It's time for a friendly chat with Rob and Maria!
We've transcribed the ever-so-informative Lab chat with Rob and Maria that took place this week, and added some helpful interpretations for anyone who has trouble deciphering Fluffinese.
Rokali: ok so I am going to close general chat
Rokali: hi everyone
Rokali: this is Maria
Rokali: to my left
pesmou: yes, Maria is Pesmou, hello!
Rokali: okee, first up, a couple basic items
Rokali: we're not going to use video because with this many people in the room
Rokali: it crashes people's computers
[JUST DO A REACH-AROUND IF IT DOES]
Rokali: next up, there's a question que
Rokali: if you have a question you'd like to ask
Rokali: please do it thusly:
Rokali: type /ask Your Question Here
Rokali: this will add your question to the queue
Rokali: and we'll pick from this list
[PICK THE ONES WE CAN ANSWER AS VAGUELY AS POSSIBLE, THAT IS]
pesmou: hi everyone
pesmou: tonight we're holding office hours
pesmou: at 7 pm ET
pesmou: we realize this may not be a convenient time
pesmou: for all Etsians worldwide
pesmou: in the future, we'll try to vary times so
pesmou: more people can participate
[WE MIGHT MAKE IT DURING OUR MORNING LATTE INSTEAD OF THE AFTERNOON ESPRESSO]
pesmou: so, that's it for housekeeping
pesmou: i wanted to kick off by saying thanks to all of you
pesmou: for such a warm welcome
[THANKS, WE GOT YOUR PIES AND DRY ICE]
pesmou: many of you have seen the articles that
pesmou: Rob and I wrote for the Storque last week
pesmou: if you have not, they are here: http://www.etsy.com/storque/section/etsyNews/article/the-long-view-rob-maria/2150/
pesmou: i wanted to reiterate some key thoughts
pesmou: from my article
pesmou: first, i am listening. that's what we want to do tonight
pesmou: we're here to listen
[AS MUCH AS WE CAN HEAR OVER CHRIS’S GUITAR HERO, ANYWAY]
pesmou: we're not going to have all the answers that you may be looking for
[OR ANY ANSWER, FOR THAT MATTER]
pesmou: for example, i know that some of you have been asking about
pesmou: a timeline to for what's coming up on Etsy.com or
pesmou: what's in our pipeline so to speak
pesmou: that's not something we can offer tonight
[THE PIPELINE HAS A MAJOR CLOG AND DO YOU KNOW HOW HARD IT IS TO GET A PLUMBER IN NEW YORK?]
pesmou: however, you should know that I consider one of my
pesmou: primary responsibilites at Etsy the development
pesmou: of a more formalized process for establishing
pesmou: priorities based on many inputs, including listening to all of you
[EVEN YOU BASHERS – OOPS, I MEANT “CRITICS’]
pesmou: i think it's important to develop within Etsy
pesmou: a process by which we identify, scope and prioritize
pesmou: projects and develop more formalized "released cycles
pesmou: oops, release cycles
[GIVE ME A MINUTE HERE, I’VE MISPLACED MY LIST OF RANDOM BUSINESS JARGON]
pesmou: so, i have started this process within Etsy. as i mentioned in
Rokali: (she's really cracking the whip, I assue you)
[WHICH IS WHY I’M STANDING UP TODAY]
pesmou: you may have noticed that in the
pesmou: last few weeks we've released a number of smaller (and some larger)
pesmou: projects that were in the queu. for example, fulfilling our
pesmou: 4 month process to Vintage and Supplies sellers, fixing views, and
[I STILL CAN’T BELIEVE WE SUCKERED THOSE V&S SELLERS INTO THAT DEAL]
pesmou: several other things that i think many of you have been asking for
pesmou: i'm not syaing we've got it all right. we don't.
pesmou: so, i want you to know that i am listening not only to what's
pesmou: going on in the Forums (the Forum moderators update
pesmou: me every day,; thank you Forum moderators!)
pesmou: and i am talking regularly with our customer support staff
[WHEN MR. BONZO ISN’T BUSY EATING HIS BANANAS OR FLINGING POOP, THAT IS]
pesmou: i am reading lots of customer emails and understand that some of
pesmou: you are not fully satisfied with Etsy's customer support
[MR. BONZO HASN’T FULLY MASTERED THE KEYBOARD YET, BUT HE’S TRYING]
pesmou: i cannot say that i fully understand yet what all the issues may be but I do know
pesmou: that there is a hard working group of folks here at Etsy who are
pesmou: committed to customer support.
