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Hack Week at Etsy: Reimagining How We Work

Jul 28, 2015

by Ariana Anthony

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

When you hear the word ‘hack,’ chances are, you’re thinking of something sinister. Cyber attacks. Crude chopping. Unseemly coughs. It’s a shame, really, since ‘hack’ can also mean something wonderful: re-envisioning work and life by coming up with unique solutions to our problems, from the incredibly technical to the simple and mundane. Hacking, in this sense, speaks to an entrepreneurial, creative mindset that we nurture and cherish at Etsy.

At many tech companies, Hack Days and Hackathons are opportunities for developers to set aside time to solve problems that they otherwise don’t get to prioritize in their day-to-day work. At Etsy, we’ve taken this tradition and extended it over a week and asked that the entire company join in. Because “hacking” — the fun, creative kind — is exactly what we’re all about: using our skills to reimagine what we do and how we do it.

On July 13, we kicked off Hack Week at our offices around the world and closed out the week having collaborated on over 75 physical and virtual hacks to make life at Etsy  — in our offices and on our marketplace — even better. Together, we worked on potential site features, improvements and prototypes, and we’ll be sure to share any important updates in the months to come, so stay tuned.

A few physical hacks Etsy employees worked on around the world:

In Dublin, employees greenified our outdoor office areas by creating a balcony orchard, lavender patch and an herb and vegetable garden to use throughout the year, creating beautiful spaces to connect with nature and grow healthy food.

Hack Week in Dublin

Etsy employees in Dublin work together to plant greenery in outdoor office areas.

London employees celebrated their city by painting a mural together, inspired by a cross-stitch pattern made by Etsy seller Satsuma Street (pictured on the right).

Hack Week in London

A Hack Week mural painted by Etsy employees in London (left), inspired by a cross-stitch item made by Satsuma Street (right).

In Melbourne and San Francisco, employees decorated their office spaces with hand-painted murals and unique items made and curated by local Etsy sellers.

Hack Week in Melbourne and San Francisco

A hand-painted mural in the San Francisco Etsy office (left) and Etsy seller decorations in the Melbourne office (right).

At our Brooklyn headquarters, employees worked on group quilt-making, reorganized our bike room, debuted a new employee counting system for our food program and resurrected the Etsy Record Wall, an old office decoration of vinyl records that was torn down during a prior office move.

Hack Week in Brooklyn

Various physical hacks Brooklyn employees worked on during Hack Week. From left to right: employee counting machine for the Etsy food program, the newly-resurrected Etsy Record Wall, employees making a quilt together and a reorganized tool shelf in our office bike room.

Of course, we kept it real with employee-led scavenger hunts, an office dog show and pun-heavy decorations:

Etsy employees “keep it real” during Hack Week. From left to right: an office dog show, ‘Shaq Week’ office decorations, and various employees taking photos for an internal scavenger hunt.

At Etsy, there’s an electric energy in our offices that’s even more vibrant during Hack Week, which no doubt played an important part in pushing through all of the unique, inventive projects we collaborated on together.

You can still feel it, especially considering that the result of our efforts are often vividly visible, from our walls to our desks to the site itself. Here’s to enjoying the spirit of Hack Week all year long.