Sunday, December 28, 2008

Etsy wants to know...

What making a living means to you

Seriously? This is Kalin's new job, asking stupid questions?!

Making a living...hmmm...that would be MAKING A FUCKING LIVING. Survival, dumbasses. Not living in your parents' basement or eating ramen every day while tripping over the storage crates of crafts and Etsy receipts in your 100 sq ft closet with no heat you call an apartment.

What we all have jobs make a pay the have a roof over our take care of our kids.

And he even answers the question himself:

I'd like to know what "making a living" means to you. It could be anything from having a roof over your head, to having health insurance. Or it could mean working your own hours doing what you love, while having a family and teaching.

Ummm...doing what you love is NOT making a living. You can't survive on 'doing what you love' alone.

Will someone on Gold Street do us a favor and smack Rob upside the head?


muhahahaha said...

What the fuck they trying to take the focus off now?

What bullshit site fix that's going to fuck everything up is in the batter's box?

Crafty Wino said...

"stupid is as stupid does"

Why not ask something to related to handmade or what you would like to do in 2009 to your shop?!?

Never a dull moment~

eclipse said...

Rokali says:
"I spent a year in art school after pretty much flunking out of high school."

Well there's a role model for you kids.

That thread is kind of making my head explode. So many people say you aren't "making a living" unless you love what you're doing. Have these people ever traveled anywhere in the world? Have they ever read a newspaper? 90% of the world does not have the indulgent luxury of picking and choosing their job for "self fulfillment" or creative stimulation. Most human beings consider themselves lucky if they can eat that day. Making a living is about LIVING. Survival and security. They do what they have to do, and if they are lucky enough to also enjoy it that is a BONUS.

bastet2329 said...

UGH! as soon as I saw it, I hoped you all did too.

How dumb is he really? said...

I saw that. Between his stupid question and a few of the replies I just shook my head and left the website.

messfest said...

It must be so nice to have your own built in R&D group called the Etsy forums where you can bounce ideas and receive feedback from broke/struggling sellers (who give your website up to $7M dollars A MONTH worth of fees, renewal fees, final value fees, etc) to start your NEXT multimillion dollar website venture!

Reading that thread has convinced me that sellers need to go make their own Etsy-type websites. That's how you make a living, like Rokali does.

lessa said...

I was going to explode reading the first page of entries and most were philosophical bull about making money not important as long as you are happy and giving back to the world at large.

When you have a couple kids, a house and car payments, money is important as the bank isn't going to take a knit cowl as payment.

I only got a few more into it and Rob comes back and you can tell he prefers the answers that follow the, who cares if you are not actually covering your bills as long as you are happy camp!

Money is not evil folks, it is necessary. It's the 'LOVE' of money that is the root of all evil.


Anonymous said...

I love how this post is holding the term "circle jerk" as one of the tags.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like Rob is looking for advice from REAL artist/crafter sellers on how to get his other, off-Etsy business off the ground.

What a dick.

buddy said...

Rokali says:
"now I'm back to focusing on that original challenge: the big leap from selling some things I've made to making a living from it.

I am building a website to meet this challenge, and an important first step is understanding what it means to you to make a living."


1) Wasn't Etsy supposed to be the website for people to make a living making things?

2) Do you REALLY not know what it means to make a living? Or are you just trying to get your sellers to wax philosophical so you can align your marketing to exploit their emotions to wrench more of their hard-earned pennies away from them.

3) If you're thinking of starting up a website to teach sellers how to bring their business to a level of sustainability, how on earth do you imagine that a high school dropout is qualified to do this?

Rokali again:
"The ABC's of running a small business are NOT taught in anywhere that I know of. Business schools are antique and almost irrelevant to what I want to do."

The ABS's are taught in Business schools - clearly NOT places that you know of.

How do you know they are antique and irrelevant if you've never stepped foot in one?

Rokali as Teacher: Fraudulent FAIL.

The Funny One said...

