In a world filled with corporate-speak and euphemisms, former Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson was having none of it when describing the circumstances of his departure from the online marketplace in 2017.
In a blog post last week, Dickerson wrote about a new book by Jerry Colonna, a CEO coach he worked with for 6 years beginning in 2011 when he took the helm of Etsy. He explains that chapter 2 of the book, called "Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up," starts off with a story about Dickerson's ouster:
"Chapter 2, "The Crucible and the Warrior," leads off with the story of Jerry and me sitting on the rooftop at Etsy after I knew I had been fired** but hadn't yet told the company. Lots of things got written about me and Etsy through that period - some true, some shaped to better fit the corporate narrative that was needed at the moment - but what Jerry writes in Chapter 2 of his book is the most real and true thing ever written about me."
The asterisks lead to a footnote in the blog post
where Dickerson wrote:
"The fact that I publicly said I had gotten fired versus some "decided to pursue other opportunities" corporate bullshit is largely due to the sense of truth I gained from working with Jerry. Life is full of pain - lean into it. If you got fired, speak the truth. It always catches up to you anyway."
It's not news that the board ousted Dickerson; at the time, he was quoted in the Etsy press release that the Board had "decided that it was time for new leadership to take Etsy forward and I support that decision," but it's somewhat unusual to hear an executive use the F word ("fired").
There's a lot for sellers to like or dislike about Dickerson's time at the company, depending on their perspective - his biggest legacy: under his leadership, Etsy loosened its definition of handmade.
Dickerson was replaced by Josh Silverman, a former eBay executive who some sellers believe has made the site too commodity-oriented. For example, Silverman has focused on fast and free shipping, which is a strain on many sellers of vintage and handmade goods. One little-mentioned accomplishment: Silverman has been able thusfar to fend off any activist investors that might come looking for prey, as eBay has been experiencing.
It's always interesting to hear what sellers say about marketplace CEOs, from eBay's Meg Whitman, John Donahoe, and Devin Wenig, to Etsy CEOs, and how sellers' opinions may change after CEO departures.