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So in today's thread (and perhaps this will quell my desire to talk about @stackoverflow) I'm going to talk about two things:
1. Current direction of Stack Overflow the business and what that means for the 'community', and
2. My 2020 predictions for Stack Overflow the business
@StackOverflow Standard Internet disclaimers apply:
- This is all, like, my opinion man
- I don't own any shares of Stack Overflow and have no business interests in them
- I could be completely wrong
@StackOverflow If this is your first thread (hi!), you're going to want to (at some point), read these threads:

Wherein I claim the community problems are (in retrospect) obvious and were always going to happen
@StackOverflow You'll also want to read this thread about Monica's firing and the resultant effects on the community. This also covers Stack Overflow's "apology", their "apology to the apology" and then @df07 's really awesome apology; and then the subsequent descent.
@StackOverflow @df07 And then there's this thread a week later where I'm starting to realize the problems are endemic to the leadership. That's important because in today's thread I realize it is purposeful.
@StackOverflow @df07 Yesterday, I talked about why meta-zins claim "Stack Overflow is Evil", and what that actually means and why that feeling exists (tl;dr, evil is an easy four letter word that means "They betrayed us and their own vision")
@StackOverflow @df07 And perhaps because the world did not want me to be productive, later that day the CM team (acting on orders from on high, probably) decided to pull the boneheaded move of de-featuring a community moderator resignation post after 24 hours.
@StackOverflow @df07 In the immortal words of Dr. House, whoever made this call?
@StackOverflow @df07 Now, a few other disclaimers before I start, because I get DMs speaking to this:

- The Developers, CM line-team are excluded from these complaints. They're good people, bront.
- The people making the decisions don't read my twitter anyway; so this is for everyone else.
@StackOverflow @df07 I say "line-team", harkening back to a military term of art basically meaning the people doing the work; not the people making the decisions. You see, CMs have very little (if any) agency. We know this because we were told this.
@StackOverflow @df07 Which means the CMs are being told to do these things; which if you think about it is some real Machiavellian shit; so don't think about it too long.
@StackOverflow @df07 So you got the Stack Overflow developer team who isn't involved in this stuff at all and probably is all like:
@StackOverflow @df07 and you got the CM team, who is probably like
@StackOverflow @df07 And then you've got the people who are making the decisions who are probably like:
@StackOverflow @df07 So now that we're done with my characterization of what I think everyone is feeling, let's get into where @stackOverflow is. This will be somewhat factual and somewhat opinionated. Facts will come from others, opinions from me. Like this video of @spolsky
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky I just finished watching this video and ( content warning, I'm about to curse) HOLY SHIT he predicts what's happening and makes me believe this was the plan all along.
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky I found this on a meta thread as a comment, so I'll never be able to find it again, but basically Joel talks with Jason Calcanis about his leaving from Stack Overflow (recorded in April 2019), and what it will take to get Stack Overflow public. He says that over and over.
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky Like here, at 15:50:
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky If you listen for another minute, you'll get to who Joel+The Board of Directors of @StackOverflow want as CEO: this is his characterization: "You need to get psychopath-Silicon-Valley-executives who are just in it for themselves and their stock options"
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky Now in that same minute before this quote, he talks about the fact that the current team (at the time) wasn't a team that could get them to IPO, they need a team that can get them from 70MM-700MM a year in revenue:
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky And so the board wanted Joel to fire people, and he didn't: (keep in mind some people were fired and there were layoffs in 2017) meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3030…
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky So with the benefit of hindsight, and Joel being gone, who did they bring in to run Stack Overflow? Joel hints who they're looking for in this part of the interview: Needs someone who can be CEO, but isn't CEO currently.
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky ✅seen the playbook ($70MM->$700MM), but isn't CEO yet (EVP Sales, or COO, or other high level exec)
✅Have developer experience or understands developers
✅ability to get the next 10X (revenue)
✅ability take the company public
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky Since Joel controls the board (minutes 15-17), this is what he's looking for, and what the board is looking for. So that's what we ended up getting in @pchandrasekar. It's important to note, this is the direction he was likely given from board.
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar Joel either made a critical mistake; or a strategic play. It's about Revenue, it's about taking the company public, it's about growing the revenue of their SaaS product, Teams (and Stack Overflow Enterprise).
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar So if you look at it from that lens, all of what's happened makes sense.

