Today I found out Jack Conte has fired a bunch of people at the behest of former Instagram bigwig who became Patreon’s Chief Product Officer in January. Obviously “the big rewrite” is now underway.
First of all, changing your development priorities = firing a bunch of people is ridiculous. It’s the cookie-cutter mentality in tech. Oh, we need React developers now. Oh, we need Swift developers now. Oh, we need Kubernetes DevOps experts now. Oh, we need…
If you can’t adequately train the people who already work for you how to adapt to changing requirements, your org is fundamentally broken. Conte insists Patreon’s doing great financially, they just have some new ideas. OK. SO THEN WHY FIRE ANYBODY @#&%!#%?!
Secondly, I’d missed the memo that the former Head of Product of Instagram’s “Home experience” (aka “Feed, Stories, Ranking, Video, Profile and Interactions”) is now in charge of Patreon UX.
That revelation alone is firing planet-sized alarm bells in my head.
And it continues on from there… I was not a happy camper!
Needless to say, it’s now been well over a year later and Patreon genuinely sucks. 😒 The iOS app doesn’t feel noticeably nicer or more appealing in any way compared to before Mr. Instagram Julian Gutman took over, and the desktop web app now looks like a crappy knockoff of old Facebook. Most of the design on my large macOS display is blank nothingness. None of the UI has any character or personality whatsoever. (Remember when Patreon looked like this? Now it’s a dry corporate Silicon Valley VC desert.)
Patreon started out feeling like an indie product: by indies, for indies. Now they’re having to peer under sofa cushions looking for loose change in an effort to placate their VCs. It’s exhausting. I begrungingly support a tiny handful of creators still on the platform. I’d much rather pay them directly.
Look, I’m sure Jack Conte’s heart is in the right place and he means well. But I have ZERO confidence in the future of Patreon. They should have never hired Julian Gutman, and they should have never taken ridiculous piles of VC money. Bad moves, plain and simple.
Next obvious question: who will rise up and take Patreon’s place, only this time actually stay indie and forever feel indie and support nobody but indies?(VCs Begone!)Inquiring minds want to know!
Alongside the “Great Resignation” of 2021-2022, we are witnessing the “Great Recognition” of the simple fact that the #openweb is the only digital space where you can leave a true legacy as a thinker and a writer.
Walled gardens like #Facebook, #Twitter, Medium, and many others have tried to capture words over the decades. They failed. 100 years from now, when people look back in time to witness What People Thought, they won’t be gleaning the highest wisdom and deepest insights from tweets and likes and shares.
It will be Articles. Essays. In other words, Blog Posts. (Before you say “what about Newspaper Columns?”—in this day and age they might as well just be considered Blog Posts because we typically consume them the exact same way.)
Medium-to-longform content, written by individuals, and largely posted on independent websites for all the world to see. Not trapped inside a social network, but freely accessible*. I’ve never been more bullish on the power of the #openweb to both contain and promote forward thinking than I am today.
* Rest assured I’m not making a case here against paywalls—even paywalled #writing can be “freely accessible” on the open web in the sense that you don’t need to join a Big Tech platform to make #payments in order to access the content.
2022 Update: I’m leaving this post up, but needless to say, over the past 4 years I’ve become pretty disillusioned with cryptocurrency. Rather than become more robust and disciplined, we’ve seen an explosion of sheer nonsense like NFTs along with the so-called web3 movement which has nothing to do with actual open web specifications. Not to mention all the outrageous issues of energy consumption in the middle of a climate crisis. So while it’s possible crypto at some point in the future will have a legit raison d’être, it seems fairly unlikely to me now.
Despite the extremely rocky road that cryptocurrency has traversed this year, I remain very bullish on this technology. I believe the future of #finance and transactional systems is clearly on the side of software-based monetary constructs, and no other company I’m aware of is better positioned right now to drive us toward that future than Coinbase. (Full disclosure: I own a very modest amount of cryptocurrency.)
#portland has been a hotbed for financial startups for quite a while now (Simple is but one example), so it makes a great deal of sense for Coinbase to establish a large presence here. Hopefully that will serve to strengthen the fintech industry here overall.
The breakthrough of the original World Wide Web was that content could be instantly published and therefore accessible any time from anywhere in the world. The next breakthrough will involve adding seamless monetary transactions to the equation.