as we navigate what’s quickly become the worst economic downturn in a lifetime. As I shared a couple weeks ago, and again during last week’s All Hands, we’ve been looking at a number of possible scenarios. After great consideration, ongoing monitoring and modeling of our outlook, and consultation with our board of directors, here’s where we stand.

As you know, although projects on the site continue to garner plenty of support from backers, we’ve seen many fewer projects launch on the platform over the last several weeks. The live project count is about 35% below what it was at this time last year with no clear sign of rebound. As a result, our pledge volume and revenue are tracking sharply down as well. Setting the business up for the future will require significant cost-cutting. Kickstarter is a small business of 140 people with modest operating margins, and all of the approximately $1.27 million in after-tax profit we earned last year has already been reinvested back into the business during the first four months of this year. With that in mind, we’ve undertaken a number of measures, including reducing compensation for a number of senior leaders at the company, including myself and the board of directors; instituting a hiring cap and policy to not automatically fill positions when people leave in order to limit headcount costs; and working to trim non-headcount budgets wherever we can.​
The truth is, these measures aren’t enough for us to continue to serve creators during this crisis and beyond. We must look more broadly at ways to restructure the business, including potential layoffs across teams and at all levels of staff. Earlier today I reached out to OPEIU to share more about where we are, and to uphold our responsibility to negotiate next steps that involve members of the union. We expect to continue our discussions with the union over the next few days. In the meantime, please feel free to use our normal process and submit any questions you have for me here. The OPEIU reps are of course available to answer any questions members of the bargaining unit may have as well.​
The uncertainty of this moment is stressful and I recognize you’re each shouldering some part of that. We’re going to navigate this thoughtfully and transparently to allay that as best we can. Kickstarter has an essential role to play for independent creators right now as a source of financial support. And the art, creativity, and innovation that they bring to life is essential to a healthy society — particularly during times like these. Many creators are also experiencing uncertainty and stress, so we’re going to make sure Kickstarter is here for them not just the next few months, but also the years ahead.​
Thank you,​
Aziz​


 
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Russ Morrissey

Comments





Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
I wish there was some data for creators — are pledges down? Percentage of funding projects? Is it a bad idea to launch a Kickstarter right now?
 

Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
Supporter
@Morrus - yeah, that was my thought too. KS is such a wonderful tool for releasing RPGs, I'd hate to see this trickle down badly.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
I wish there was some data for creators — are pledges down? Percentage of funding projects? Is it a bad idea to launch a Kickstarter right now?
Put it this way. Unemployment in the states has hit 30 million out of a workforce of 150 odd million iirc.
 

BookBarbarian

Expert Long Rester
I wish there was some data for creators — are pledges down? Percentage of funding projects? Is it a bad idea to launch a Kickstarter right now?
It probably is a bad Idea to launch now. I think a good deal of folks with a little extra funds are holding on to it in case they are next on the chopping block.
 



aramis erak

Adventurer
Put it this way. Unemployment in the states has hit 30 million out of a workforce of 150 odd million iirc.
Keep in mind also — the US unemployment rate, at least the one usually cited from the BLS (which is the U-3 rate) isn't the jobless rate. It's only 16-65, unemployed, looking for work, and not long-term unemployed. (IIRC the cutoff is either 60 days or 90 days for long term... can't find work in that time? No longer count as unemployed, just jobless; the official title is "discouraged worker"... )
 


Eyes of Nine

Everything's Fine
The pandemic is affecting us all, and it’s Kickstarter’s turn to suffer the ravages of the global economic slowdown with a 35% drop in projects in the platform. As a result, up to 45% of the company’s workforce is facing layoffs.

View attachment 121662
I kind of feel like RPG projects may not be down; but I bet other projects are down. Entertainment, random gizmos, etc. Because right now doesn't seem to be the time to try to sell your next watch that also doubles as a youtube broadcaster and micro-drone when 20% of US workforce is out of work; and other countries across the globe are also suffering.
 

ddaley

Explorer
Both Kickstarter and the union agree on the terms which were negotiated for departing employees, however, which include four months’ reverence, up to six months’ health insurance, and the ability to return to their current roles within a year if the company is in a position to hire for them.
Hopefully things turn around soon and they get rehired within the four months.
 
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Because right now doesn't seem to be the time to try to sell your next watch that also doubles as a youtube broadcaster and micro-drone when 20% of US workforce is out of work; and other countries across the globe are also suffering.
Right now is also a really bad time to promise on delivery of something you don't make in your garage. You simply can't rely on any third party manufacturer to produce something right now. Especially overseas (i.e. China).
 


Legatus_Legionis

< BLAH HA Ha ha >
I heard alot of creators fled kickstarter and moved their business to Indiegogo.

Something to do with how kickstarter treated those businesses (cancelling campaigns or refusing them outright).
 

ddaley

Explorer
I heard alot of creators fled kickstarter and moved their business to Indiegogo.

Something to do with how kickstarter treated those businesses (cancelling campaigns or refusing them outright).
I only recently signed up for indiegogo... 'cause there were a couple projects I wanted to back. So far, it seems to be smaller, shorter campaigns (at least the ones I saw). I haven't really searched through the site for other projects yet though.
 

aramis erak

Adventurer
I only recently signed up for indiegogo... 'cause there were a couple projects I wanted to back. So far, it seems to be smaller, shorter campaigns (at least the ones I saw). I haven't really searched through the site for other projects yet though.
It also doesn't (or at least didn't in the past) require "Pass goal or nothing" on campaigns.
 

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