Archive for October 12, 2022

Wednesday, October 12, 2022

Sketch Layoffs

Pieter Omvlee and Emanuel Sá:

Today is a very tough day for everyone at Sketch. In response to challenging market conditions and with a desire to keep our product-first strategy, we’ve taken the difficult decision to reduce our team by just over 80 people. This will mostly impact Operations and Marketing, who have done great work in the recent weeks and months. Our Product team remains well-equipped, with a core team continuing to drive things forward.

John Gruber:

That’s about one-third of their headcount, from my understanding. I sure am rooting for Sketch — it’s a such a great product.

Christian Tietze:

This doesn’t mean your or my app will perform worse and that somethings wrong with the Mac; Sketch’s layoffs are just an indicator of how Bohemian Coding, the company behind Sketch, performs, and how they anticipate to make ends meet. (Taking care of almost 300 employees is a tough job I imagine!)

I don’t even necessarily think it means that Sketch the product is performing poorly. Lots of people still use it and like it, and it has a sustainable business model. That it can’t sustain a staff of 280 employees doesn’t mean it can’t have a bright future. For comparison, The Omni Group currently lists a staff of 19. They develop more apps and support more platforms, with 1/10th the number of (post-layoff) people. I’m guessing that Serif, which also supports more apps and platforms, is closer in size to Omni. If Bohemian Coding hadn’t taken VC, they likely would never have hired so many people in the first place.

Instead of despairing from the news, let’s help our fellow devs to find a new role.

Some amazing ex-Sketch folks who are for hire now, that I’ve found thus far[…]

Matt Birchler:

I like the speed of Sketch and that it can both create cloud docs and local docs, both of which are useful to me depending on the situation.

However, Figma is exponentially more powerful and has a more vibrant community around it that makes it even better. And as Nathan says, the fact you must be 100% committed to Macs in your organization (at least in product and design) for Sketch to be at all practical, and most orgs just aren’t.


Update (2022-10-17): Jesús Botella:

Many awesome colleagues were laid off, and their talents are among the best in the industry.

Here’s an alumni list if your company is hiring. Don’t miss out.

Update (2022-11-01): Core Intuition:

Manton and Daniel talk about recent layoffs at Sketch, and what it means for the app’s future. They consider the difficulty for native apps when it comes to competing specifically in the realm of collaboration features. Finally, they take an optimistic view of Sketch’s future as an underdog in the design industry.

Ask Apple

Apple (Hacker News):

Apple today introduced Ask Apple, a new series of interactive Q&As and one-on-one consultations that will provide developers with even more opportunities to connect directly with Apple experts for insight, support, and feedback.


This series will enable developers to ask questions to various Apple team members through Q&As on Slack or in one-on-one office hours. Q&As allow developers to connect with Apple evangelists, engineers, and designers to get their questions answered, share their learnings, and engage with other developers around the world. Office hours are focused on creating and distributing compelling apps that take advantage of the latest in technology and design. Developers can ask for code-level assistance, design guidance, input on implementing technologies and frameworks, advice on resolving issues, or help with App Review Guidelines and distribution tools.


“We’ve been listening to feedback from developers around the world about what will be most helpful to them as they build innovative apps, and we’ve seen an increased appetite for one-on-one support and conversation with Apple experts,” said Susan Prescott[…]

John Gruber:

Anything that puts third-party developers in touch with real engineers inside Apple is good for everyone.

Office hours use Webex and so may be better for certain types of questions than the asynchronous, e-mail based DTS. Often, though, DTS has to confer with a specific engineering team, and I don’t see how that would work on a synchronous call. Is it worth scheduling a session to go through a list of open Radars?

I’m not a big fan of Slack in general, and I don’t think it’s very good as a searchable archive. I wish we could just have mailing lists (like in the old days) or a Discourse forum—with official participation from Apple engineers. That was sort of the promise of the new developer forum, but it still doesn’t work very well, seemingly only a few Apple engineers participate, and most questions remain unanswered.

Or, you know, I don’t want to criticize a new program that will surely help some developers, but the elephant in the room is that Feedback/Radar needs to be fixed. I wish Prescott would focus on that. And documentation.


Update (2022-11-01): Saagar Jha:

Unsolicited feedback but for the amount of effort that seems to be going into the “Ask Apple Q&A” series I feel like getting two dozen answers to people’s specific questions, most of which are “we can’t talk about future plans” or “please send me a FB#”, are not very useful

I think I would prefer a week where the engineers were asked to go through the forum topic they’re responsible for and actually try to answer reasonable questions, like they do at WWDC.

Subclassing for Debugging

Paul Samuels:

A really useful trick when debugging is to subclass the thing you are interested in just to make it easier to search for inside the various debugging tools.


There are plenty more places like instruments, logging etc to make use of this technique.

It can also be useful to subclass to override -retain and -release so you can easily see when they are being called. However, this is only possible if your class inherits from an Objective-C class that you control.