Saturday, July 12, 2008

The more you know...

Our fearless leader recently detailed his extensive resume in a Storque post last week:

"(Maria's) arrival also marks a change in my own role at Etsy. I am 28 years old. Before Etsy, I worked many jobs: cashier at a Marshalls department store, stock boy at a camera shop, freelance carpenter, lowest rung on the ladder at a demolition company, minimum wage floor help at the Strand book store (saving up to go back to college), amanuensis for an eighty-year-old philosopher from Vienna.

All of these jobs prepared me for being an entrepreneur and starting a company. "

Uhm, it does? Sounds to me like it prepares you to be a car wash attendant or professional ass-based drug mule. Amanuensis? Couldn't he just say he worked as a personal assistant to a eccentric European? How about an working like Elaine for an existential Mr Pitt? (I can totally see him being flustered by buying socks.)

But wait there is more goodness to be had on other sites:
"Kalin explains his background: he flunked high school, went to live with an uncle and finally moved to New York. Once he was there, he got an education by stealing people's IDs and going to their classes..." [link]

"Wanted to remain unemployed and start a company. Started six, including carpentry. Did one year of art school in Boston, but had never used computers much." [link]

The saddest part is you'd think in those hours of stolen university courses he'd have at least tried out one goddamn Ethics class.

Most appalling is that he actually seems to be proud of his past as a professional slacker, thief, and liar. Yet he honestly seems stupefied when more and more of us don't trust anything that comes from his mouth. What nerve we have to not take him at his word.

I'm sure he thinks it looks ballsy, daring and resourceful to disclose this seedy past so freely; to me it smells for all world like a classic example of a conman. He seems to have never developed to skill to think more than 20 minutes ahead, let alone the long term and that is becoming more than clear in Etsy's present problems with user's wising up that they deserve to be treated better than being slapped around by this abusive partner.

For a man who "never used computers much" he sure found the right market arena. A million women to sell his now finely polished lines of bullshit and reforge himself as a full fledged indie cult leader complete with vestal cupcake eating virgins washing his feet with their hair.

30 Comments:

forum rubbernecker said...

WHOA BABY! I never heard some of that stuff! Here I thought he was a little bit of a Peter Pan who liked to make stuff. I am a highly educated person and I have NEVER heard anyone use the word amanuesis (or whatever that was) before. Never. And that's even having some writers in my family who sound like that old dude! Amanuesis sounds like a female problem.

Just sayin......

no-cheerleader said...

I'm beginning to feel like you people are clutching at straws. I get that this is EtsyBitch, but so many of the things that get bitched about are irrelevant. You have a problem with the way he grew up? The jobs he had? That can't possibly be constructive criticism, because it's impossible to improve on. Come on now, you can do better than this.

KingPhairy said...

Hmmm..... and Daddy didn't give him a few thousand bucks to buy his first flat, car, or help pay for the mass of coding of the Etsy monster.

This isn't a man who crawled up from any ole gutter. He's trying (badly) to make himself sound like he's had an interesting life - but he's only just out of those diamond encrusted diapers.

(Before I even log onto Etsy to shop, my first stop is you lot with a nice cup of tea in hand! Keep up the good work - always an enjoyable read!)

KingPhairy said...

Hmmm..... and Daddy didn't give him a few thousand bucks to buy his first flat, car, or help pay for the mass of coding of the Etsy monster? Tsk!

This isn't a man who crawled up from any ole gutter. He's trying (badly) to make himself sound like he's had an interesting life - but he's only just out of those diamond encrusted diapers.

(Before I even log onto Etsy to shop, my first stop is you lot with a nice cup of tea in hand! Keep up the good work - always an enjoyable read!)

BitchesBitch said...

Holy moly! That is some awesome dirt I never stumbled upon before. Best reading of the MONTH!
But I completely concur, I think thats a really valid point regarding his obvious inability to think ahead and deal with issues. Makes total sense.
I would e ashamed if I was him, seems like a total scumbag now, and I was someone who dug him before.........

Paula B said...

I had heard of amanuensis, but only because I went to a religious college, and only because we had to remember that Theophilus was St. Luke's (I think?) amanuensis for an exam. (I'd have to dig out my old notebooks to see if I'm remembering this correctly.)

