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Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Says Keep Commerce Human


Etsy logoEtsy CEO Josh Silverman announced a new mission and impact strategy as he digs into his role of growing the do-good B Corp to satisfy Wall Street. While focused on monetizing the site, Silverman wrote in a blog post on Wednesday, “In a world of increasing automation and commoditization, creativity cannot be automated and human connection cannot be commoditized.” He said the company’s new mission to “keep commerce human” reflects that ethos and speaks to what makes the marketplace special.

Wednesday’s announcement follows:

Today, Etsy is proud to unveil our new mission, an ambitious impact strategy, and plans to hold ourselves accountable. All of these components illustrate our commitment to using the power of our business as a force for good in the world.

When I first arrived in May of this year, I asked a fundamental question: “What is Etsy’s role in the world?” While I received many responses, all of them could be boiled down to a simple, yet powerful idea: to “Keep Commerce Human.”

In a world of increasing automation and commoditization, creativity cannot be automated and human connection cannot be commoditized. Our new mission to “keep commerce human,” reflects this ethos. It is uniquely Etsy and it speaks to what makes our marketplace so special. It stays true to our roots while representing what we want to do in the future. It is narrow enough to guide day-to-day decisions, yet broad enough to inspire long-term thinking. It will inform everything we do as a company, from product roadmaps to customer interactions. Above all, it will require us to keep people at the center of everything we do.

Our impact strategy and goals

Our mission gives us clarity and purpose, but it doesn’t describe the specific ways that we intend to make positive change in the world. Just as we’ve narrowed and focused our business priorities over the past few months, so too have we brought greater clarity and focus to our impact strategy.

Today, we’re announcing three broad goals to drive positive economic, social, and ecological impact, alongside key initiatives that will help us reach these objectives. These areas are not new to Etsy, but the overall strategy is more focused and the KPIs establish a goal against which we can measure our progress.

We were very intentional in how we developed this strategy and corresponding goals. Each component reflects the impact we want to have on our community and our world while also advancing and complementing our business strategy that we announced in August. For example, helping sellers earn more sales directly correlates to growth in our marketplace. Similarly, there’s a wealth of business research showing the positive relationship between diversity and innovation and we believe that fostering a more diverse workforce will drive ideation to propel our business forward. And reducing a company’s carbon footprint can lead to lower operational costs. At Etsy, our business drives our positive impact and our impact initiatives drive our business – it’s a virtuous circle.

We are exploring ways to make our goals part of our company-wide planning; we want everyone at Etsy to feel that they have skin in the game when it comes to advancing our impact strategy.

We also remain committed to rigorous external reporting and disclosure. In that vein, today we are releasing our 2016 Progress Report.* The report highlights some of the key projects from last year, includes updated stats on our diversity metrics, and tracks our environmental impact.

In closing, our impact strategy complements our business goals, brings greater focus to our organization, and will support our work to deliver meaningful value to all of our stakeholders. We can’t wait to share updates on the exciting work we are doing.

* 2017 has been an extraordinary year for Etsy, one in which we’ve undergone a number of organizational changes to position ourselves for future growth and success. As a result, we are releasing our annual Progress Report later than usual. We plan to release our 2017 Progress Report by the end of the first half of 2018.

SOURCE: Etsy Announcement

Update 10/20/17: A reader pointed out this discussion taking place on the Etsy boards about the new mission statement.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.

6 thoughts on “Etsy CEO Josh Silverman Says Keep Commerce Human”

  1. Im sorry, can you repeat all that in easy simple plain english………Seriously, none of this makes sense to MY bottom dollar.
    We thought Chad Dickerson was bad, at least we made Sales. I am not the only one losing sales. I am an established shop, been here since 2012 and have grown my business every year, until all theses changes, now I can hardly make ends meet. You continue to change things, “for the better”, better for who, not us sellers? Read all the complaints on the forums!
    My sales are at their worst and NO ONE at Etsy is doing a thing about it. I know it is nothing I am doing wrong, I have dedicated many hours over the course of a month reconfigurating and tweeking my shop, with NO results. My sales are down over 90% in October compared to last October., $4.303.00 in Oct 2016 – $650.00 so far this month.
    So as you as so proud of all the things you have accomplished at Etsy so far, and so concerned with what Wall Street thinks and your Echo Friendly environment. Im sitting at home working my tale off daily, worried sick about how Im going to pay my monthly bills and as a single parent, pay for my sons college books and expenses.
    Most of us are all small home run business, for many of us, this is our only income. I cant understand why Etsy cant see this. We small companies put Etsy where they are today. Without all of our hard work and sales to make Etsy where they are today, Etsy would not be worrying about what Wall Street thinks, you wouldn’t be there.
    WE NEED TO BE SEEN ON GOGGLE, Put some of your ECHO Friendly Budget Money Back Into ADVERTISING OUR SHOPS AGAIN!!!!!!!

