Three years ago (almost to the day), I wrote a blog post titled Transitions that talked about transitions going on at our portfolio company Etsy. At the time, Etsy's founder Rob Kalin was handing over the CEO job to Maria Thomas, Chad Dickerson was coming in to run engineering, and founders Chris, Haim, and Jared were leaving the company to do other things.
And now, three years later, the actors in this transition story continue to evolve their roles. Chad—whose leadership in engineering has turned Etsy into the premier web technology company to work for in NYC—is taking the lead role as CEO from Rob, who is once again transitioning out of the day-to-day management.
Being a founder of a highly successful company is thrilling but also a somewhat harrowing role. As the company scales, things change. Nothing happens as fast as it did when you first built the product. A minor feature rollout takes longer than it took to build the entire website. Nobody cares as much as you do about the sign on the door, the company employee directory, the brand, the copy on a marketing document, the place the checkbox is on the page, etc., etc. And yet, when there are hundreds of employees, you have to rely on all of them to do all of these things. It's a struggle for every founder I have ever worked with. And Rob is so very much that founder who cares intensely. He has given so much to the company over the years and he just completed a product roadmap that provides a guidepost for what Etsy will become in the coming years. As Rob transitions out once again, I want to personally thank him for all of this and more. Etsy is his creation and will always be.
Transitions are never easy on the people involved and the company that goes through them. But they are inevitable in any company's evolution. Some of them work out well and others not as much. But the role of the management and Board is to constantly try to have the right people in the right roles at the right time. And I think we've got that at Etsy now and I'm excited to see Chad step up to the top job and lead the company forward.