Anyways, my point is that I've never heard it used outside of navel-gazing academic environments. Calling yourself one is REALLY pretentious. It also makes it seem as if he thinks that being a secretary is not a job to be proud of, so it has to be dressed up.

eclipse said...

I've also read that he bluffed his way into a web-design gig by "exaggerating" on the resume about his experience. In the article it said the site still uses his design to this day, so I guess they think the end justifies the means? That it's okay to lie as long as you deliver a good result?
I know lying on resumes is so common these days but I am a bit surprised to see someone bragging about it in interviews. Maybe I'm old fashioned.

el-stinko-armpit said...

This is the best EB entry so far! I hadn't seen any of this stuff, and it is far worse than I could have imagined. What kind of investors hand $$$$ to a d00d with a background like that?

I luved the oxymoronic concept of attending classes for an Ethics course using a stolen ID.

See here for an explanation of 'amanuensis'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amanuensis I guess 'manual labor' fits with his place for 'all things hand made'.

caethes said...

Christ on a bike! That Guardian article? How to screw things up. Guardian readers = left leaning, anti-corporation, pro-recycling/eco-aware, pro-individuality with large amounts of disposable income. A pro-Etsy feature in the Guardian could launch the site over here - and he screws it up.

Why am I not surprised?

rollingstone said...

Actually, I immediately though "enuresis" - which is a fancy word for bed-wetting.

I'm also a highly educated person, and I've never heard that word, either. They must have a big-ass thesaurus kicking around Gold Street.

Thanks so much for the info, EB - I knew there was much more to the story. And frankly, I'm pretty disgusted.

mememe said...

*stands up and applauds*
I loved that bit in that article, implying that somehow all his past work was a carefully planned buildup of experience to launching a website. No, it was you floundering to find a job you didn't have to actually work at.

I love a self-made man, granted, but there's sometimes this implicit sort of understanding that a pulled-himself-by-his-bootstraps Rokali squatted in a basement staring at a pile of Scrabble tiles for inspiration while he worked out the code for the first version of etsy on the back of a napkin.

He had no business experience, no art experience, no leadership experience, no publicity or advertising experience, and really, no PROFESSIONAL experience. And he was given funding to make something, and we wonder why the business he heads is overrun by other hipsters who have no idea how to do basic professional things like customer service and communication.

Sorry, but it'll take more than him finding a few buzzwords in a business book to convince me.

The Funny One said...

There are lots of fish to fry on EB.

Interesting to know where some of the site-personality traits and habits come from - since Etsy operates like a personal platform for all 60 of them. We don't need no stinkin'sellers with all that real retail business and customer service experience!

theoriginalwtf said...

I don't believe that formal education is a guarantee of intelligence. I attended 2 ivy league schools with some of the dumbest people I've ever met and I know really smart people whose brilliance can simply not be captured by standardized tests.

All this to say, I have no problem with his lack of education, or even necessarily his lack of experience. He could have graduated top of his class at Harvard and been the big cheese at Google and I'd still think he's a moron. Why? Because he proves it daily.

Plus, most people who need to prove their smarts by using seldom-used words like "amanuensis", are usually doing so to hide their idiocy.

dumb AND (publicly) insecure... may the goddess help us.

Kali said...

He lies about things with frightening ease. Stealing school IDs so he can take classes for free? And this is the person who wants to create an in-house payment system?? Not with my money he's not!

Please, Maria, stop eating the cupcakes. You're Etsy's only hope.

old hippie bitch said...

Clutching at straws? You're so wrong, no-cheerleader. This is absolutely relevant information. The Emperor has no clothes. The Emperor has no clothes. THE EMPEROR HAS NO DAMN CLOTHES.

theoriginalwtf said...

this is my favorite quote from the guardian article:

Can I just point out that this juncture that Robert's chewing gum while he's doing this talk. It's off-putting, young man.

---

and by "talk" the writer means a presentation at a major international conference *sigh*

theoriginalwtf said...

Oh I take it all back, THIS is my favorite bit in the guardian article (still about RK's conference) presentation:

He's got some interesting stuff to say, but unfortunately none of his demos are working, which means we're not seeing the community stuff on the big screen.
---

Did you try clearing the cache rokali?

ebbandflo said...

i wonder if he purposefully chose a project which would involve lording it over a lot of (grateful) women and SAHM's?

just speculatin'

comeonnow said...