  2. Etsy CEO Josh Silverman has said: ”creativity cannot be automated and human connection cannot be commoditized.” AND he said the company’s new mission to “keep commerce human” reflects that ethos and speaks to what makes the marketplace special.”

    WHAT? I thought he was the CEO of Etsy, but what he said isn’t what Etsy does AT ALL. Yeah, just one more ironic (moronic?) announcement by a CEO of a company, on a frightening path, to do everything BUT, what his announcement claims.

    ► Economic Impact: I can PERSONALLY attest to the WRONG, unfair treatment, by Etsy management, which runs COMPLETELY, diametrically opposed to their TOS, Mod Enforcement, Stated policies & goals, and now this new Mission statement. I see nothing that indicates they will be changing the way you have treated honest sellers, in the past.
    ► Social Impact: This mission is just plain SICK. Amongst all your multisyllabic words, I see nothing that indicates that Etsy will take ANY measures AT ALL, to see that the Phony, Fake, Illegally marked items on your site, are not made by slave and child labor, let alone any intention to keep them from your “Handmade” site in the first place. Imagine that, Queen Etsy, purveyor of cheap imported junk, with a social mission…… At the expense of little kids,poor workers, and true Handmade Sellers here.
    ► Ecological Impact: Here’s an easy, TRUTHFUL, Green way to become an Honest purveyor of goods: Sell Handmade, and Vintage goods made here in the United States, and DUMP the $0.40 trinkets, that sell by the 1,000’s, daily on Etsy. For Cripes Sakes, just pick a sterling silver charm with a “saying” on it, and do an image search on Ali. Etsy alone will eventually be responsible for some sort of legislation, due to the incredible amount of fake metals, and coins on the site. CONTAINER loads of fakes from Asia have an ENORMOUS “Ecological Impact”. Need a lesson? Think, Man!

    Nice Job to you and your Speechwriter Josh. This pile should fool Wall Street for a YEAR!

  3. If Silverman is genuine, he’ll IMMEDIATELY revert “corporate flavored” stats back to pre take-over-from-Chad, because right now, they are irrelevant and useless to small and micro businesses. We used the old stats format to accurately predict materials usage for future orders. Worked like a charm.
    Turning a deaf ear to this will kill Etsy.
    Etsy is directly responsible for killing off over 12% of my business as compared to this time last year.
    If Etsy can’t generate a winning campaign on BOTH CHANNELS, then they should “tie it in a knot and hang it in the closet”, as my Wall Street friend would say.
    I could generate a Great campaign, just need a descent budget for it.
    Chances are, precious advertising dollars are being siphoned off to Wall Street, CUT OFF WALL STREET.
    Get off the stock market. DELIST.
    Let’s get serious and complete the mission.
    What IS the mission ?
    To serve up fabulous American made products, by ingenious / talented artists having businesses of all sizes. To be known as the “go to” place for kool, modern and vintage items.
    What do you say Silverman? Are you Genuine ?

  4. lmicardi – we are all grown ups here right? Just as soon as we knew that Etsy was going public – didn’t you see the writing on the wall? Their just a corporation now. Their sole purpose for existence is to put money into the pockets of the CEO and his higher up lackey’s. It’s a simple matter. Truly. How many times to we have to learn that lesson over and over again? The sellers are nothing to them. We are the dispensible worker bees that they believe there is an endless supply of. It is a machine now. And it’s hungry. Look what has happened to Facebook. They didn’t care who they were selling their space to – it didn’t matter – the machine was hungry. Look at ebay – the machine was hungry. And human contact – how the hell are they going to accomplish that? Every CEO knows their time is limited – they have to abstract as much cash as they can before they hit the road and move onto the next victim. BTW – just how much money do they need to retire and never come back?

  5. Dear YourKiddingRight ;
    Yes, there is a concerted effort on the part of The American Corporate to wedge themselves between us and the money. A few law suits for a few billion per corporate takeover of our “revenue stream” are in order.
    Evil. Raw Evil. The force behind this is emanating from one source.
    The goal is to remove ALL independent revenue streams from the populace and make us slaves.
    Don’t believe me ?
    Study the history of American business.

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