Category Archives: Patreon

Patreon Laid Off 80 People

Patreon founder and CEO, Jack Conte, announced a layoff at Patreon of 80 people. This comes after Patreon laid off at least five employees from its security engineering team. It certainly sounds like things are not going very well for Patreon.

In “A note from Jack”, CEO Jack Conte clarified what has happened within his company. The note was posted on September 13, 2022. It starts with “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.”

Here’s a little bit from Jack Conte’s note:

…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…

Conte also wrote about the people in Patreon’s European offices:

…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.

It certainly sounds like things are not going very well for Patreon.

The Verge reported that Patreon’s laid-off workers in the US will receive three months’ severance pay as well as two extra weeks per half year of tenure they have beyond their first year at the company. European workers will get a similar deal, with three months of healthcare coverage, whereas Americans will get COBRA through the end of 2022.

According to The Verge, Patreon is closing two of its European offices and giving nine engineers in Ireland the option to relocate to the US.

To me, it sounds like the posting of Jack Conte’s note explains why the people from Patreon (Ellen Satterwhite, and Emily Metcalf) declined to answer questions after speaking with Gizmodo and TechCrunch. They needed wait to until the note went public.

Patreon Cut At Least Five People From Its Security Team

Patreon has laid off five employees responsible for its security engineering, Gizmodo reported. Patreon confirmed the worker cuts in an email to Gizmodo on Friday.

“As part of a strategic shift a portion of our security program, we have parted ways with five employees,” said Patreon in an emailed statement attributed to the company’s U.S. policy head, Ellen Satterwhite, Gizmodo reported.

Gizmodo also reported that Emily Metcalfe, formerly a security and privacy engineer at Patreon, and one of the laid-off workers described the cut as affecting the entire internal security group. “I and the rest of the Patreon Security Team are no longer with the company, she wrote in a LinkedIn post announcing that she is now looking for a new job.

According to Gizmodo, Patreon disputed that description. Patreon wrote that “a majority of our engineers working on security and vendors remain in place.” In response to further questions, Ellen Satterwite also said, “the entire internal Patreon security team was not laid off. As a matter of policy, we can’t share the exact number of Patreon employees working on security, but can confirm a majority of Patreon’s internal engineers working on security remain in place.

TechCrunch reported that Ellen Satterwhite confirmed the five layoffs but declined to answer questions, or say how many employees it had on the security team prior to the layoffs. According to TechCrunch, Satterwhite did not dispute that the entire team had been laid off.

According to TechCrunch, Ellen Satterwhite would not say for what reason Patreon laid off its security engineers, but added that the company works with external organizations to “develop our security capabilities and conduct regular security assessments.”

It is unclear to me exactly why Patreon decided to lay off – some or all – of their security team. What I do know is that if you type “Patreon security team” into Twitter, you will see numerous tweets from people who use Patreon who appear to be considering… not using it anymore. Without pointing out any specific Twitter accounts, the news about the security team is making Patreon users uncomfortable. Some have paused their Patreon, others appear to be looking for an alternative to Patreon.

Patreon Creates New Community Guidelines

Patreon logoPatreon has new Community Guidelines that both Creators and Patrons should be aware of. The new guidelines were created “in the interest of growing and protecting a safe, healthy community”. The key concept to take from the new guidelines is, as Patreon puts it, “be respectful of the people and communities on Patreon.”

Many of the guidelines outline what is not allowed on Patreon. You cannot put up a fake page or collect money for “not doing” something. I would think that part would be obvious, but if Patreon felt the need to spell it out, it appears that there were people who missed that important concept.

Patreon will not allow bullying or harassment. They will allow appropriate debate, but will not allow hate speech or serious threats of violence. Patreon defines hate speech as including “serious attacks on people based on their race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex, gender, sexual orientation, age disability, or serious medical condition”.

Patreon will not allow people to post things that go beyond “R Rated”. Some nudity and suggestive imagery might be acceptable if it is marked as NSFW (not safe for work). Read Patreon’s new guidelines for further details.

You cannot use Patreon to collect funds for “organizations that promote, forums that distribute, or anything else that primarily facilitates harmful or dangerous activities”. What does that mean? Patreon will not allow “an organization that promotes sexual abuse, intellectual property violations, weapons, commercial spamming, self harm, drug manufacturing techniques, or property crimes” to receive funds through Patreon.

The guidelines also clarify who will not be allowed to use Patreon:

“People with a dangerous criminal history or known affiliation with violent or dangerous groups including terrorist or cyberterrorist organizations, organized criminal groups, and violent hate groups cannot receive funds through Patreon, no matter what the purpose or apparent intention of their Patreon page. Similarly, anyone who has ever been convicted of child sex abuse, fraud, or money laundering is not permitted to collect funds through Patreon.”

There will be a grace period in which Patreon phases in the enforcement if its new Community Guidelines. It started on December 21, 2014, and will last a total of seven days. Creators who are in violation of the new guidelines will be contacted by Patreon and given a chance to comply with the guidelines. Creators who are “found to be in violation of the most serious parameters after seven days” will have their payments halted and their pages removed from Patreon.

Personally, as someone who has a Patreon for one of my podcasts, I am happy to see these new Community Guidelines. We have seen that there are people who use the internet to send violent threats to strangers whom they disagree with. It makes me feel safe to know that Patreon is not going to allow that sort of thing to happen on their website.