Voluntarily quitting is treated as an act of cowardice instead of strength. We espouse failing fast in projects but not in our own personal choices. People are questioning the real reason because they can't accept that a CEO of a hugely popular site has chosen to resign on good terms instead of being involuntarily ousted. Long ago I wrote something about quitting that many of my friends and family loved and hated ( http://chir.ag/200804242130 ) but I still stick by it. I wish more people would resign, breakup, divorce, and leave when they are in a miserable, non-salvageable situation than stick around and make everyone including themselves miserable.
Good luck to yishan and the new reddit crew!
They're probably questioning those terms because the New York Times is also questioning it..
> But things have been tumultuous at Reddit in recent months. After the company raised a major investment round, Reddit management requested that the company’s global employees relocate to San Francisco or leave the company, according to tweets sent by Mr. Wong. Mr. Wong also recently had a public argument with a former employee of the site in which he laid out the terms of his former employee’s termination in excruciating detail. That incident, according to people close to the company, made some of Reddit’s current employees uncomfortable.
There are many ways to tell a partial, incomplete truth. You don't talk about certain parts. Doesn't make what you said any less true, but it is not the complete story.
Do we, random Internet commenters, really need to know the complete story? I'm sure all involved parties (the board, the management, CEO, employees, owners) are privy to it. What do we have to gain?
I can see knowing this situation inside out would help those who are applying for a job at reddit. With the complete story they can judge whether it's a suitable workplace for them or not. But on the other hand you can't really be sure how you'd personally fit unless you actually work there.
Besides, what would make the story complete? Any statement from involved parties will be met with some skepticism as there's always a possibility that something was kept from the public. Do they need to back their story up by publishing private email logs, recorded phone calls, minutes from meetings, and Tinder-style screenshots of text messages? They can also be tampered with. So if a quest for the ultimate and objective truth is our goal here, I don't think we can reach it.
The other reasons I can think of is satisfying curiosity and entertainment value. Juicy gossips, where instead of washed-up, B-list celebrities we follow the lives of CEOs and employees of tech companies. Let's not forget that both kinds of stories are written to increase clicks and ad sales.
If this was Twitter, Facebook, Microsoft, or some other similar company? No.
But Reddit is run on donations. They have relied on community support for almost a decade to stay afloat, and their relationship with their userbase is more mutual than any of the companies I listed above. They have talked about opening ownership of the company up to the users, and seem committed to it.
In that vein, yes, I think that it's reasonable for the users to expect the full story.
Interesting. I'd say the companies you've mentioned have a better case for sharing the full story since they all are publicly traded. Reddit, on the other hand, is a private company.
> But Reddit is run on donations
Although I feel a discussion is starting to go downhill the moment it focuses on semantics, I disagree that reddit runs on donations. Reddit gold is not a donation scheme; it's a "premium membership program" . There's a clear list of benefits tied to a reddit gold account. Compare this with Wikimedia Foundation donations which offer no intrinsic benefits for donors. And it's true that reddit community is responsible for keeping the company afloat. But if you think of them as loyal customers who buy a premium membership service, it's not really different from other companies.
Plus, reddit doesn't rely exclusively on premium memberships as their revenue. They also serve ads and sponsored links, and they have redditgifts Marketplace.
They indeed talked about opening ownership of the company up to their users. It hasn't happened yet, but if it will I can see how the users deserve to know the details.
As of now? I don't think they owe the users the full story.
1 - https://www.reddit.com/gold/about
I believe them as well, the big question for me (still) isn't why yishan left but why reddit needs to be 100% in San Francisco -- not in the sense of SF vs Daly City, but the Bay Area (only) vs. having offices in SLC, New York, etc. I'm sure there are hand-wavy reasons for it like synergy-collaboration-focus-blahdeblah but nobody has yet convinced me that it wasn't just a poor decision (one that seems to clearly have had a large impact in this departure even if yishan and the board agreed on the Bay Area centralization).
Twitter's choice to stay in the city was a big bummer for me, but I understand why it happened. Once Caltrain electrifies and gets a bit more optimized, though, I really want to see more of this industry spread out to the peninsula so we can have a bit of a breather. East bay too. There's an ember of startup love taking root in Oakland and it'd be awesome if YC would blow on it.
San Francisco is complicated and this industry isn't helping as much as it could, is my point.