Shows how Etsy has morphed into a theme-formula-approved sellers-under $15 site where all their oft-promoted stores have lined up in the Etsy queue, primed to do as Etsy prescribed. A veritable disneyland of throw-awables. And with this limited formula, the set-in-stone distance between Etsy (the self-professed place to "buy all things handmade" and self-proclaimed leader of the pack) and its sellers.

Disconnected from the real life of artisans is Etsy's greatest achievement, and they're making a lot of money off of trends they claim to have started (for $15 and under).

2009? It will be just another year of limited capabilities at Etsy, with no support services for sellers. Same old same old.

But sellers will get nothing for a lising fee plus sales commission, plus nothing else folks, as long as you price your "handmade" goods like a Dollar Store, fit the next Etsy-trend and get rewarded with thousands of dollars of free promotion from ----- Etsy!

Round and round they go.

stupidhipsters said...

"The ABC's of running a small business are NOT taught in anywhere that I know of. Business schools are antique and almost irrelevant to what I want to do."

Riiight, Rokali. All those people with MBA's? pssshh! What do they know that you don't know?


Bonnie (aka Hello Crafty) said...

To me, what a lot of those posters are describing is *barely* making a living. If you only have enough to pay your bills with nothing left over, then you are basically just getting by.

Of course, making a living when I was 21 was different than when I was 29 and vastly different now that I'm almost 40. Now, I want enough money to pay all my bills, save a big chunk of it and STILL have some left over for the occasional dinner out, movies, being generous with our family & friends, and buying earrings from Etsy!

The Righteous One said...

eclipse, I thought your response in the thread was right on.

My head was spinning from some of the responses in that thread. No wonder Etsy is able to satiate the masses with frosting, many of them are just stupid and have no real-world knowledge.

oh and I apologize for the quote format errors, I'm going to fix that - I posted and ran (bad righteous)

The Righteous One said...

Rokali says on page 8 of that thread that the sellers he works with were crunching their shop numbers (finally :p) "It's really tough to make this work!"

NO SHIT!!!!! What the fuck have sellers been saying on YOUR forums for three years you stupid dumbass.

I am so sick of a bratty, self-righteous little prick who thinks he knows how the world works telling other people how the world works.

And then ta-da it dawns on him, as if noone ever pointed it out before.

He asks a duh economic question that is answered all over the internet and print papers, and then ruminates on the sentimentality and has everyone fawning over the consideration of loving what you do.


Rob's New Venture... said...

He's talking about, right?

Andy Mathis said...

I'm so glad that Etsy invented handmade. and handcrafted. and the internet. and high moral standards and business ethics. Aren't you?
What would we all be doing with our time, otherwise?

maybe he wants to set up shop to sell his furniture? or just sell the wood as a supply? or firewood?

Maria has to be away for the weekend. Has to be.
I keep saying she needs to take that router with her so the kiddies don't get hold of it when she's gone.

Angry and Angrier said...

OMG, I cannot believe he posted that. Business schools are not antiquated. And if he can't find out that the SBA will teach you about running a small business, he's a sorry sack of shit.

you_can't_make_this_stuff_up said...

Good grief - what's tomorrow night's question? If the solar system has an end, then what's on the other side? What's this guy smoking??

This is one of the zillion reasons I'm excited about Artfire. The guy starting up this site has an MBA, he knows how to run a business, and he learned it at one of those antiquated schools.


ebbandflo said...

there is no way i would accept any 'business advice' that this wunnerful parachutes site will churn out - i simply don't trust this man's judgement or opinions as anything other than immature babble.
what's more incredible is that he doesn't seem to have learned anything from his tenure as the head of ETSYFAIL

there is a time to be hopelessly headstrong and youthful, and then there is the time to consolidate from all the mistakes you've made

foxaz said...

Acouple things:

1. Eclipse had the only sensible response in the thread.

2. I'm surprised no one mentioned his upcoming trip to Switzerland for that conference. I think this thread is a last-minute-cram for whatever words of wisdom he imparts there. As always, getting others to do his homework.