I don't believe that formal education is a guarantee of intelligence. I attended 2 ivy league schools with some of the dumbest people I've ever met and I know really smart people whose brilliance can simply not be captured by standardized tests.


---
Yep. Think about it. If you love Etsy you'd be shouting from the rooftops about how awesome it was that this 'normal guy' never went to college and managed to take this great idea and make it work. Lots of successful, brilliant people never went to college, and lots never even graduated high school. Am I putting Rob Kalin in with that 'brilliant' group? Not necessarily. But, if this blog swung the other way, I guarantee there would be articles praising him as someone who was smart enough to get ahead despite having not finished school.

comeonnow said...

And by 'not necessarily', I meant 'no'. :D

His idea was brilliant. Execution, sucky.

lessa said...

EbbandFlo,

Nah, I think he had visions of being the next Google/YouTube. Make a website, sell it for big bucks and become a member of the young dot.com millionaire set.

Paula B said...

no-cheerleader and kingphairy, I certainly have nothing against having some crap jobs. I've worked everywhere from a goat farm to babysitting kids on welfare for the State.

But I wouldn't cite those experiences as preparing me to run a multimillion dollar company (Ok, the babysitting maybe) and I CERTAINLY wouldn't be bragging about IDENTITY THEFT, JESUS CHRIST.

wristeroni said...

Why am I not the least bit shocked about the stolen id thing? (At least he should be level-headed enough not to share that with an audience . . . don't you think??) Does he think that makes him seem revolutionary or edgy? Please.

The fact that his demos didn't work. at the conference . . . well, that's just par for the course, it seems.

sulking said...

The stolen ID thing is just AWFUL
Bragging about that sort of thing is very worrying.

also from the guardian article:
"Users don't necessarily realise that you and your team are standing between them and the abyss. Things seem more legit, bigger than they might seem."

what does that mean???

el-stinko-armpit said...

I found this comment from Strange Attractor surprising, considering what sells on Etsy:

"If you had to save 10 things from your burning house, you wouldn't grab your flat-screen TV, you'd grab those things that would have meaning to you. Most stuff we have is actually easy to get rid of."

Do Etsy shops mainly sell things that offer potential meaning to the buyer? Are these the items that make up a substantial percentage of what is listed and sold on Etsy? Are these the items that are selected from the treasuries for the homepage? Pfffftttt. Most of the inventory on Etsy is just stuff, d00d. Oh, and you don't grab the teevee because insurance can replace that, duh. Just like most items for sale on Etsy can be replaced since most are not OOAK.

j. hart photography said...

arg... i have read several articles on rob and none really gave me a good feeling. this is the first i've read of him stealing ID's to get into classes but one article did say he "faked his way in".

these articles are from 2007... and a couple of comments said something about the "The Guardian" but i didn't see a link from them mentioned here. did i mention something? i do think there is a Guardian article out there that isn't too flattering.

i googled rob kalin a month or so ago and read everything i could find. none of them boost my confidence in the site.

I'mnotyourbitchbitch said...

Aha, now I know why etsy doesn't care about mistagging and resellers, because they're following his lead and sneaking stuff in, he probably admires that...

sulking said...

jhart - the guardian article is the first link in the second blue box (if that makes sense!)

Grace said...

"amanuensis" is Greek for "cabana boy".

Just sayin'

justalongfortheride said...

Clutching at straws? You're so wrong, no-cheerleader. This is absolutely relevant information. The Emperor has no clothes. The Emperor has no clothes. THE EMPEROR HAS NO DAMN CLOTHES.
-------------------
Man, I couldn't have said it better, myself. The gall and the ego it takes to say working the jobs he's worked prepared him to be an entrepreneur is just preposterous. Hell, I've worked at jobs just like that AND learned a make a shitton of crafts, but that doesn't mean I have any knowledge about running a multi-million dollar internet business. He's got balls and ego the size of Texas and business skills the size of a peanut. And unless he gets his shit together, it will eventually be Etsy's demise.

But then, I don't know...there seems to be an awful lot of cupcake-eating virgins willing to wash his feet...