Once you've hit the wall the smallest thing can crack you up. I've seen people break down in a boardroom over seemingly trivial issues, but through the lens of years of insane stress it made sense.
DHH: Reddit CEO's forced uprooting of employees outside SF got full board support, but moving one BART stop? YOU'RE FIRED
DHH: @andrewstepner No CEO is ever fired. Everyone always "voluntarily" resigns, whether that's actually the case or not.
DHH: "Yeah, just force those families to uproot their whole life. Give them a week. Ok, two.", then, "want US to travel 20 mins longer? NO, NO".
Centralizing a dispersed team for improved collaboration would put them somewhere in Nebraska, maybe Colorado. Just say that the investors want them close by.
THE HORROR! Let me tell you about my Alameda/peninsula commute!
I can see why that might be a divisive issue, but totally agree with DHH regarding the remote workers part.
Then, on top of that, they're moving the office to... Daly City?! Daly City is essentially the worst of all worlds: it's not really readily accessible to anyone -- and it's an undesirable eye sore on top of it. There are places that make no sense to relocate to that still make more sense than Daly City (e.g., Pleasanton, San Rafael, Alameda, Walnut Creek, Burlingame) -- Daly City is almost where you would locate a company if you simply hated the employees. So at that point, you do begin to wonder about the mental stability of the CEO: the choice of Daly City is so completely bizarre that it almost certainly reflects other things amiss in the way decisions are made.
104,739 residents (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Daly_City,_California) would probably disagree.
Also, outside of San Francisco proper, Daly City is the only destination served by 4 BART lines.
Wouldn't it be much easier to commute by car there?
All the new buildings had poor transport links - they even tried to move the head office to "a shead at heathrow" which was stoped when the ex engineer CEO used "engineering" language to F off
According to the graph, Reddit has tripled in size since SOPA. People could say that Reddit would have grown with or without Yishan, and while that may be true, it ignores how completely easy it is to mess up growth, especially for a site like Reddit.
It seems like all tools are indicating that Reddit is growing like a weed, though. Actually, Reddit is in a pretty unique position. Subreddits mean that pretty much every person on the planet is going to find something interesting, so everyone from 13 year olds to grandmas are participating.
I wonder how long Reddit will continue to grow before people start comparing it to Facebook.
Notice facebooks decline.
Being stressed out is the worst, being stressed out for months on end is like living in a personal hell. You're constantly fighting your animal fight or flight instincts, and you behave in ways that will seem (in retrospect) bizarre). I hope he can find some calm and peace. My experience is that it takes a terribly long time to come down off of a continuous stress high.
Good luck to Yishan in the future and to the new Reddit executive team.
From what I can tell, Yishan is a good guy, the investors are scum who make poor decisions, and Yishan couldn't fit in with that culture.
It is a big site, yes. But it isn't publicly held, so its internal politics don't really have an impact on anyone who is not an employee or an investor. Its internal business operations, profitability, and ROI to its previous owners or current investors really have no impact on my life as a general user of the site. Its continued success or failure really doesn't either, if we are being honest. Maybe they will bring a grand vision to fruition in the future that will make it more important, but right now, it is just a site I go to when taking a coding break.
So I have no reason not to simply take the public statements at face value. Certainly, there is a PR spin on things. But so what? What does it gain anybody to dig deeper and push for more details?
Let it go, Let yishan move on, and let reddit's new team get to work.
I hope Yishan takes some time off before starting a new professional adventure.
@sama did just tweet about saying you look tired.
I would not want to work for any company whose CEO takes the low road on personnel issues. That was truly cringeworthy.
If my team is getting shit on constantly like that and none of it is true, I can kind of get behind a leader taking a stand and calling bullshit bullshit. I can also see the other side of how some folks would consider it the low road and unprofessional, even though I don't necessarily agree.
As I said, on the fence. Part of me appreciated calling bullshit bullshit. Part of me sympathized that he should probably have spoken through a PR mouthpiece. Honestly, I probably would have done the same thing in that situation, and that might be why I'm not a CEO.
Real talk: if considering whether or not to work for Yishan, that little incident might slip to the "pro" side instead of the "con" for me. The rest of his management of Reddit, not so clear.
Maybe we should see Yishan's comment as a sign that he was burnt out?
"Mr. Wong also recently had a public argument with a former employee of the site in which he laid out the terms of his former employee’s termination in excruciating detail. That incident, according to people close to the company, made some of Reddit’s current employees uncomfortable."