Am I right?

hahaha said...


I love so much to read Rokali's self-important musings and the visionary statements that come from his radical worldview.

Thank God there are people like Rob out there to save us from ourselves. I'd feel so unenlightened otherwise.

Old Hippie Bitch said...

Silver-gwyn said:

What a dick.

That sums it up perfectly.

Christina said...

I think I had a pretty sensible response and so did some others.

I'll comment about the thread later after I've had some sleep.

Eveline said...

There are a lot of people who reply saying that to them, it's living the life they always wanted, doing what they love, etc. etc. Uhh, no. Making a living is not the same as making your life worth living.

stonerrob said...

What a douche nozzle.

too old for Etsy said...

(forgive me if this repeats, I'm not sure it took the first time)
If rokali had actually ever been educated, he would have come across the concept of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs.
It's a pyramid, and self-actualization is on the top AFTER YOU TAKE CARE OF SURVIVAL, ASSHOLE!

penny for your thoughts, jerk said...

hey asshole!

Are we getting tags or folder to organize our favorites?
Why don't you close one of your asinine threads before starting another one.

Here's a better topic for the OP:
"what does 'rokali' mean to you?"

Now THAT is a topic I'd waste time reading.

PaintedBull said...

It is absolutely amazing to me just how much Bullshit Etsy "Admin" can pump out.

I saw that thread post when Rokali started it. Exactly what was he trying to accomplish with that thread?

And...shouldn't that post be in the Promotion or Etc. section on the forms? Rokali is asking for "ideas" for another website he is starting? Gee, another admin breaking their own rules...

That thread he posted is disgusting.

-JJ & PaintedBull

PaintedBull said...

PaintedBull says:

Opps, I see it is in Etc. Was it moved? because I thought it was originally in the Ideas section?

eclipse said...

I also LOVE how Rob thinks he has experienced hardship because he had to work at a Marshalls with a bunch of *gasp* 40 year old women!! Oh, the humanity!

Dude, go work in a fucking coal mine, or a farm, or a factory in China. Then come back and whine about how horrible it was at Marshalls.

life-during-wartime said...

So Rob's post as usual is stupider than sh*t. What gets me is how his groupies just eat it up anyway, and immediately start homing in on his rump, virtual tongues out. OMFG!!! Making a living isn't about providing for yourself and your family? HINT: It's not about providing free unicorn poop soap cupcakes for all the trustafarians in the Etsy community.

The Righteous One said...

paintedbull, no you're right, it was in either Ideas or Business Topics originally. They definitely moved it.

Combustion Glassworks said...

Im still pissed that he mentioned what he did about the sellers... Friends or not it reeks of the too much information that was given out about The Black Apple on Martha.. talking out place, saying shit you have no right.

Shit that would OTHERWISE get the thread locked.

jodie nicholson said...

"The ABC's of running a small business are NOT taught in anywhere that I know of. Business schools are antique and almost irrelevant to what I want to do."
Interesting....because I managed to study Small Business Management, which provided plenty of valuable tools to prepare me for running my business, including:
- writing a detailed business plan
- how to conduct a survey of potential and current cutomers
- how to use your business strengths & weaknesses to your full advantage
- budgeting
- general book keeping
- promotinal tools

I even have a certificate on my wall to prove that I really took the course.....

PaintedBull said...

Thanks Righteous, I thought I was going wacko...I knew it had been moved, because I saw when he actually first posted it. Thanks again!

- JJ & PaintedBull

Hee Haw said...

Words fail me.

Well, the term "Jagoff" comes to mind.

Gracie said...

He should have sold it all to Martha when he had the chance. That would have a been a "good thing"

etsy = biggest joke ever said...

I can't believe I read all 33 pages of that thread. And I just can't get past the OP. All I keep thinking is "Those who can, do. Those who can't, teach."

Adore said...

Seriously? This is such b.s.