[MR. BONZO RIDES HIS TRICYCLE REALLY FAST TO WORK EVERY DAY]
pesmou: one last point from me before Rokali jumps back in
pesmou: i mentione dthis in my Storque article and I want to say it again here
pesmou: Etsy has grown fairly quickly and part of my role at the company is to help
pesmou: it grown, mature an thrive for the long-term.
pesmou: for that, i am going to need help. we're going to be looking for a few folks to help
pesmou: ..a few folks with deep experience across disciplines
[FOLKS WHO CAN MAKE CUPCAKES WHILE LYING IN A HAMMOCK]
pesmou: t...a few folks who have helped compnaies move through growth phases and have helped
pesmou: "scale" businesses
[REALLY BIG CUPCAKES]
pesmou: to help share their experiences with the amazingly creative
pesmou: staff at Etsy.
pesmou: so, from me: get the people and the process in step and the product will follow.
[LIKE A MASS-PRODUCED CUPCAKE ASSEMBLY LINE]
Rokali: OK, let's head on over to the question queue
Rokali: first, a preface
Rokali: There are a number of questions in the queue that warrant a yes or no answer, and for many of these, we do not have a yes or no answer right now.
[WE WERE TOO BUSY EATING CUPCAKES TO FIGURE IT OUT]
Rokali: If you feel that this means this whole meeting is fluff, we're sorry. What we're doing here is important, in the bigger picture. We're listening to what you want, and we want to create the best marketplace we can.
[AND IF THAT MEANS WE HAVE TO CHARGE YOU MONEY FOR THINGS LIKE STATISTICS WHEN YOU CAN GET THEM FOR FREE VIRTUALLY EVERYWHERE ELSE, THEN BY GOD THAT’S WHAT WE’LL DO]
Rokali: Does this mean a marketplace with a dolls & miniatures top-level category? Our answer is this: we *do* want a section of the site for these items, but we are not sure if the right answer is a top-level category.
[WE’LL SEE IF WE CAN FIT YOU IN UNDER “PLANTS AND EDIBLES”]
Rokali: We're re-examining the entire category structure, and as part of this project we're taking all the suggestions. We see the enormous support for dolls & miniatures, so that's certainly in our minds as we plan.
[PLANTS AND EDIBLES IT IS]
Rokali: We hear you loud & clear
Rokali: we know you've even been in this room for a while
Rokali: before we arrived
Rokali: we really respect that
Rokali: this approach to categories applies to the other requests for new top-level categories (fine art, mosaics, there are many).
Rokali: we're approaching this as the major proejct it is
Rokali: we're doing our homework
Rokali: and your voices are being heard
[PLANTS AND EDIBLES IT IS]
Rokali: so, we're going to move onto other q's in the queue
thecraftykitten asks, Is it possible to receive a transcript of this meeting?
pesmou: we're recording minutes of these office hours and
pesmou: we'll publish them in the Storque
[WHERE YOU WILL NEVER EVER FIND THEM AND YOU’LL END UP READING ABOUT TRADITIONAL MID-WEST GRANDMA CRAFTS INSTEAD]
CombustionGlassworks asks, "Why no Vacation Mode? We Need it."
pesmou: i am aware of this and know that it is something that's been asked for
pesmou: it is on our current project list
pesmou: i cannot give you a completion date but it is there and work is starting
[THE PEOPLE WHO ARE WORKING ON IT ARE ON VACATION]
cms36451 asks, how many people are staffed within Etsy?
