O’Reilly Media, known for its influential open source conferences and books about coding, has laid off 75 people and shuttered its events business

Tim O'Reilly Liam Casey

On Tuesday, O’Reilly Media, which is known for its software conferences and learning content, laid off 75 employees.
O’Reilly Media announced publicly that it’s canceling all its future in-person conferences and shutting down its events business.
Employees outside the events business, including editors, engineers, and vice presidents, were also laid off, and they were left with a week of health insurance amid the coronavirus pandemic.
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O’Reilly Media, which is known for its software conferences and how-to manuals for computer programming, laid off 75 people on Tuesday.

O’Reilly Media hosts conferences such as the Open Source Software Conference and the Strata Data and AI Conference. It also publishes online courses and books on programming skills like Python and Linux. These books each feature a woodcut animal on the cover. It has over 5,000 companies and 2.5 million users on its learning platform.

In a blog post on Tuesday, O’Reilly Media announced it was cancelling all its future in-person conferences and shutting down that portion of its business. It also said that employees who ran its in-person events business would be leaving the company.

In addition to employees in its events business, O’Reilly Media also laid off other employees across the company, including editors and engineers, as well as four vice presidents and one senior vice president, Business Insider has learned. Prior to layoffs, the company had about 500 employees.

“This week O’Reilly made the incredibly difficult decision to permanently close our in-person conference business,” O’Reilly Media president Laura Baldwin said in a statement to Business Insider. “The ongoing disruption caused by COVID-19 has forced us to make tough choices about our event business. This means we had to lay off 75 employees, primarily from the conferences team.”

While its Strata California and Strata London events were canceled due to concerns about coronavirus, former employees said that O’Reilly’s events business had already been struggling prior to the outbreak. They also said the company didn’t make targets last year.

“They were on a desperate race to keep conferences a viable thing,” a former employee said. “A lot of our work over the last four months or six months was to completely support conferences.”

Former employees said they were notified of the layoffs via email, followed by conference calls. They’re left with one week of health insurance and two months of COBRA, and most of them received two months of severance.

“It seems a little cruel to be let go with one week of health coverage in the middle of a pandemic,” another former employee said.

Last November, O’Reilly Media acquired the interactive learning software company Katacoda, and a former employee said that the company has “hired aggressively” in the past year. Baldwin said that the company’s primary focus is now in online learning.

“These recent changes are not a reflection of where the company was prior to the COVID019 outbreak but a response to the economic uncertainty we are now facing as a global community that is limiting in-person gatherings,” Baldwin said in a statement.

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Source:: Business Insider


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