Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rokali: Cover Model? :::gag:::

Imagine my utter dismay (okay, rage) upon seeing the latest issue of INC on the newsstand. Featured on the cover were four young hipsters. One of them former Etsy CEO, Rokali. I scared the girl checking me out with my ranting.

The story is about the most enterprising 30 entrepreneurs under 30 on the scene today, you can read it here.

Each of the 30 has a little blurb next to their name. Of course Rob's little blurb contains old yarn he loves to tell about how he obtained his education with stolen/faked Student Ids:

Rob Kalin

Current Venture: Etsy, a vast website that helps artisans sell handmade clothing and crafts. The Brooklyn, New York, business processes 20,000 orders a day, at an average sale of $15. The site charges a listing fee and takes a small commission on each transaction.

Why He's One to Watch: In just three years, Etsy has attracted 200,000 sellers, a million registered users, and more than $27 million in funding.

The Backstory: The son of a Boston furniture maker, Kalin flunked out of high school, briefly enrolled in an art school, and then faked an MIT student ID so he could take classes on the sly. He so impressed the professors there that they helped him get into NYU, where he learned how to build a website. In 2005, he launched Etsy with two classmates.

Employees: 65

After Hours: Kalin is learning to sew.

What's Next: Kalin, 28, stepped down as CEO in July, though he remains actively involved as Etsy's chairman and chief creative officer. "A lot of companies are started and prepped for an acquisition," he says. "But I hope this will be an independent company for hundreds of years."

Hundreds of Years Rob? Really? REALLY? Google won't be around in 100 years, ad you think Etsy will be? Are you that naive? I don't give you till 2010.

And stop flaunting your faulty figures, you're the only one who thinks they are accurate. And a teacher helped you get into NYU... Right. Plenty of great universities in Boston, and he helps you get into a school in NYC? Let's talk more about his educational goals, this is from earlier in the article:
Co-founder Rob Kalin, an aspiring classics professor, came up with the idea in 2005 and partnered with two techies whom he met in college to launch it.
So being in Boston, and wanting to teach Classic Literature... of course MIT is the natural college for that... in BOSTON. A town with some of the best universities of classical and liberal arts educations in the world... Harvard, BU, U Mass, Northeastern, Tufts, Suffolk, Emerson just to name a few - and he went to MIT... to study literature at the top tech school?

I also imagine MIT has a top of the line kick ass security system in place - and he sneaks in on a faked id? Riiiiight. I am willing to bet you need significantly more than a faked ID to even get into buildings as almost all colleges are locking down these days requiring codes and swipe cards to even get the door open. That's why I call bullshit on the whole story and always have. I know he thinks it looks daring and bootstrappy, but it just looks like he's lying - about everything.

I do love the start of the article though... The first paragraph is Etsy defined.


Combustion Glassworks said...

the professors also loved him so much they lavished him with gifts of coral nail polish...

jodie nicholson said...


fake ids r cool said...

That college story is heartwarming. When you want something and you don't get it fair and square, go ahead and cheat. Crazy little scamp! Don't worry about the dozens or hundreds ahead of you that didn't squeak in. You want to be there and dammit you're going to go to that college.

Like a rest package in a handmade selling venue. It's all about tenacity.

PoorWhiteVirginiaTrash said...

You know he's stroking it as he reads that shit right? What's next, little Swimmy on a box of Wheaties?

toolazytologin said...

"So being in Boston, and wanting to teach Classic Literature... of course MIT is the natural college for that... in BOSTON. A town with some of the best universities of classical and liberal arts educations in the world... Harvard, BU, U Mass, Northeastern, Tufts, Suffolk, Emerson just o name a few - and he went to MIT... to study literature at the top tech school in the world."

I just peed my pants

Recycled By Hyena said...

Can someone explain me something? Who in the world still think Rokali is in charge of something around Etsy? Who?

Buy out, repeat after me. That's it, we got it, he SOLD Etsy. Duh.

The Funny One said...

This INC feature was written a very long time ago, and things are different today, but the little world of the little upstarts is closed and rather small. Like an Oprah show, they just talk about each other and never say anything of substance.

The unfortunate legacy is that Rokali did most of the hiring, and, unfortunately, those limited minds are still employed there.

Juliette said...


kibbles said...

So.....the secret to success is stolen/fake id's? Damn! Why did I spend so much time in college when I could just be dishonest?
Oy vey!

upsetwithadmin said...