Rokali: we keep our About page up to date, so you can always go and see who works here there
Rokali: right now it's just over 60 employees
Rokali: though it still feels like a small family
[BECAUSE WE ONLY HIRE FRIENDS AND FAMILY OF EMPLOYEES, THAT’S WHY]
dancingcircle asks, How "large" does Etsy plan to become?
pesmou: hi dancingcircle
pesmou: first, i think you asked earlier about Etsy hiring folks over thirty
pesmou: well, i;m in the over 40 crowd
[THEY GAVE ME AN OXYGEN TANK AS A WELCOMING GIFT]
pesmou: it's a little hard to breath up here but we're doing ok!
pesmou: i think it's less about age and more about experience and attitude
pesmou: so, as I already mentioned, Etsy will be looking for a few folks
pesmou: with deep experience is functional areas to help us do things we
[REMEMBER: CUPCAKES + HAMMOCK = FUNCTION]
pesmou: haven't done before
pesmou: how large will we grow?
pesmou: we don't have a specific goal for a number of staff
pesmou: i think the more important issue is:
pesmou: what are we ttrying to build and how many people does it take to do that well
[WE DON’T KNOW HOW MANY PEOPLE IT TAKES TO PISS YOU ALL OFF BUT I THINK WE’RE GETTING CLOSE]
pesmou: so, without going on too impolitiely long, i will say simply that
pesmou: i think Etsy, with you help, has a huge opportunity in front of it to create
pesmou: an amazing and fun global marketplace where people
[GLOBAL BUT WITHOUT PAYING ATTENTION TO THOSE ANNOYING INTERNATIONAL SELLERS AND THEIR STUPID CURRENCY LAWS]
juliebcreative asks, other than coop advertising, does etsy plan to do its own advertising or techniques to get new buyers onto the site?
Rokali: (sorry 'bout that, Maria can finish her sentence)
pesmou: can experience the stories behind interetsing, high quality items
Rokali: Yes, we do plan on advertising
Rokali: especially to demographics that don't know much about Etsy yet
Rokali: most of the world doesn't know what Etsy is it
Rokali: which is a big opportunity
Rokali: we just want to make sure we spend our resources wisely
Rokali: because a lot of advertising is extremely expensive
[BRE SPENT ALL OF THE $27 MILLION ON HAMMOCK THREAD]
dancingcircle asks, does Etsy plan to directly "compete" with Ebay/Amazon, etc. for the handmade market?
Rokali: the web is an open platform, for the most part
Rokali: so just by having an ecommerce site, we're cometing with them
Rokali: there are more handmade items on Etsy than eBay or Amazon, from my research
Rokali: so we're already larger than them in this respect
[WE’RE WORKING ON CATCHING UP TO THEM IN THE MASS-PRODUCED CRAP RESPECT]
sherrytruitt asks, thanks. I'm most interested to know your plan to protect the integrity of the site from the daily influx of resellers.
pesmou: this reminds me that some of you have been asking about Etsy's
pesmou: flagging system
pesmou: i m aware of the issues and we do have a project in the pipeline
pesmou: that will, when completed, make the flagging process more
pesmou: seamless for both those reporting flags and
pesmou: staff receiving them.
pesmou: that should help us at least scope the problem and begin to
pesmou: more systematically identify solutions
[OUR PLAN IS TO HAVE STAFF MEMBERS ACTUALLY LOOK FOR RESELLERS]
juliebcreative asks, Do you find it diffucult to balance what the users want and the direction in which you want etsy to go in, or are they usually parallel desires?