Asking what you consider making a living to be is such an obvious question, I really can't understand why in the world anyone would be daft enough to post it in the forums. Even more amazing are the many responses saying that it's "Such a thoughtful question!" Are you fucking kidding me? Making a living is not living in a cardboard box. Making a living is not thinking every minute about money. Making a living is being able to sleep without worry hanging over your head. It's not reading the headlines about the economy and thinking, "What if my spouse were to be laid off, what would we do? How would we feed our family?"

If making a living is doing what you love, well, I'm making a super living. I LOVE what I do, and I love selling on Etsy but I don't make a living at it. I bring in maybe, 600-800 dollars a month and if anyone thinks that is making a living, they must be living with their parents or sleeping on a friend's sofa for free.

My husband allows me to make the "living" that I do on Etsy. He is the one that pays the rent and buys the food. All I do is pay the bills and deal with my own expenses...and that, is not making a living. That's having someone support my ass and still barely make it by.

forum rubbernecker said...

I admit I did post in that thread because it never hurts to be nice to the dude at the top (well, if it's Rokali, not like Hitler or something). But my first thought when I saw it was Nero fiddling while Rome burned. There were a bunch of wild threads going last night with no admin in sight. Has Rokali EVER visited Site Help? Ideas? I am so frustrated these days by admin being in the fora but NOT helping. At. All.
Today's big chuckle-- Vanessa said "Oh, admin does not consider a treasury for Front Page consideration if you have put your own item in it"
Right, of course not. Unless you are you know who. In which case it is fine, I guess.

foxaz said...

there's another thread he just started, in Etc- apparently we aren't being clear enough.Or helpful enough. (Gotta get that speech written...)

No Business School For You said...

Seeing that the person who started Etsy is a high school drop out who has no regard for further education, at all (Oh, it's not for a 1-5 person company... is he for real???) just shows how Etsy got where they are when it comes to business sense.

Rob... you need to think about what happens after 1-5 becomes 100-500. You also need to think about the fact that you are trying to start a site to teach people how to RUN A BUSINESS! Ummm... yeah, all the questions you're asking in the forums... they can be answered in business school (undergrad even, no MBA required).

Anonymous said...

Looks like Rob-O-The-Clown has served up another shit smörgåsbord with this thread here...

topshelftotes said...

I am pretty sure that I'm done with Etsy... I just left a response to the NEW thread that Rob started... he is so offensive, I don't even have a strong enough word.

I'm solely on Art Fire at this point, and have put my Etsy shop into vacation mode.

With these two threads he has proven to me what I feared was true. Etsy is not a company that understands business. Instead they write stupid Dorque articles that aren't even true most of the time and think that QYDJ is a reality for most. I'd rather they stop all articles hire some more developers and give sellers things that BUSINESSES need (yeah Rob, if you went to school maybe you would know the basic needs of a business).

Etsy... this may be it for me, honestly. You have no respect for your customers.

so done with etsy by now said...

Dear Etsy,

I just quit my day job!!

Guess what I plan to do now? Get another day job!! Why? Because I don't have any friends in Brooklyn who can give me a piece of a $27 million pie without having any real qualifications, experience or business education. In order for me to make a living, I need to eat something besides shit sandwiches.

etsy = biggest joke ever said...

Topshelftotes, I almost peed my pants reading your post in that second failtastic thread Rob started. EXCELLENT! Call it like you see it!

If the guy has just spent 4 years building a business from the ground up, WTF is he asking us all this for? There are some basic common denominators in any business. Why the need for all the details, the exceptions? Just what the heck is he going to be doing with Parachutes that he needs all this.

I think Rob must be developing a new model for running a small business, because truly, you can get so much valuable information already. Or maybe he just thinks he's developing a new model. Typical Etsy error...reinvent the wheel...with less features and lower quality than is readily available elsewhere.

I hope I'm wrong. Good luck Rob.

too bloody to headdesk said...

He must be the luckiest man alive or just be able to suck cock like nobody else to get where he is today.