They know there's only 1% that really are invested in public Q & A (the 90-9-1 rule, @lizardbill linked to here:
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill That 1% can't be tied to ads -- they don't even see ads! at best, their contributions to the bottom line are tangential (from the lens of someone who doesn't understand how we got here). I also talk about that here: meta.stackexchange.com/a/340250/16587
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill So we know the curators aren't important (sorry) to them. What about the larger SE network? Joel answers that here and the conclusion is basically: You can't go public with what we did:
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill And in that above link, Joel also talks about the genesis of the current moment: The company is focused on Enterprise and Teams and it happened because of a party Joel went to and met someone from Credit Suisse
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill So, to recap:
✅ Need to go public
✅ 28+ large companies pay over a million a year for SO Enterprise (tripled in 2018)
✅ Teams is the 'credit-card swipable' version of Enterprise

Nary a peep about community.
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill So what does that mean? Well, I don't know if they did it on purpose, but an easy way to get rid of the 1% is to take away everything they care about:
✅ Original Vision
✅ People who liked that vision
✅ control over decisions that affect community
✅ agency
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill But what about Prashanth, he did say "Community is our DNA", right? meta.stackexchange.com/questions/3356… Remember, Joel and the Board are looking for a "psychopath silicon valley type that only cares about their stock options":
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill Whether they hired that is largely a question I can't answer and is based on entirely opinion, but one characteristic of a CEO is purportedly being a psychopath: cnbc.com/2019/04/08/the…
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill And a CEO saying one thing and doing the opposite would indeed be a trait of other CEOs and 1 out of 5?... Well, draw your own conclusions.
@StackOverflow @df07 @spolsky @pchandrasekar @lizardbill Which brings me to what that means for the community and predictions
- currently marginalized
- When is Meta getting shut down?
- The SE Q&A network is superfluous
Meeting, brb
ok, and we're back. So what does all this mean for the community?
Eh, at best community is a headache. It doesn't provide revenue, it's not a core business function, and it's hard to control these people.
The money is in the software, not the community. So the line to walk is to be as non-committal as possible towards the community, and keep them just happy enough not to leave in droves. Even if the 1% that does the work leaves; then it won't matter ad-revenue wise.
So that also means that Joel and Jeff's vision of a programmer knowledge base is dead. It's no longer a thing. Or it's done. It will literally get as close to zero dollars of effort as it can get; and marketing will drive what happens.
It used to be Community drove the change; now marketing and business drives the change, and marketing and business don't really care about Stack Overflow and the SE network. They won't even make a dent in that 70MM->700MM push that is the CEO's focus.
What this means, if you choose to continue to contribute to Stack Overflow or an SE site, you need to do it with open eyes:
1. The company does not care about you. You are a non-entity.
2. Your contributions will at best help the company get a few more dollars of ad revenue.
3. Your altruistic reasons of 'helping others' is great; but don't expect the company to do more than pay lip service to those ideas.
4. There is no calvary coming. There is not going to be a Road to Damascus moment.
So prediction-wise, I expect:
1. Meta to be fully marginalized (or if they have any mercy, shutting it down).
2. SE Sites to be shut down as their moderators leave, or left to waste away.
3. CMs to be downsized.
4. A wave of exits by employees before 2020 ends.
Oh, btw, today is @jlericson's last day at Stack Overflow. He's one of the 'old school' community managers.
@jlericson Having known the developers of @stackoverflow by reputation, I'm going to guess they're not here for this, and that the ones that believed in the principles of Stack Overflow will leave (I won't name names out of respect but you know who they are).
@jlericson @StackOverflow By the end of 2020, you're going to see a banner year for business for Stack Overflow. Probably 250 Million in sales. You're also going to see a graveyard where the community once stood; with everyone finally giving up the fight.
@jlericson @StackOverflow .@Spolsky and @codinghorror will remain quiet; because their financial futures are tied to the company going public or getting acquired, and I wouldn't be surprised if mid-2021 the company was acquired for 500M dollars.

It's been a good run.
@jlericson @StackOverflow @spolsky @codinghorror I should note that this is normal for a business. It's normal to get rid of business units that don't perform. It's normal to say and do the things Joel said and did. None of this is 'evil'. It's business, baby. The hang-up (of course) is that people were sold something else.
@jlericson @StackOverflow @spolsky @codinghorror So it'll help all of us if the people who really care about this find another hobby, or invest in something they care about, or, just don't care.
@jlericson @StackOverflow @spolsky @codinghorror As for me; I'll probably keep tweeting about it; but only because it's fascinating to watch people you know and respect do shit that would make Machiavelli proud; and it makes you realize: you never really know someone.
@jlericson @StackOverflow @spolsky @codinghorror One shameless plug and one honorable plug:
@Shog9, community manager for SO, was fired after 10 years of cultivating the community, and offered a pittance as severance. He deserves a lot more with no strings attached so toss a coin to your @shog9 please: gofundme.com/f/thanking-jos…
@jlericson @StackOverflow @spolsky @codinghorror @shog9 The shameless plug is I've finally decided that I'm going to focus on helping .NET Enterprise software teams double their productivity through TDD. I'm putting together a course and content on real-world TDD, the stuff people try to ignore. Sign up at georgestocker.com
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