Great article and pretty sharp analysis. The only thing that you did not take in account is the massive SEO power each of these links you removed have on the home page.
Everyone of the links that are present on the home page are there for a very specific reason and placed at a very specific place.
Whenever I set a new team of developer, I go myself to meet them and create a human contact. I think in remote working, it's a must (while lot of ppl dont really care about it), and my teams are always in different countries.
Then I spend time working with them for a few days, teaching them my methods and my management style.