Imagining I'm Steve Huffman
An interesting comment from the HackerNews discussion about my “Reddit’s disrespectful design” article by Troy Davis
Imagine you’re Steve Huffman, Reddit’s CEO and co-founder (Reddit AMA). What strategy would you propose to your board? For the sake of argument, assume that:
You would prefer not to make your creation frustrating to use. (Of course, the team may think that their changes are better, but let’s assume that’s not the case)
The board cares about ARPU and ARPU growth
You’re stuck in the middle, and believe that you’re implementing it less terribly than your replacement would. So far, your biggest win here has been preserving old.reddit.com and API access, which consumed most of your political capital.
So, if you were Steve, what strategy would you propose and why?
So, of course my suggestion might seem naive given without access to the numbers or knowing exactly the stack or employee numbers, etc. but it’s a good exercise. So:
I would basically copy Patreon in service of getting content creators paid.
In support of that:
A lot of the structure already exists so it shouldn’t be a lot of work. For instance, there are already personal subreddits, there is already a payment gateway, there are coins that can be used for micro-transactions, etc. I need to implement sub-only features and paying for individual content.
I can cite Patreon/OnlyFans etc revenue and MAU.
I can cite how many users have links to their Patreon/OnlyFans in their profiles. Beyond individual users I can make the case that organizations might want a piece of this too.
I believe in this vision which means I can sell it to the team, to the users and to the public better. It’s also a positive vision around which people can rally.
Then I expend the rest of my political capital pushing this through and stake my job on it. I’d be OK doing that since I’d be doing something I really believe in.
If it doesn’t work, there’s two possibilities. Either it didn’t work in a suitable time frame but there is traction in which case I can demonstrate that we are making progress and perhaps buy more time. Or it didn’t work at all in which case I’ve failed at doing something I believed in.
If it does work then I’ve regained all my capital and much more. At which point I can go further into becoming a platform where content creators can get paid. Think Gumroad, TeeSpring, Etsy, etc.
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