Rokali: this is a great question
Rokali: what you all say has a big impact on what we do
Rokali: and what we want to do
Rokali: the difficult part is launching everything quickly
Rokali: the first step is our own internal prioritized list
Rokali: and we have that
Rokali: the next steps are sharing what we can with everyone
Rokali: about what's coming
[HA HA HA LET THEM TRY TO FIGURE OUT WHAT THAT MEANS]
Art2ArtColorado asks, Do you have any specific marketing or ad campaign plans for the holiday season?
pesmou: we're working on our holiday planning now
pesmou: we don't yet have plans for an ad campign per se but
pesmou: we are organizing our messaging, press kits and trying
pesmou: prioritize site features that we think are particularly important around
[WE’RE GOING TO ASK ALL ETSY MEMBERS TO WRITE TO SANTA CLAUS AND GET HIM TO GIVE US A NEW HALF-PIPE]
Rokali: one more point on the previous question: we understand that Etsy members gauge our work by new features. We don't have anyone requesting a better internal process for getting work done here. But that's certainly a prerequisite for the new features you want.
[YOU ALL PROBABLY ASSUMED OUR INTERNAL PROCESS WAS SUFFICIENT TO MAKE PROGRESS, HA HA HA THE JOKE’S ON YOU!]
CatherineMarissa asks, What is the plan for marketing to new buyers (maybe in a variety of demographics)?
Rokali: we're identifying the best way to reach people
Rokali: there's a basic formular which runs like this:
Rokali: Acquisition > Conversion > Retention
Rokali: acquisition is getting people here
Rokali: conversion is getting them to buy something
Rokali: retention is keeping them as a customer
[OH LOOK, I FOUND THE RANDOM BUSINESS JARGON LIST]
Rokali: a lot of you see these challenges with your own shops
Rokali: we arei ndeed focusing on getting more and more buyers here
Rokali: in a sense, lots of buyers is the best feature Etsy can offer
Rokali: but of course we know you need a lot more than that
Rokali: so right now we're doing our research
Rokali: target demographics
[MOSTLY GIRLS WITH REALLY BIG HEADS WHO LIKE TO PLAY SCRABBLE]
GreenMamba asks, When will Etsy eliminate the need to re-list for exposure - the site is too big and membership too large to rely on such a limited and unfairly-weighted system.
pesmou: this is a very good question
pesmou: i don't think it's about the size of the site as much as it is about the
[IT’S NOT THE SIZE, IT’S HOW YOU USE IT]
pesmou: user experince. my goal is to create a search function that
Rokali: (related question:)
TasGems asks, what changes are going to be made to search?
pesmou: serves the users...allows for various forms of fiiltering and
pesmou: narrowing search so that users can more easily and quickly
pesmou: find their way to great stuff on Etsy.
[GREAT MASS-PRODUCED RESOLD STUFF]
Rokali: the personalized search would work so well on Etsy, and it's a big technical challenge we're gearing up for
pesmou: so, i think we have to think of search as a function for users (as Google did)
pesmou: later on, we may find that there is a way to simultaneously
pesmou: serve sellers withthe same function
pesmou: so that's definitely on my mind
Rokali: I'm going to do a quick poll on this topic, because there are a couple different ways to look at search: form the buyer's perspective and the seller's
[AND MY OWN BIZARRE PERSPECTIVE WHICH I AM ABOUT TO REVEAL]
Rokali: from the buyer's perspective
Rokali: I just want to see what I want
Rokali: from the seller's perspective, I am going to be a bit territorial
Rokali: so imagine if we had a relevancy engine
Rokali: that knew "If I buy items A and B, I will probably want to buy item C"
Rokali: so, if I'm a buyer
Rokali: and I'm looking at Item A
Rokali: it's helpful to me if I can see Item C
Rokali: on the same page
Rokali: but that might mean, putting another seller's items on your item view page
Rokali: let's do a quick yay or nay on this
[AM I ABSOLUTELY BAT-SHIT CRAZY OR WHAT?]
Please vote: Would you approve of related items on an item view page, if it meant items form other sellers?
Rokali: ok, interesting, I'm just putting this out there, this isn't something we're about to launch
Rokali: ok, oll overVote results: 43 yay, 68 nay, 39 abstain
[OH GOOD, 43 OF YOU ARE AS BAT-SHIT CRAZY AS I AM]
Rokali: thanks for that
TasGems asks, are there plans in the short term to help international sellers eg ability to pay etsy fees by paypal?
pesmou: we are looking at enabling all sellers (not just int'l sellers) to pay
pesmou: their Etsy fees via PayPal. We don't have a full
pesmou: solution yet, but we're working on it
[TOO BUSY WITH CUPCAKES, YOU KNOW]
sarahleeab asks, Rob, in the storque article you said that your role with Etsy will be changing. How so?
