Cameo, the company that lets you pay a celebrity to record a custom message or skip a video call with you, has announced that they are laying off 87 people, or about a quarter of employees, according to The information. According to the report, the employees received the news at a general meeting on Wednesday.
The company’s co-founder and CEO Steven Galanis says the layoffs are a “price correction” after Cameo grew massively during the pandemic. The company went “from just over 100 to almost 400” employees under closure, according to Galanis’ statement to Variety. Since then, he says, “market conditions have changed rapidly.”[ads1]; Early in 2021, Variety reported that the company’s revenues were 4.5 times higher in 2020 than it had been in 2019. Galanis told the outlet that the success was partly because so many players approached the platform after other projects were put on hold, and predicted that they would stay .
It sounds as if that prediction did not quite materialize, given that the company is now shrinking the workforce by a significant amount.
On Twitter, Galani’s other companies asked to hire members of the “Cameo Fameo” who have been laid off. Although it’s a nice feeling, the tone is … difficult, to say the least. Managers who say that their company is like a family and then let a large part of their employees go are unfortunately nothing new, and it is almost always unpleasant to see the corporate culture crash into the realities of capitalism. But using a sweet name for your workers in connection with the public announcement of layoffs is unlikely to dampen that blow.
(Also: I understand that CEOs are likely to experience an emotional toll when they let people go – they have failed people who put their livelihood in their care. But perhaps they should not call it a “brutal day in the office”, given that it probably was much worse for people who actually lost their jobs.)
Galanis is not necessarily known for his tact, though; in March, he allegedly said that Web3 was like Europe’s colonization of America, and made an analogy about trading pearls for the island of Manhattan. This was apparently meant to make Web3 seem like a good thing. In his statement to Variety Regarding layoffs, Galanis said he wanted to ensure that the company had “the time and space to nurture newer business segments such as Cameo for Business, Represent and web3.” On Tuesday, the company announced its latest Cameo for Business venture; a partnership with Snap, Inc. where advertisers will be able to hire Cameo practitioners to appear in ads on Snapchat.