Was it something we said?
The Brooklyn-based internet flea market with an identity complex has finally decided once and for all what it wants to be, and the answer is apparently "Profitable."
The Company also announced that the Etsy Board of Directors has appointed Josh Silverman, a director on the Board since November 2016, as CEO, effective May 3, 2017. Josh succeeds Chad Dickerson, who will step down as CEO and Chair of the Board of Directors. Chad will serve in an advisory role to the Company through May 31, 2017. Fred Wilson, who joined the Etsy Board in June 2007 and has served as lead independent director since October 2014, will succeed Chad as Chair of the Board.
We've been unrelentingly shitty to Etsy, but even we feel compelled to acknowledge that Chad Dickerson's hand-woven portrait should be hung in the halls of Etsy's corporate offices. The guy took what was a handmade wooden computer monitor company, turned it into an e-commerce unicorn in Brooklyn and then took the damn thing public. That is a commendable feat and Dickerson deserves a shit-ton of credit.
That said, Dickerson and his team were always hampered by a compulsion to make Etsy a "good" company. Being ethically and globally responsible usually eats into profits and that's all well and good if you're running Amazon or Apple or Google, but it's not so great when you aren't accustomed to turning a profit. As we talked about this morning, Etsy has shareholders now and shareholders don't really want to talk about third world development funds while their share price is getting brutally hammered.
We always thought that Etsy would eventually have to shift gears in order to appease the people brave enough to hold its stock, but even we are nothing short of fucking gobsmacked by what the board has decided to do here.
Josh Silverman is a professional tech CEO, meaning that he should be expected to treat Etsy like a business without much care to how "good" everyone thinks it is. And Fred Wilson is the platonic ideal of New York City VCs; a no-bullshit value hawk who isn't afraid to curse into a live microphone or unsubtly hint that he thinks Travis Kalanick is a...let's go with "wimp." Putting these two in charge of Etsy going forward is a leadership pivot so extreme that it could break a few necks (or at least 80 jobs according to the release).
Etsy was always going to have to put on its big boy pants, but watching it put on a whole pinstripe Brioni suit and get lean is almost too much to bear.