Rokali: it's been a great learning experience for me, watching Maria work here
Rokali: it's one of those things, where you start a company, and it grows so quickly
Rokali: and with a Web company, we can't ever close shop at 5pm to clean up
Rokali: watching her work has shown me two things
Rokali: 1) what I'm personally best at
[STOCK BOY AT A CAMERA SHOP]
Rokali: 2) what she's better than I am at doing
[RUNNING A MULTI-MILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS]
Rokali: I love Etsy and I'll keep giving it my all
Rokali: but I want to do it in a way that's best for me & for Etsy
[I’LL BE STOCKING THE LABS WITH CUPCAKE INGREDIENTS]
Rokali: this will certainly mean more product work, and I'd like to get bakc in the forums more
[I MISS PARTICIPATING IN THREADS ABOUT VAGINAL YEAST]
Rokali: Maria's strengths are with the running the organization, finances, planning
Rokali: so we'll play to her strengths, and play to
minemiriam asks, don't you need staff located in portugal?
pesmou: we have two Portugese speakers on staff!
[SEE, LOOK, WE ANSWERED A QUESTION]
dancingcircle asks, Will The Storque be revamped?
pesmou: we're looking at content and commerce and how they can best work together
pesmou: we understand that Storque is currently fuflilling at least two roles: Etsy News &
[PRETEND IT’S NOT A POOR SUBSTITUTE FOR UEN]
pesmou: more of a lifestyle blog featuring content that refelcts Etsy's
pesmou: values. so, we're looking at how to best present both types of content.
[WE’RE THINKING OF PACKING IT IN DRY ICE AND MAILING IT TO EVERYONE]
stonesoupjewelry asks, How would you describe your vision for what Etsy will become? Does the scope of the future as you see it continue to include supplies/vintage as part of the main site?
Rokali: yes, we think Supplies & Vintage can fit in, and that they're also useful to crafters
[PLUS THEY MAKE US A SHITLOAD OF MONEY AND MR. BONZO NEEDS A NEW TRICYCLE]
Rokali: we udnerstand there's some work to do on HOW they fit in
Rokali: and we'll hold more focused discussions on this issue
cms36451 asks, could you all give us some pointers as to how to better promote out shops and generate more sales?
pesmou: there are regular shop critiques offers via the virtual labs
pesmou: just check the schedule. in addiiton, there is an
pesmou: entire series in the Storque geared towards marketing
pesmou: tips for your shop. Lastly the Forums are a great place to get
pesmou: marketing tips for your shop from other Etsy sellers.
[JUST PRETEND THAT THE CRITIQUES FORUM ISN’T JUST A PLATFORM FOR THINLY-VEILED PROMOS]
BoutiqueCandle asks, I find that my demographic - mid 40s - would be prime candidates as Etsy shoppers and yet none seem to know of it until I educate them.
Rokali: it'd help us if you could tell us where you look, where you'd see an Etsy ad
Rokali: that you'd follow up on
Rokali: so please email firstname.lastname@example.org with any ideas
Rokali: and we'll gladly follow up with you
[UNLESS YOUR IDEA OF ADVERTISING INVOLVES US SPENDING ANY MONEY, IN THAT CASE DON’T BOTHER]
TasGems asks, how are communications going to be improved?
Rokali: we've taken a step back and looked at all the ways we communicate
Rokali: and where people look
Rokali: and we're revamping how that works
Rokali: we know Etsy News stuff gets a bit buried in the Storque
[PRETEND IT’S NOT A POOR SUBSTITUTE FOR UEN]
Rokali: and we simply want to put info where as many people will see it
[EVEN THOUGH WE REFUSE TO MAKE STICKIES OR AN ANNOUNCEMENT BOARD IN THE FORUMS]
Rokali: so that's our goal as we revamp mostlyart asks, do you want to keep etsy more a "crafter" site than finer arts? In your heart, is that what you want? crafts/crafters?