OH! That explains so much. Now I know why Admin lies all the time. Following in the footsteps of their now ex-CEO.

jodie nicholson said...

Perhaps this explains Etsy's 'flexible' attitude to resellers....they're just kooky little scallywags trying to make their mark in this big, crazy world. Hence their constant presence on the front page.

Resellers are Swimmy lovers too, you know!

archaic design said...

dementia and the obsession to pathologically lie about everything.

steal, cheat & lie said...

At this point, maybe Rob should consider politics- that's where all the smooth talking liars and cheaters hang out.

Anonymous said...

Lying, cheating, and misrepresenting are traits to advertise? This is the way to get yourself a lucrative business, and then brag about it?
This is such a Gordon Gekko (sp) profile, and so '80s. Hopefully, no one will be wanting to show off their lack of ethics in the next decade.
Rokalai does not deserve any of these accolades; he deserves scorn. It should not be surprising that someone with zero ethics and a big line of "community" bullshit founded a company that is a true child of its father.

hee haw said...

Kalin's Forged Nametag reads...

"Hi, my name is Rob and I have no integrity. None. Nada. I'm a Liar.

Did I mention I have an impressive 4 inches when hard? It's true."

(It's not.)

ebbandflo said...

isn't it heartwarming to see the love oozing out of every orifice for the man who singlehandedly brought about the handmade revolution and made it possible for so many to QYDJ?
at some point maybe he will find something meaningful so he too can follow in their footsteps. that's a wish i hold dear to my heart. all speed swimmy jnr.

angelstuff said...

Over on the sidebar of that article there's a link to a great article about communication.

Etsy sucks ass at communicating (ok, they suck ass at a lot of things like integrity and quality of work, but communication is right up there) and could learn a hell of a lot by reading and trying out some of the things in the article.

I found it ironic that this fantastic article is next to an article containing swimmy-loving rokali who's the biggest communication ass-sucker.

I'd never heard that he wanted to be a classics professor. That goal usually requires a PhD, meaning years and years of legitimate university attendance. And funny, he's never even mentioned anything to do with the classics. Stupid swimmy.

spamberly said...

though i agree with the general vibe of this post, i need to add some clarification.

as an employee of MIT, i can tell you that our infrastructural security is seriously lacking. it's non-existent, actually. oh sure, there are card-sliders next to doors, but the doors are unlocked.

attending class in one of those 500-seat classrooms would be sooooo easy.

please don't use this information to go buy yourself an Oozie and shoot up our vulnerable campus. thanks.

gremlin said...

I was in a non-MIT improv troupe that used MIT classrooms for free rehearsal space. Why? 'Cause anyone can just WALK IN. It'd be easy-peasy to walk into classes and sit in on them. People do it all the time.

Ladies Auxilliary said...

I love it when the press catches on to a story, or a phenomenon, after it's already over.

(And has crashed and is in the process of burning.)


forum rubbernecker said...

Even if you dislike Rokali, he had a good idea. We all came, didn't we? :-)

The Disgruntled One said...

Yeah, he actually had a great idea. I've never denied that. And we all came to his party.

It was pretty cool for a while.

But he hired idiots, had no idea how to manage a business, was too arrogant to take advice and started believing his own press.


Beadz n' Thingz said...

I do think that the original idea of Etsy was cool, its the execution that sucks.

As of now, it is a bit like gambling with a broken slot machine, continually pumping in your $0.20, while the admins are all laughing behind your back because they removed the "out of order" sign.

Sigh - what a waste of a great concept...

yep said...

Adding to the confirmation that anyone can walk into a classroom at MIT. There isn't any security.

(Rokali is still a douchebag though.)

handweaver/MIT alum said...

OK, I am an MIT alum. This story of his fucking pisses me off NO END. Seriously. I mean, c'mon. (Though the literature classes I took as part of my HUM-D were damn good. But still. Stupid.) I would love to meet him someday just to call him on this ridiculous story.

But, yes, security is lax, at least it was when I was there in the dark ages (the late 80s). OTOH, literature classes are *small*. A prof would notice if you weren't registered either as a student or an auditor.

Beadie said...

An aspiring classics professor who flunked out of high school, huh? It appears he didn't bother to even get a GED. I wonder what NYU's standards are. But I digress. Rokali is sounding more and more like a pathological liar every day.