Report claims Snapchat boss was warned about redesign prior to change

Report claims Snapchat boss was warned about redesign prior to change

It has been alleged that colleagues attempted to warn Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegal about the very mixed reception its redesign had received from early testers.

However, the CEO is said to have pressed ahead with the alterations regardless, and with little discussion with his closest team members, The Information reports.

Furthermore, once the decision was made his team was given just six weeks to implement the changes to ensure it was publicly available in time for Thanksgiving. The result was large departments often working 12-hour days and sixty-hour weeks. This deadline was eventually missed, with the redesign releasing early the following year.

It is alleged that those who expressed a desire to push back against the orders were discouraged from seeking a meeting with the CEO. Most employees were also taken aback when the redesign was announced in a November investor call – something few had been told to expect.

Chinese inspiration

“Inspired by apps he’d seen in that country, Mr. Spiegel wanted to create a new version separating users’ friends’ content from the professional media,” the story says of a return flight Spiegal was on from China. He’d apparently been canvassing some of the country’s many Snapchat rivals, most of which shun chronological timelines in favour of algorithmically sorted feeds.

“Each category would be sorted by an algorithm rather than Snapchat’s existing chronological feed. Huddling on the plane with one of his top designers, Will Wu, Mr. Spiegel hashed out a design for the future of the app.

“When he got back to Snap’s California office, Mr Spiegel ordered his design teams to make the changes - with little discussion of his reasoning... The Information has learned that Snap’s early user testing of the redesign showed mixed results. Some designers told the CEO they were hesitant about releasing it, but Mr Spiegel decided to go ahead anyway.”

Snapchat’s fortunes have nosedived since the redesign has rolled out last year, and its share price currently sits at around the lowest point it has ever been. Despite this, Spiegal netted a cool half a billion dollars last year.

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