A wholly unscientific index of the things that inspired Etsy staff in 2011.
#1: An Optimistic Pledge
Randy J. Hunt, creative director
I first became aware of the work of David Barringer when I read his long-form rant and criticism of the graphic design world, An American Mutt Barks in the Yard. Just this week I discovered a surprise: his beautifully crafted poster titled My Pledge. Behind the abstract geometric forms and the glittery blocks of bright color that pull me in, there’s something deeper — David’s non-partisan ethical pledge for upcoming elections. My two favorite items: “I shall not blame my neighbors for the misbehavior of politicians. I shall vote my conscience, not my spite, for the good of the country, not the good of its leaders.” Serious things are happening in the world, we care deeply about them, and yet we must never take ourselves too seriously. A promise, some hard work and a smile will get us there. Our pledge. Thanks, David.
#2: Internet Infatuations
Alison Feldmann, blog editor
Is it odd to be thankful for a content platform? Because I have a pretty deep Internet infatuation with virtual pin-board Pinterest. From pizza sleeping bags to pugs in hats and instructions for baking brownies in an egg shell (!), the discoveries I make on Pinterest push my mouse toward endless scroll. And seeing Etsy through the world’s eyes is always illuminating. How else would I have found this woodchuck in a trapper hat or baby head candy dish? It’s crowd-sourcing at its best. Thank you, Internet! You make life more fun.
#3: Small, Beautiful Stories
Beth Levison, supervising video producer
As a filmmaker, I long held the view that the best stuff out there was in the theaters — big movies, big screens, big stories. But what I’ve come to remember working at Etsy is that the age-old adage, “small is beautiful,” applies to the impossible-to-pin-down and often-surprising short format, too. I am thankful for Vimeo — the incomparable platform for young and veteran filmmakers alike — where I discovered the unforgettable love story, Last Minutes With Oden. I am thankful for my daily dose of the Very Short List, whose editors introduced me to Spike Jonze’s animated gem, Mourir Aupres de Toi. And finally, I am thankful for the filmmakers around the world who have lent their passion, talents, and hard work to Etsy.tv. Each and every one of you have helped make my job the joy, the challenge, and the exciting endeavor that it has been. Thank you!
#4: Distributed Power
Kellan Elliott-McCrea, chief technology officer
I’m grateful to Dennis Ritchie and John McCarthy for their contributions to our field. For the powerful storytelling empowered by ubiquitous radio-enabled video cameras (a.k.a. smartphones) and civilian UAVs. And for single malt scotch, without which running an e-commerce site during the holidays would not be possible.
#5: Unexpected Collaborations
Vanessa, director of community and education
Combine creative people with tools, and the sprouts will shoot up all over the place. How wonderful to be thankful for something that sprung up unexpectedly. As if just taking the time to utter an idea brings it to life! Such is the case with The Native American Forum: Walking the Red Road, a group who recently won one of Etsy’s Team Spirit Awards. They met on Etsy and started a seed bank for endangered and hard-to-find native plants. This year I heard urban gardeners share tips on using Kickstarter to raise funds, and artisans at a fair coach each other on using a Square device to accept mobile payments. I met a Canadian artist who lives on $13,000 a year, by bartering and not spending on things that don’t matter. I’ve taken notes on the best way to use Twitter — not from social media “gurus” but from real people who are hilarious and smart. I’m thankful for the innovation of small business people and their willingness to share.
#6: Relaxed Lawyers
Sarah Feingold, Etsy counsel
I’m thankful that after more than four-and-a-half years at Etsy, I still look forward to coming to work each day. I get to examine fascinating legal issues, I have supportive and intelligent coworkers, and our creative office and adorable office dogs cannot be beat! I’m also thankful for Etsy’s amazing engineers who build tools to make my life easier. Oh, I’m thankful for my family and for candy. Yum, candy.
#7: Change Is in the Air
Matt Stinchcomb, vice president of marketing
We face the triple threat of climate chaos, the collapse of the global financial system and the end of cheap fossil fuels. If we are going to survive, we must, as E.F. Schumacher writes in Small Is Beautiful, “begin to evolve to a new lifestyle, with new methods of production and new patterns of consumption: a lifestyle designed for permanence.” While these are indeed tumultuous times, I am very thankful: that some people around the world are speaking out against systems they feel no longer represent them. That we are becoming more mindful of our impact on the planet and, hopefully taking steps to change. And finally, I am thankful that Etsy gets to play a part in building this new economy. It’s exciting to see lots of small businesses become more relevant than just a few big ones.
#8: Generosity of Spirit
Chad Dickerson, chief executive officer
Being CEO at Etsy allows me to be a very different kind of leader than at your typical company and I have our community to thank for that. When I was preparing to give a talk called “Finding Your Courage,” they encouraged me to speak from my heart. While I was up on stage in Berlin, I could feel the warmth supporting me. Even when there is disagreement within our community about something we are doing at Etsy, I know it comes from a place of passion and commitment to our mutual success. I can’t thank the Etsy community enough for that generosity.
#9: Embracing the Cheese
Ashish Naik, human resources manager
Cheese-factor alert! I’m thankful for the HR team we hired this year and all of the new faces at Etsy. Plus, dogs in the office, and don’t forget the old faces. I’m glad I get to work with such bright, creative people who all come together to make a positive impact for others. See also: win-win scenarios, challenging both sides of your brain, and pasta (to go with this cheese). Also my pregnant wife and the circle of life. And goodnight!
For what are you thankful?