I never thought I would be writing this letter when I joined Etsy almost three years ago. Then there were 60 people at the company — now we are 200. I’ve been here for a long time and we’ve been through a lot. Some of you who have been with us since the beginning know that I joined at a time of great technology turmoil. After describing a long litany of technical problems (writing from an air mattress in my new apartment in Brooklyn), I explained my new role and wrote:
There are issues to address now and there will most certainly be bumps on the technology side as Etsy grows, but I want all of you Etsians to know that it is an honor and a privilege to be serving the Etsy community as your CTO. If you can give me some time and understanding here in my early days at Etsy, I hope to make you proud.
After three years, I am really proud of the engineering team we’ve built together here and the progress that we’ve made. We’ve more than quadrupled the engineering team, and the team is moving quickly and getting things done. This spring, we put on a series of public technology talks for other engineers that described how we do things in the engineering team at Etsy. We called the talks “moving fast at scale,” pointing to both the growth of the team and our technology platform and the speed with which we have been working. Etsy is much larger than when I joined — in people in the company and the community itself. More than 25 million people visit Etsy each month. The marketplace has 10 million handmade, vintage items, and craft supplies listed across the 800,000 active shops that call Etsy home, and sales are up over 70% from last year. Etsy is stronger than ever.
With engineering well in hand and a strong partner in Adam Freed (our COO), it’s time for me to focus my attention on other aspects of the business. I’m stepping into the role of CEO at Etsy, and I’m looking forward to working with all of the teams at Etsy to move faster as we scale while staying true to our values.
Before we talk about the future, I wanted to say a heartfelt thanks to Rob Kalin. Rob started Etsy. It was his idea. Hiring me was his idea. We all owe him a huge debt for starting the company that we all love, and I owe him a huge personal debt for bringing me to Etsy. Thanks, Rob.
As CEO, I’m going to focus the entire company on moving faster and more purposefully, learning by doing, iterating, and taking risks. That’s a long way of saying we’re going to get things done. I’m going to prioritize the needs of the Etsy community in the broadest sense — Etsy’s sellers, how we work with each other within the company, our local communities, and everyone whose lives we touch. It’s a big responsibility that I take very seriously.
Etsy is a marketplace, but what makes it special is that it’s more than a place to buy and sell. It’s also a marketplace of personal stories and connections. Over the holidays, I headed to a retreat in Ocracoke Island in North Carolina (my first real vacation in over two years at Etsy). Ocracoke is deserted in the winter, has only 700 permanent residents, and is only reachable by ferry. My intention was to totally unplug from the world, but I couldn’t resist looking to see if there were any Etsy sellers in this unlikely place, and I found Mary Haggerty, a successful photographer. Mary is a photographer with not one but two shops on Etsy: PhotoAmerica and MagicIsland. Mary is a photographer and she took me out in her Jeep on her daily ride on the beach, and I brought my camera along, too. Here’s Mary:
As she told me about her experience selling on Etsy and I took notes, Mary pointed out dolphins out in the ocean.
You can find the heart and soul of Etsy anywhere you go in the world with people like Mary (and, if you’re lucky, dolphins, too). When I arrived back in Brooklyn, I ordered one of Mary’s awesome prints. It was more than a simple transaction, and that’s what makes Etsy what it is.
We have a lot of hard work ahead of us, and I’m looking forward to continuing working with all of you in my new role. I came to Etsy because I believe in what we can do together to transform people’s lives and I love this company’s culture: the creativity, the passion, and the love within the community. This is my beginning as the new leader of the company, and I look forward to making Etsy an even better place for all of you.