Losing your job can be a small setback, a personal revelation, or one of the most devastating things to happen in your lifetime, depending on how you handle it. 15 Snapchat employees reportedly found that out the hard way on Wednesday when their positions were eliminated. The function that these employees had performed, curation of Local Stories, no longer needed to be done because the feature was shutting down. Snapchat found that the curation of mundane local goings-on in big cities wasn't bringing in the viewership to be sustainable, and decided to cut the program entirely. Unfortunately, this means that the 15 people in charge of curating those goings-on now find themselves holding severance checks and back on the market.
The time and resources that would have gone into Local Stories will now be funneled into other ventures. Mainly, Snapchat will be focusing on Live Moments, videos recorded at big events like concerts and the Super Bowl. Other content, like licensed content and curations that end up in the Discover section of the app will also be getting more attention in the face of Local Stories' demise. Naturally, this is content that Snapchat can monetize a bit more reliably and powerfully than Local Stories, though popularity played a starring role in the decision to axe the feature and send its curators packing. In a statement, Snapchat did not mention anything about where the employees would go from here or what severance benefits Snapchat may be offering them, only saying that they were "thankful for the contributions from these team members.”
Drawing the curtain on Local Stories is just the latest in a series of moves toward higher profitability and more focused operation by Snapchat. Reportedly, all of this is in preparation for the social photography app to bring forth an initial public offering and finally begin publicly trading company shares on the US Stock Exchange. The core product of bite-sized, user-transmissible photos and videos called Snaps is the most popular feature of the app, but more directed and organized offerings, which turn Snapchat more of a profit, have seen a slow rise in popularity since their introduction. As of this writing, there is no definite timeline for Snapchat to lay out their IPO, though early talks point to the end of this year or the beginning of 2017.