This was not some minor gaffe. This was a very public, major lapse in leadership judgment from the CEO.
Either Sam and reddit employees and everyone else are risking their public reputation of being trustworthy people by saying things that were obviously untrue (like "Yishan really did resign because he felt like it"), or Yishan left because he chose to.
I have a lot of respect for you, and you're not just some random person. Do you feel there's a nonzero chance we're living in a world where nobody can say the truth, and everyone chooses to play along with a social game of "Oh, yes, this is what I really believe, wink wink"? I mean, it's possible, but why believe that? Isn't the simplest explanation that Yishan didn't want the job anymore?
If this is a case where the simplest explanation is mistaken, is there any evidence?
With respect to context, the principals involved are too sophisticated to be treated as simpletons-- the principal owners of Reddit are the owners Conde Nast et al.
All I'm saying is that I have direct, personal experience with Sam, and it seems more likely that we didn't visit the moon than that Sam is manipulative in a "I'm telling real lies that people would care about if discovered" sort of way. That'd make pg manipulative by definition, for one, since he appointed Sam as his successor. Everyone is manipulative to an extent, but going on record with "Yes, this really did happen in this way" is the line between social graces and the type of manipulation people spend their lives trying to avoid.
So are we fools for believing them? Or, given the propensity of people to call people sheeple, do you think that maybe the simplest explanation might be the better one here?
All the best manipulators seem that way; most people vastly overestimate their own ability to judge character.
(I don't have a viewpoint on the larger question, but "seemed decent when I personally met him" is not at all convincing)
And there may have been others. What bugs me about this whole discussion is that Reddit is not exactly a publicly traded company. If the CEO decides to quit and/or is fired then that's a company internal affair and their obligation to explain it to the world stops at 'nothing'. If both the CEO and a major investor take time out to give an explanation that apparently dove-tails why on earth would we not just believe them and move on. There is absolutely nothing to gain by trying to prove that he left because of some other reason because all the parties involved appear to be in agreement. If they weren't then that would be another matter (but it still would not be a productive discussion).
Yes, and especially unrelated to the comment it was replying to, so we've detached it.
From this sentence itself, it is a clear sign that he has reached "I am burned out" staged. Time to move on when that stage is reached.
While Yishan's actions may be considered unprofessional, he is legally in the clear so long as he was not lying.
I think you may be confusing defamation with disparagement; if a non-disparagement contract existed, then Yishan could be in legal trouble.
If a company wants to say something negative about someone they better be able to prove it.
Or maybe do that be default instead of forcing people to register?
Quora is an unmitigated failure at this point.
I'm not sure what you mean by this. But what has the traffic coming from India(third world country, seriously?) got anything to do with their success/failure?
As usual, that's not the problem with the people of India per se, but with the long term path-dependent development of country that has been a British colony for too long.
The question then becomes what kind of assumptions underly their businessplan that they use to justify these higher valuations. These can make for very interesting reading, usually they translate into a loose form of: for every 'x' dollars of investment we can generate 'y' dollars (usually a multiple of 'x' ;) ) of turnover keeping the ship afloat long enough to pull in the next round of funding. As long as the funding keeps coming it will look really good to the untrained eye. The real issue of course is what the expected lifetime value is of the customers when taking into account the amount of overhead. If the balance here is close to zero it can become quite hard to distinguish the ultimate losers from the winners. 'At scale' then becomes the key, if you can't make it fly at a small size the theory is that the company will do just fine if you just scale it up drastically while keeping the overhead steady. This is a hard problem.
Since Quora's investors presumably did financial due diligence before they invested it is safe to assume that the story is a complex one and any variation on the theme mentioned above will be hard to dig up. The degree of desperation with which they try to monetize their traffic is a good indicator about what's going on behind the scenes.
Barometer: slowly dropping.
"Worth noting: Quora has no public API, no backup/export tools, blocks anonymous display of answers, and banned the Wayback Machine entirely."
"If you operate a search engine or robot... Quora gives you a... revocable... license... You must follow robots.txt at all times"
"We use these automated technologies to collect and analyze certain types of information... Quora itself does not respond to do not track signals"
"Quora agrees, in the performance of this agreement, to keep non-public information furnished by [government users] in the strictest confidence"
Having cake and eating it too
Quora, you're making it so difficult to like you.