He doesn't get it.... said...

He has come a long way in 3.5 years. Still clueless

Anonymous said...

too bloody to headdesk said...

He must be the luckiest man alive or just be able to suck cock like nobody else to get where he is today.

er, you think he's doing the spit or the swallow?

buddy said...

My DH said an interesting thing today.

I was commenting to him about this asinine anti-business-education-new-age-shoot-from-the-hip-entrepreneur bullshit, and he said:

"Yeah, but those guys aren't calling the shots. Etsy's got deep pockets in their venture capitalists, and the higher unemployment goes, the better Etsy does capturing new business."

Lucky for me I have such a brilliant and successful DH, and wholesale orders so I can drop Etsy with ease.

I just hope they go public. You can make a lot of money exploiting desperate people during desperate times.

topshelftotes said...

etsy = biggest joke ever, glad I gave you a good laugh!

Did you see Rob's response to the thread... I had to laugh, otherwise I would have cried at how unbelievably out of touch he is.

Doesn't want to pay $120K for school... well, as we all pointed out in that thread, Rob... you don't need to get an MBA, but there are business classes out there that would help.

One thought... UCLA Extensions Business program... $15K, great program. Other Universities in the US offer programs like this and have proven very successful.

The guy isn't even resourceful... how can he run a non-profit?

topshelftotes said...

I responded to Rob... I couldn't let him get away with his bullshit... I actually responded twice because he kept going deeper into a bad analogy about pianos from the 1700's. Seriously, WTF?

eclipse said...

It was very sad to see sarawearsskirts/girlscantell reply to that "what is making a living" thread. Since in 3 more days she won't be making a living and utterly useless Danielle still has a job.

Autonomous Artisans said...

I nominate you for the butterfly award! I love this blog!

Etsy's the new Ebay said...

I don't know what to make of Etsy anymore. The "quit your day job" series is very misleading to me and reminds me of the Avon and Mary Kay recruitment flyers that I used to receive.

Personally I think all of this attention to us seller's, all of a sudden, has a lot to do with the newer venues popping up and giving them competition.

All Wired Up TOO said...

What I find amazing in these two threads are the demands that Rokali fix or finish what he has started in forums for years..the reality is this: He can't! Rokali is no longer CEO of etsy...When he (or investors of the shot in the arm $27 Million)put Maria in the position of CEO ..he then has some FLUFF title, CCO (Chief Creative Officer??? WTF is THAT?)
I believe he is looking for the easy way out and have others do his homework for him...Either for the Switzerland Composium or

buddy said...

Rokali defines it better here:

"To clarify, I'm trying to build a framework here. This framework will facilitate the creation and collation of helpful content. It will connect people with other people, with ideas, and with other resources (from grants to workspaces for rent)."

So it appears the dropout wants to create an online quasi business school and resource center for artists and crafters.

You have to give him some credit for having the insight for ways to exploit people's needs for profit.

Instead of taking the thousands of posts begging for seller support resources in the Etsy infrastructure and using them to develop site improvements, it appears he's seen an opportunity to create another site to get crafters to buy those support resources separately.

In terms of the Etsy profit model, it's pretty good.

What completely sucks is that Etsy and have the audacity to present themselves as businesses that support artists and artisan crafters, when they are actually in the business of squeezing every nickel they can out of them.

It's shameful for your business model to be designed to extract profits from the demographic least able to afford it.

Instead of focusing on bringing in quality buyers to maximize sales, selling prices, and transaction fees, they are focused on creating & maintaining ways to extract listing and subscription fees from the desperate little guys.

Etsy is insidiously anti-artist.

topshelftotes said...

hahahaha... Rob closed the thread because it 'veered off topic'... i.e. We all pointed out the obvious and didn't help the kid with his homework.

Rob... grow up and get some sense. You're a damn fool for thinking you could come in there and insult 80% of the Etsy population (educated, hard working, business savy people) and then get help from them.

How about this Rob... go read your OWN forums that is chalk full of 3.5 years of great feedback about what is needed in a business.

sick to death said...

He may not be CEO, but he can close threads in the forums whenever he wants. What else can he do?

sillygirl said...

My observation of the craft world that Etsy has created is that everyone needs to be "the same"
Cookie cutter crafter.
We all have different lives and circumstances. Do we really need Etsy to tell us how to run out businesses?
I've seen the "comminity" at Etsy at each others throats on a daily basis either to get in good with admin. or get on the front page.

Or they are are fighting with eachother about stupid things like if people are "green" enough, that people are sending too many promos, business cards, or too many peanuts in a package.... Like there is no life outside of Etsy's tiny walls.

This is not the craft community that I knew and loved 10 years ago. That community is tucked away, doing their own thing, with no need for lists or sites designed to make craft into some kind of "factory".

It's a sad state for craft these days and Etsy is the reason why.

PaintedBull said...

Perhaps Rob is making a "How to Start a Small Business Resource for Hipsters" Site.

Honestly, it is really disgusting.

If empanadas are the new cupcakes, then Rob's Parachute whatever is the new hipster doofus MBA.

Ironic that pilots use a parachute to save their life from a crashing plane. Does that mean that
Common Sense Business Practice = Airplane...
Rob and the wonder world of etsy hipsternomics = Parachute?


my2cents said...

If Rob or anyone on the Etsy staff was concerned about small businesses owners & their needs to be educated ...

they could have taken all the time, energy & resources SQUANDERED on the storque and used it to accomplish something worthwhile a long time ago.

They already had the platform, the audience, the obvious need in front of them.

-Instead, I suppose it was easier to get non-writers to write about fluff.

-Instead they paid Bre money to make dangerous hammocks (insert any of the other many examples of wasteful, worthlessness here).

-Instead, he wasted THOUSANDS of hours of concerned sellers' time by asking for input on the forums and then did NOTHING with that feedback.
(Yes, I think it's shameful that people spent their valuable time lobbying for changes that probably were never even read by Admin.)

Rokali, what makes you think you can put together a worthwhile when you couldn't grasp the fundamentals of customer service or show genuine concern for your customers when they were begging for basic tools on the original site?

Fat chance I'll be visiting if it's anything like your vanity project The Storque.

The Dangerous Mezzo said...

I wish Rob was safely back in the 1700s making pianos, sometimes.

Maybe Switzerland will keep him?

hyperlyrical said...

Kalin had a woodship in his bedroom?

This strange factoid raises the eternal question, Is that a tiny, wee, redwood sliver or are you just happy to see me?

Top Shelf Totes said...

Did anyone see Rob's most recent comment? Rob... if you're not good at certain things, you surround yourself with those that are. I hope you've learned this. Also, you don't insult those who may be good at what you aren't... as they probably won't want to work for you.

Oh, also... your position sounds like the position given to every other failing founder... I've seen it so many times I can't count all of them on just two hands.

Yep... mission statement:

Give Rob something to do so he doesn't bug us too much. Does the name Jerry Yang ring a bell? The only unfortunate thing there is that Yahoo! brought him back... let's hope that Etsy learns from others.

sigh said...

omg, i can't even read his posts without wanting to vomit about his pseudo-intellectual bullshit. he sounds like a raging idiot and not the person i want business advice from.

Ladies Auxilliary said...

Rokali seems to have confused revolution with re-inventing the wheel. I wish he'd spend a little more time at the drawing board and actually initiate conversations about these very topics in a more informed and intelligent way because if he was doing that it WOULD be conversation for artists is always a good thing.

I also wanted to put in a "second that" about a previous poster who pointed out that people at different life stages are going to define making a living differently. I am a person whose financial obligations are pretty minimal, so I am able to meet my needs doing what I do...but I realize that's not the case for everyone, and presenting Etsy as THE way for EVERYONE to cut the cord on day jobs is certainly not realistic.