Sketch Layoff of 80 Employees — Does It Really Send an Alarming Signal?

Sketch shared the news today (on LinkedIn!) that 80 employeed are being laid off.

This will mostly impact Operations and Marketing, who have done great work in the recent weeks and months. Our Product team remains well-equipped, with a core team continuing to drive things forward.

Also see the tweet by founder Pieter Omvlee.

This does include Mac developers, though.

I’m sorry for everyone going through this, especially since this appears to be such a surprise move by management.

This will likely make rounds through tech news because Sketch is the darling indie Mac app.

  • It became known as the Illustrator killer for UI/app design – and there’s likely something something Figma and Adobe about to be rumored.

  • It also became known for its business model of a “non-renewable subscription”, a model for indie devs to emulate: each purchase nets you 1 year of updates, but you can continue to use the version you have indefinitely.

  • Its success is, well, expected to make all kinds of moneys. Steve Troughton-Smith brought up that this is a “warning indicator”:

    There aren’t many bigger or more-popular Mac-only apps, and if they’re struggling to make it work, what hope does anybody else have?

This doesn’t mean your or my app will perform worse and that somethings wrong with the Mac; Sketch’s layoffs are just an indicator of how Bohemian Coding, the company behind Sketch, performs, and how they anticipate to make ends meet.

It’s an indicator that software studios, no matter how successful or beloved, need to pay the bills. And it’s tough in late 2022 in Central Europe to pay bills.

Taking care of almost 300 employees is a tough job I imagine. There sure are different pressures on the company than for a 5 person team. Steve’s worries about a 300 person company having a tough time don’t apply to indies, I don’t think.

Smaller indie studios, agencies, and solo devs should not despair. With roughly 200 employees left, Bohemian Coding is still quite big, and a company this size has different problems than you or I, and they believe they can continue with that large a workforce. It’s not that they filed for bankruptcy.

Update 2022-10-17: I moved the job search list to another post for higher visibility. Less babbling, more people. Share that instead now!

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