Rokali: I don't think there needs to be such a divide
Rokali: there can be room for both
[PLUS ROOM FOR THE MASS-PRODUCED RESOLD CRAP]
Rokali: as long as the website is nimble enough
Rokali: it's like this "alt craft" thing
Please vote: Have you heard the term Alt Craft before?
Rokali: "Alt Craft" is this term invented by some folks to refer to Etsy
Rokali: they see us as some new wave
Rokali: which just seems silly to me
[IT SECRETLY PLEASES ME TO NO END]
Vote results: 25 yay, 85 nay, 30 abstain
Rokali: anyhow, there are many different items, people, and tastes here
Rokali: and the beauty of a website is we have unlimited shelf space, so to speak
[YES, WE HAVE SPACE FOR OVER 100,000 EMPTY SHOPS AND MORE TO COME]
FlowerBedHead asks, Rob do you feel like ESTY is growing in the same direction you had originally envisioned?
Rokali: yes and no
Rokali: I envisioned it'd all be much more straightforward
[I THOUGHT I WOULD BE WELCOMED AS YOUR KING]
Rokali: at one time, I thought we'd never need more that 10 employees to run the whol company
[I KEPT ALL THE RECEIPTS IN A SHOEBOX TOO]
Rokali: on the other hand, the spirit of connection people is here in abundance
Rokali: sometimes my desk job duties pull me away a bit too much
Rokali: and I don't see the sunshine much
[THE VITAMIN D DEFICIENCY IS MAKING ME CRABBY]
Rokali: but we're working it out
Rokali: it'll keep changing
Rokali: I want Etsy to exist for 100 years
[AND THEN YOU CAN UNFREEZE MY HEAD AND TRANSPLANT IT TO A NEW BODY SO I CAN REIGN OVER YOU FOR ANOTHER CENTURY]
pesmou: I i can confirm that he doesn't see much sun)
[AND I THINK HE HAS SCURVY TOO]
Rokali: we'll take a couple more questions form the queue
Rokali: there are still a bunch in there we didn't get to, and for those
Rokali: you can convo me directly to discuss them, or we can talk about them next time
[OR I’LL COMPLETELY IGNORE YOU, AFTER ALL, I HAVE CUPCAKES TO EAT]
Rokali: so, last couple
BululuStudio asks, what's the next great (short term) change for Etsy?
Rokali: we've said this before and I'll say it again here because I really believe it
Rokali: there are wonderful changes going on inside Etsy, insofaras how we get work done
Rokali: this will become visible to everyone here once these new processes gain hold
Rokali: that's what I'm most excited about
Rokali: other than that, there's bigger picture stuff like seller
[CAN’T WAIT TO CHARGE MONEY FOR IT!]
Rokali: currency conversion
[CAN’T WAIT TO CHARGE MONEY FOR IT!]
Rokali: things like that
Rokali: ok, last question, and Maria is going to take it
WindysDesigns asks, Maria what brought you to Etsy?
pesmou: for starters, the ide athat a company would actually do something like this
pesmou: build an amazing interface and *talk* to its customers and suers
pesmou: oops, users
[OUR LAWYERS HAVE ADVISED US TO NOT DISCUSS THE LAWSUITS
pesmou: and, authenticity, opportunity and the challenge of building a lasting business
pesmou: i talked about some of these things and my background in
pesmou: my introdcutory video which you can see on the Storque: http://www.etsy.com/storque/section/etsyNews/article/introducing-maria-thomas/1660
pesmou: thank you all for participating and for asking great questions
Rokali: we're going to try out video now
Rokali: this might make your computer explode
[JUST DO A REACH-AROUND]
Rokali: 1 min
Rokali: and thanks to everyone for coming
[HOPEFULLY THAT SHUTS THEM UP FOR A WHILE]
Saturday, July 12, 2008
It's time for a friendly chat with Rob and Maria!