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Treehouse lays off 21% (edsurge.com)
26 points by tarr11 on Aug 23, 2016 | hide | past | favorite | 15 comments



> Also going away are the company’s enviable working hours. Carson says he’s rolling back the company’s 32-hour work week, where he and his employees took Fridays off.

Let me find his blog post about that 4-day week. Oh, there it is...

http://ryancarson.com/post/21708810513/4-day-week


Four years ago:

> We work a 4-day week at Treehouse and here’s what we’ve been fortunate to achieve:

> 1. Profitability (yay!)

Today:

> “Every venture-funded company has to cross the chasm to profitability, and we decided the time was now,”

Er, what?


Easy to be "progressive and awesome" when you're playing with funny money.


What a hypocrite. I remember seeing several job postings. I'm so glad I didn't fall for the 4 day workweek bait and switch. I hope everyone quits.


This comment crosses into not-ok territory for HN. It's fine to argue, say, that there was reason to be skeptical. It's not fine to deny good faith on the part of others or be outright nasty ("I hope everyone quits".) Even if that's deserved, which I doubt, it pollutes the environment here.

HN comments should be charitable in the sense of preferring the strongest plausible interpretation of something. The blog post you're talking about is 4 years old. It doesn't seem plausible that this was a 4-year-long bait and switch. A much stronger interpretation is that circumstances changed.


“Every venture-funded company has to cross the chasm to profitability, and we decided the time was now,”

==> .....I don't even know where to start...


It makes sense that they're firing people, since they're bringing the workweek back up to 40 hours from 32.


The funny thing is that layoffs reduce morale enough. Then taking away Fridays? Ha. I'd definitely be finding a new job if I worked there.


Taking away Friday? Personally that sounds amazing. I once worked 10-hours four days a week. Having an extra weekday added incredible value and productivity to my life, and more than made up for the 10-hour days.


In the article they mentioned "Crossing the Chasm". That theory comes from this book [1] which I have only recently read. Whats important to notice is this book was written in 1991 and what it lacks is how the entire technology market has shifted in modern times. I don't think you reach a place with product line maturity, especially with a SaaS offering where you can ever tone down R&D and focus on sales and marketing your product. Unless you have some hook to keep your customers in your ecosystem having a SaaS means I can jump ship to whoever is better at this moment.

1. https://www.amazon.com/Crossing-Chasm-3rd-Disruptive-Mainstr...


1. The "chasm" mentioned in the article has nothing to do with the chasm mentioned in the book "Crossing the chasm".

2. The book was written in 1991 but it still surprises me how timeless it is. If you think the theory is out of date, you probably didn't understand the theory well enough.

3. That company mentioned in the article is not a SaaS company.


The chasm is entirely the same chasm defined in the book, they need to obtain profitability, either their plans are to cut expenses and have no growth, or to cross into profitability by starting to acquire early majority customers. Additionally the book is not nearly as timeless as you would think. Its telling that all the marquee examples from the first two prints are pretty much out of business right now, and a few of the examples from the third printing are either greatly declined or also out of business. Finally a company that provides a subscription based, online platform for ongoing consumption of education services is pretty much a textbook example of a SaaS.

The theory of trim down and assault a targeted market to cross into a larger market space is sound, but if you are trimming down your future like the book suggests ( i.e. fire most of your sales and R&D staff, but none of your marketing staff ) then in a modern software world you won't survive long once you reach the other side.


It would be very interesting to know where the layoffs were -- tech, marketing, course development etc.

(1) It would help us understand the significance of the move, (2) it would allow us to (wrongly) opine on the wisdom of the cuts, and (3) it would let us understand where they are in the lifecycle.


From what I could tell, some tech (front end developers and data people), as well as product designers, and some engineering management. I'm not connected to the company, but that's what I could tell from the public info (articles and LinkedIn).


Their ads where everywhere on youtube.




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