Etsy recognized that their engineering team was not as gender diverse as they wanted it to be, even after recognizing the issue and attempting to fix it. Here’s how they made some real progress.
Kellan Elliott-McCrea (@kellan), a former architect at Flickr and co-author of the OAuth spec, is now the CTO at Etsy, the world’s most vibrant handmade marketplace. During his tenure, he’s played a critical role in the company’s restructuring of its engineering organization; now, Etsy hires for diversity, particularly gender diversity. After witnessing first-hand how challenging it can be to attract women engineers, Kellan shares lessons in building a process and culture to attract female engineers. All the good stuff below belongs to him.
Etsy’s decision to pursue women engineers is indicative of a broader change: making diversity a core value. But even after a number of concerted efforts to bring more women talent onboard, the company achieved almost no progress; in fact, one year, they actually saw a thirty-five percent decline in gender diversity even when this was a priority.
Big feature in the NY Times Magazine about online craftsters, specifically Etsy. Thought that this bit about the downside of the site was especially interesting:
Others grouse about another side effect, price pressure: The competition is so intense on the site that new crafters can’t break out, and some established ones feel they cannot raise their prices. That’s a particularly thorny problem if part of your sales pitch is that you’ve made a thing yourself; a careful artisan can’t respond to lower prices with greater volume.
Artisanship doesn’t scale, apprentices take time to train, and people buy products based on price. How do artisans compete?
Speaking of cool Etsy shops, elastiCo is selling pillows and tshirts with the most popular Google News search terms printed on them.
I’m a light Etsy user, but Lost Mitten has a great store: Super Mario Bros drink coasters, Katamari Damacy buttons, Bob-omb needlepoint patch, etc. I’m a proud owner of a set of Bubble Bobble coasters. She takes custom orders, will reissue sold items, and all her stuff is 20% off until Thu. (Know of any good Etsy stores? Share them in the comments.)