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CEO Letter to the Community: Coronavirus Impacts to Peerspace Operations

To our guests, hosts, shareholders, employees, alumni and friends in the Peerspace community:

The last two weeks have been Peerspace’s most challenging ever. With an increased call for social distancing, Peerspace has seen bookings slow and cancellations increase dramatically.  During this time, we have been working non-stop to address a deluge of customer service requests, while trying to find fair solutions that balance host and guest needs under unprecedented circumstances. We also made substantial changes to our organization that would have been unthinkable even a month ago.

For our Hosts & Guests

Over the last two weeks, we have been slow to communicate — both to your inbound requests and proactively to our community.  My apologies. We have been doing the best we can. Thank you for sticking with us.

As the pandemic unfolded, we realized our Cancellation policy didn’t provide thorough enough guidance for such an unusual situation.  It was important to us to treat every booking made prior to mid-March with an event start date through the end of April as an excused cancellation. For the first time ever, we can now offer Peerspace Credit to guests who are unable to rebook their event — this helps guests and ensures future bookings for our host community. When those options haven’t been sufficient, we have worked with the guest on a refund.

The Peerspace Team

I’m sad to say that I had to lay off a majority of our employees this week.  It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my career. 

Peerspace has always been a special place to work. It has always attracted people who believe in the mission of “bringing people together” and love that they get to work on such a cool, meaningful service.  Along the way, the company filled up with smart, positive, high-integrity people who shared a common passion for what we do and adoration for each other.  

As I delivered the news on Monday, the reactions of shock and confusion turned quickly to understanding and sadness from both those departing and those staying.  This reaction made the layoff all the harder as it reminded us all just how good we’ve had it together.

In addition to layoffs, our remaining staff accepted substantial pay cuts that has enabled us to keep more employees on payroll.

So why did we do it?  In short, we don’t know how long this downturn and the related recovery will last.  We could not bank on government assistance or new sources of funds. We chose to take extreme measures now to ensure Peerspace’s survival for the long-term — to fulfill its mission of bringing people together and continue its role in connecting guests with great hosts.

So What’s Next?

We get back to work.  We get through our support queue.  We find new ways to support our host community, who we know are also hurting right now.  Most importantly — we work our asses off to rebuild the company so we can hire our team back.  

Thank you to our entire Peerspace community — past and present — for your support during this difficult period.  We will get through this together.  

Eric Shoup

CEO Peerspace

About the Author

Eric Shoup
Eric Shoup is the CEO of Peerspace. He's spent his career building online communities. Prior to Peerspace, he was the Chief Operating Officer of Scribd, the world’s largest online library of books. Prior to that, Shoup was the Chief Product Officer at Ancestry.com and spent 5 years at eBay in various product management and general management positions.

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