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Bringing Unpleasant News

The Bearer of Bad News: The Rise of Layoffs.fyi and the Culture of Transparency


In the world of technology, layoffs have become an increasingly common occurrence. With changing market forces and financial pressures, even high-flying startups and established giants sometimes have to let go of employees. But while layoffs were once shrouded in secrecy and shame, the rise of Layoffs.fyi has brought transparency to the process. In this article, we explore the origins of Layoffs.fyi, its impact on the tech industry, and the cultural shift toward openness about layoffs.

The Story of Layoffs.fyi

Layoffs.fyi was started by Roger Lee, a tech entrepreneur who wanted to help people navigate the difficult process of losing their jobs. Lee began tracking layoffs informally in 2015, but it was during the pandemic that Layoffs.fyi took off. Lee cataloged nearly 450,000 tech layoffs in a public spreadsheet, updating the list whenever he could find a few minutes. Layoffs.fyi became a meaningful resource for recruiters and job seekers alike, with media outlets frequently citing Lee’s data.

Despite the heavy toll of layoffs on workers and communities, Lee remains optimistic about the tech industry. He believes that openness about layoffs can help workers find new jobs efficiently. For Lee, talking openly about layoffs is healthy and reduces stigma.

The Culture of Transparency

Layoffs.fyi is both a symptom and a cause of a cultural shift toward transparency about layoffs in tech. As more tech workers are laid off in Silicon Valley, the stigma has almost totally disappeared. Layoffs.fyi has helped workers put their own layoffs in context and has helped the public understand the downturn. Professors and recruiters alike have lauded the site for its ability to fill the gap left by government data.

Moreover, the popularity of Layoffs.fyi has led to a new startup, Comprehensive.io, which tracks compensation in tech job postings. Lee considers Comprehensive.io to be the inverse of Layoffs.fyi – it focuses on opportunities, not cuts. Nonetheless, the success of Comprehensive.io would not have been possible without Layoffs.fyi.

The Bearer of Bad News

Layoffs.fyi has made Lee something of a bearer of bad news. Though he never intended to be the go-to site for tech layoffs, Layoffs.fyi has become a crucial resource for those looking to understand the industry and find new opportunities. Lee follows an informal set of rules for what companies to post about and when, and he avoids breaking news that could cause undue panic. Layoffs.fyi remains a hobby for Lee, but he estimates he spends about $200 each month on server costs.

Related Facts

  • Layoffs.fyi has been live since April 2020
  • The site gets at least a million views per month
  • The site has been covered by multiple media outlets, including The New York Times and Business Insider
  • The pandemic pushed many companies to make drastic cuts, leading to a surge in tech layoffs

Key Takeaway

The rise of Layoffs.fyi and the culture of transparency it represents demonstrate a growing trend in the tech industry. Companies that once kept layoffs a tightly guarded secret are now increasingly willing to be open about their decisions. The reduced stigma around layoffs can help workers find new opportunities, while openness about the industry’s ups and downs can lead to a more informed public.


In a world where jobs in the tech industry are in high demand, layoffs can be both a source of anxiety and opportunity. Layoffs.fyi has helped bring transparency to the process, making it easier for workers to navigate the ever-changing job market. While the site may be a harbinger of bad news for some, it has also sparked a conversation about the challenges and opportunities facing the tech industry today.

Denk Liu
Denk Liuhttps://www.johmm.com
Denk Liu is an honest person who always tells it like it is. He's also very objective, seeing the situation for what it is and not getting wrapped up in emotion. He's a regular guy - witty and smart but not pretentious. He loves playing video games and watching action movies in his free time.

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