Lead community engineer Zac Citron (brother to Discord CEO Jason Citron), known online as Zencha, has departed from his role at Discord. He announced the news earlier today via his Twitter, in brief video listing his accomplishments at the company.
In the space of online chat applications, Discord is hardly a unique competitor – and many of its defining features now, such as Go Live, were absent from the early days of the platform five years ago. One of the defining characteristics of early Discord was its wacker marketing videos, which were uploaded often to the DiscordApp Youtube Channel. Outreach on other platforms like reddit and YouTube through these videos were critical to Discord's early success (though later advertising on Twitch helped significantly).
While some users have expressed discontent with Discord's eccentric presentation, there is no doubt that Zencha's marketing genius is recognized by the majority as being a key component of the platform's apperance. So, what's next?
At the end of his video, Zencha mentions that he hopes the company "can continue to maintain the spirit and the voice, and be on the side of the consumer." While the cause of his departure was not stated in the video, this crpytic statement suggests some tension between the desires of the employees and the direction of the company.
A month ago, Discord announced that it made an "unknown number of layoffs within its marketing department", per gamesindustry.biz. Given the timing of Zencha announcing his departure, it appears that he was one of those affected by the layoff. This set of layoffs also came on the heels of Discord cutting its games store from the platform, reducing the set of benefits offered to its upper tier of Nitro subscriber.
With the loss of their best creative mind, Discord is now just one step closer to falling into the Silicon Valley corporatism trap.