Yesterday, as Instagram was announcing its (buggy and overhyped) 3.0 update, the internets were ablaze with other news about Hipstamatic — and not necessarily in a good way. In short, yesterday, The Next Web posted a story, “Hipsta-dramatic: Hipstamatic lays off all but core employees, including designers and engineers.”
Today, Lucas Buick, CEO and Co-Founder of Hipstamatic, has responded on the Hipstamatic blog. Read his post in its entirety after the jump along with my thoughts on this situation.
The bottom line? Don’t panic. I don’t think Hipstamatic is going anywhere.
Here’s Lucas Buick’s response:
Letting people go is never an easy decision. Yesterday’s reduction in staff was the result of endless discussion and debate about what we want our company to look like in the future. It was in no way a reflection of the work ethic or talent of those no longer with us.
Over the last year we simply lost our focus. Art and creativity were no longer the center of what we did. Hipstamatic was founded as a lifestyle and culture brand that happened to make software. We aren’t a typical software company, and our inability to scale and ship became clear.
Some might view it as a setback for the company, however, it likely wasn’t. We’ve shipped very little in the past 9 months, but by streamlining our organizational structure, we are planning to ship more products and updates in the next few months as we reset and rebuild our team.
Our biggest product launch this year has been an iPad magazine called Snap, which has been extremely well received and already has over 100,000 subscribers. We are excited to ship the September issue in the coming weeks.
Moving forward, Hipstamatic will also continue to make awesome photo apps for mobile devices. We have high expectations for the type of company we want to build. Today we will be back to work making products that inspire people to take their creativity to the next level.
Productivity will not be stopping anytime soon around here. We are all excited to focus on what we are passionate about and what made us successful in the first place.
Lucas Allen Buick
CEO & Co-Founder, Hipstamatic
(reposted from Behind the Scenes Of Hipstaland blog)
I have no inside information on this, so just take this as the hunches that they are.
I’m not too worried about Hipstamatic. When I first met Lucas and Ryan in their Chicago office a couple of years ago, there were about 6 total employees working with Synthetic. It was a young, lean and agile company then. In February 2010, Hipstamatic were cranking out cool updates at a pretty good rate. I think this is simply an adjustment to streamline operations, get back to “fighting weight” and trim some of the excess they’ve gathered since then.
I think the publicity is more of a case of sensationalizing this story where there isn’t really much of one. Headline grabbing, as they say. Granted, layoffs suck, but reading the TechCrunch article can lead you to believe that Ryan Dorshurst is shopping at Home Depot for chains and a padlock right this minute to bolt the doors. I don’t think so.
I think Hipstamatic Disposable app was requiring far more financial, creative and engineering resources than the the monetary return justified. I think it was a good idea to pull the plug on the app. I’d have been more worried about the company if they hadn’t cut their losses there.
This to me looks more like a case of “Let’s pounce on Hipstamatic”, who used to be the darling of tech and social media. It’s the same treatment Apple gets when they appear to misstep or when the price of the stock falls more than a dollar a share. Hipstamatic used to be synonymous with iPhone photography to many. It was an awesome gateway app. I think Instagram wears that mantle now and has now become synonymous with iPhone photography to outsiders. Sad, really. It’s an inferior app visually. But it’s free.
Hipstamatic Company is projected to earn $22 million dollars this year — a buck or two at a time from Hipstafiends like you and me. That’s double what they earned last year. They are one of the App Store’s biggest, highest profile success stories. Hipstamatic Company build and maintain excellent partnerships with high-visibility companies, organizations, publications and events.
If you’re worried that Hipstamatic are going away, don’t for now. I truly think this is an opportunity for Hipstamatic and company to refocus. I’m going out on a limb, but I have a hunch that Hipstamatic will be around for a while yet.
I may sound a little Pollyanna-ish about Hipstamatic. What are your thoughts? Do you think this is overblown or is this the fall of Hipstamatic? Sound off in the comments below.