Video Of The Week: Creative Communities

I was surfing around YouTube today looking for something to watch (and post) this morning. I found this video with two of my favorite people, Esther Dyson and Chad Dickerson (Etsy’s CEO). This video is more than a year old so the data in it is not current. But the lessons on scaling and managing a creative community remain as relevant today as they were when they had this conversation.


Comments (Archived):

  1. JLM

    .We need some NCAA or some cow bell. We’re starving.Hook ’em, Heels!Sorry. Totally out of line.Back to our regular programming.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

    1. JimHirshfield

      More cowbell…

    2. fredwilson

      I have North Carolina to win it all this year

      1. JLM

        .Me, too, so they’re probably jinxed. Final Four is in Houston and I’m going if they make it.That game last night was as good as anybody has ever played college basketball. Perfectly balanced.Hook ’em, Heels!JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

        1. LE

          What’s with that superstition thing that all of sports guys have going on? How can you jinx something that you are not even playing?Well then again maybe there is something to it. I care zilch if Villanova wins (located in my general SMSA) and I see now that they are in the final four. If they win I guess it proves your point (I have no superstition and you do).

          1. JLM

            . Next you’ll be telling me you don’the understand mojo, juju, lagniappe, and the schneid?I am an Ash Wednesday baby and my mother was Irish. I have a faerie looking over me. You leave a bite on your plate for your faerie.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

      2. creative group

        The old Big East and ESPN are inseparable. The made each other. 30 for 30. only support Big East and the Syracuse Orangemen (ACC).VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY handled Kansas. Bill Self doesn’t appear he will get another Championship.

  2. awaldstein

    Fan of Esther for–well–forever.So fortunate to have been befriended by some of the very early–and quite brilliant– early tech women leaders.

  3. LE

    In true “who you know” fashion [1] one of the people in the video pulled some strings for me a long time ago and did me a big favor. Without any reason to do so (meaning at the time I didn’t even know them). I was always very grateful for that. They also used to sign their emails “always make new mistakes”. That was back when it was fashionable to have quotes on your sig.[1] In addition to, of course, what you know and what you do.

    1. JimHirshfield

      “It’s not who you know. It’s who knows you.”

      1. LE

        I actually never heard of that expression! So I just looked it up and landed on an article that says, in part, this: In business unless you can make somebody money, they don’t care if you’re the son or daughter of royalty.That’s actually not correct. People who are the son or daughter of royalty (particularly business royalty or even government royalty) do have an advantage. A huge advantage. No question about that. [1] People will do deals with them because of their associations. There was a film by Jamie Johnson about rich kids (he is a rich kid himself) where he interviewed a young Ivanka Trump and she didn’t understand why people treated her nicely she said “its my parents with the money, not me”. Well it’s obvious why people treated her nice if her father was rich (this was before Apprentice).That said there is truth in that expression (and what I have read so far).[1] We could also talk about things like Newman’s salad dressing and why people buy that because it has his name, as opposed to being clearly better than any other products.

        1. JimHirshfield


        2. sigmaalgebra

          Salad dressing? You gotta be kidding!Take a fresh clove of garlic, cut it in half. Take a bowl of about 1 quart and rub the inside with the cut surface of the garlic. Discard the garlic. In the bowl, add 2 T Gray Poupon Dijon Mustard. Add 1/3 C red wine vinegar. Dribble in 1 C virgin olive oil, while whipping with a wire wisk to emulsify and combine. