Friday, July 22, 2011

Don't let the door hit you on the ass Kalin!

Rob Kalin, affectionately known as "Bozo Dick" around the EB homesteads, is out. And quite suddenly so it seems. Within a week it looks like.



Chad Dickerson, (whose name is ripe for even more prone to our possible mockery if he's not careful with the arrogant tone in his announcement...) is in as CEO as of yesterday. What is perhaps more interesting is that no where is it mentioned that Kalin is staying on staff, or what position he might have with Etsy in the future, I think... and this might be hopeful dream larking on my part, that he's simply out (but with a nice severance package I'm sure to keep him quiet.)

This I think both shows how essential Dickerson's become at Etsy (possibly as the only actual adult on staff, and also maybe being at least reponsible enough to shove into the corner office for a while to babysit the toddlers in an emergency). I also think it shows that Kalin has perhaps been on thin ice far longer than even we suspected in a year of growing scathing news stories of seller's dissatisfaction?

Sellers have been angrier than ever. Sales keep declining, defections are more common than even evictions as sellers get more and more fed up with being ignored. Etsy keeps on not listening, not responding to criticism or worse replying in nonsequitors that if anything serve as mockery, offering things no one has wanted still ignoring things that sellers have been asking for for going on a decade.

Up until now it's been Kalin's little fiefdom run by himself and his protected inner circle of hipster trolls who seem to not only be untouchable, but unpublishable.Have the investors been actually paying attention and simply couldn't look the away anymore and overlook his aloof bizarreness (like pulling hunting knives on business reporters) anymore? Or did, as I prefer to think, Kalin just stopped showing up for work? God knows his heart hasn't seemed to be in it for 5 years, so why bother having the rest of him show up when you can stay at home and build guitars from IKEA doors and read greek poetry so obscure even Jack Keroauc would roll his eyes.

To me this sudden shift shows the IPO is coming, and initial reports were not as rosy as investors wanted it to be, and Kalin simply had gotten to frustration level with the investors that made him expendable to save their asses.

Will this be enough to save Etsy? Is it enough to make you hold out a little longer?

20 Comments:

sark said...

Anyone kind of read this (I mean the etsy blog article announcing the change) and snicker?

I don't know any of these people... and unless they're involved in like kiddie porn or something else illegal - I should probably know nothing about them. But my first thought upon reading that Chad Dickerson was the new CEO was simply that Rob Kalin will be back eventually. Owls, cowls, mustaches, embossed garden forks, octopuses, wire wrapped jewelry - it's all cyclical, oh, and I'm cynical.

It would be nice to be so busy with orders that I would be oblivious to this stuff. But then, I took a day off this week, and when I came back the first thing I noticed was that I had a Christmas banner in my shop because my current banner was obliterated in some technical glitch - on the ONE day I was out of town.

*head desk*
So, were the permamutes part of Kalin's severance package? As well as the accidental shop closures and the technical glitches? Did he just scoop up a big handful of code on the way out whilst wielding that knife at anyone who dared to stop him?
; )

Mika said...

I got booted from Etsy when they took a buyers side who OBVIOUSLY screwed me over and wanted to continue to do so. I'm hoping that this change will actually make Etsy stand up and realize that the sellers are worth more than a pile of dog shit (but what if it's artfully arranged dog shit? Could it make the front page then?), and sellers deserve protection from bad buyers just as much as buyers deserve protection from bad sellers.

watchingfrom the sidelines said...

All good questions, EB. There is no one happier than me that Kalin is gone but I think the future of etsy is still up in the air.

I'm not sure anyone at etsy really gets it. Handmade is not some formula (we tell you what to make and what month to make it in) So many true artists have left the site.

I'd say Kain was true to his "crash and burn words", only it was he, and not the site. Can Chad resurrect it? I don't know.

Get rid of the damn circles, the taste taste, things you might like, Sean11, and make the site an ecommerce site with a search that works.

Whatever you think of Maria, she was headed in that direction. It's why she hired Chad in the first place.

Oh the irony. Perhaps had Fred Wilson not propped the red headed knife boy up for so long, etsy wouldn't be in the current downward spiral.

IPO, I don't think so. Etsy is so not ready for prime time.

Combustion Glassworks said...

Ive been around long enough to remember thinking shit would change under Maria.

Color me jaded.

The Funny One said...

Was Chad too busy picking inane travel snaps (& taking 4 paras to explain them, huh? who cares?) to tell his precious engineers to get off their asses and make a list of all the coding that caused several meltdowns?

Is this baffoon and the other 199 so arrogant that they can't be bothered to send an email to all Etsy sellers to tell them what happened? Dodgy banners are only the tip of the iceberg.

Etsy can't take 2 minutes to notify it's sellers? Pay listing fees not to sell, to not get notifications, and to wade through another self-involved "new CEO" statement full of nothing about nothing? (Oh, but more than we ever wanted to or ever needed to know about Chad!)

You bet your mustaches the numbers are tanking at Etsy.

Champagne all around Etsydom, NO SELLERS INVITED!

april said...

have you guys been paying attention to what is happening on af? it's really messed up.

Diona said...

This is all well and good, but I doubt it will amount to substantial change. Etsy will never be what it once was. (I want to hope I'm wrong...)

doin the happy dance said...

Well, first of all, thank God that little red headed twit is gone. I hope he's gone FOR-EVAH.

Now, on the other hand, can't say I have confidence in Chad. He's never been a part of the community or even pretended to be. When he does post something, it always seems a bit arrogant and aloof to me. And, we all know, many on his tech staff are arrogant and snarky. He's been at Etsy for 3 years and hasn't really accomplished anything he said he was going to. And, once again does this guy have any ecommerce/business experience or is he just a tech guy? I'll hold my judgement for a little while longer.

Can Etsy be saved? Hmmm. Depends on how you view saving Etsy. Is it the same as the investors? Is handmade even still involved? If they don't start spending good money on essentials, I just don't know.

Chantelle said...

I don't know if this change will mean that things will get better but at least they will be different. I have a sense that Chad is the grown-up there and that Kalin was the out-of-control toddler who happened to run the place.

I hope that Chad will bring structure and will listen to the sellers. And that Kalin is gone for good.

for the hell of it said...

Auction Bytes has covered the loss of kalin, ...

IN BLOG FORM! Comment ops, WHEEEEEE

http://blog.auctionbytes.com/cgi-bin/blog/blog.pl?/pl/2011/7/1311297956.html

Violets new Vintage said...

The announcement didn't say one word about what RK would be doing now that he is out...Why?

Handmade Artists' Forum said...

Oh well this is par for the course over there. I've been reading other blogs about this as well and the people who drink the cool aid over there are talking about the light at the end of the tunnel. Well there is still a train there in my ex-etsian opinion. Thanks for keepin us up to date though. Etsy Bitch is my one stop knowledge center! :D
Thanks,
Andrew
http://handmadeartistsshop.com

for the hell of it said...

And Fred Wilson's write up:

http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/07/transitions-continued.html

Funny thing, though, he didn't tweet THIS ONE.

for the hell of it said...

@watching from the sidelines,

Wilson is still attempting to prop up his little protogee.

http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/07/transitions-continued.html

It does though, seem to be more than a few, Etsians responding to this particular blog post.

AND the redheaded rat has tweeted some sort of cryptic dribble in Greek.

AND, ... it is still necessary for all of us to scour the web for clues about a company that has no qualms about accepting our money.

No public apology, just more dirt under a bulging rug.

Improvements? I don't see it happening, not when a company is run by people as anatomicly complete as a GI Joe doll.

Michael Payton said...

Well, after seeing what this bunch of jerks were like, I never believed things would change under Maria. The people who thought things were going to change when Kaopectate came back made me want to vomit, lots. Maria wasn't bad, she just wasn't good. Not good enough to beat off the dysfunctional culture they had when she came on board.

The problems with Etsy are deep, deep. Kalin is such a negative, maladjusted person, and he hired people like himself. This formed Etsy's toxic company culture of arrogance, myopia, and hate for customers. There are a lot of older employees who need to be shown the door.

Anyone catch that business analyst report on Etsy from earlier this month? Betcha the board did:
http://www.auctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y11/m07/i08/s01

Yep, for all of their constant autofellatio and patting of their own backs, in contrast to what is believed by all the breathless idiots on the Storque every "weather report", Etsy is growing more slowly than retail in general. That's not the sign of a healthy business, and that's not the sign of a successful 'handmade movement'.

Etsy's a sham, and they've done a lot of damage to artists. This needs to end.

eclipse said...

Did you happen to see Kalin's "poor little me" tweet today, before he took it down?
It was the source of much lulz and merriment in the shire. I happen to have ye olde screenshot, in case you missed it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/eclipse_etc/5973696966/in/photostream

The Funny One said...

THANK YOU Michael Payton!

In the incestuous world of the back-patting tech/biz press there simply is no one with the balls to rip under the "Weather Reports" to analyze these puffed up sales numbers.

Pity any CEO who is confined to the "Kalin roadmap" and saddled with all those petty paid Kalin-picked people with completely miserable attitudes.

Jamy said...

Wow..Chad Dickerson? I remember when he first joined Etsy as just another lowly tech geek. Very interesting,,,

for the hell of it. said...

Chad has done a new Storque foray into Etsy proper PR.

http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/chads-update/#comment

If you read down, you will see that they've begun an "Internal Happiness Team", and yet, as a permamute, I was unable to post a comment.

Call me silly, but, ... shouldn't the unhappy sellers b the ones offering the advise?

beth said...

Stuff is still fucked up on Etsy, and Admin are not listening. The Front Page is filled with shit, the new search titles are going more in the direction of Ebay. I'm sick of this shit. I love my customers, but goddammit, enough is enough!! I get (maybe) one sale day. In comparison to last year, at this time, Things have tanked.

Chat was removed, without any explanation whatsoever. I don't buy anything that is said in the announcements anymore. It is all. Horseshit. Honestly. Tey have made it difficult enough for well established shops (like mine) to continue to thrive because, I sincerely believe customers can't find anything they need. When you change a selling website every GD day, what do you expect? And all of these changes re so pointless. It's like, Admins are scuffling around trying to find things to do. Not to better the shite, but just to DO something.

Can there really be any cupcakes anymore? Really? Because if so, they HAVE to be pissed. Their number one person to asskiss is gone, Rokali. Oh Noes!!! You have to suffer, just like the rest of us, and actually try to market yourself, which, truth be told, I'm sick of doing. The ONLY way people find me, is via tumblr, stumbleupon, or lately, pintrest. I find that there is no reason to head over to Facebook.

They violate their own TOS, they don't care about their sellers, and some of the biggest ones, have fled to bigger and better places. I have actually considered selling from my own domain now. I can't handle the idiotic morons that copy me, the idiotic morons that run the place, and the idiotic morons that do NOT help out customers at all. It's absurd.

I think I'll wait around until September, when sales are "supposed" to pick up. We'll see. I'm just needing a little validation. My views are so down, that it makes me wonder. Really makes me wonder.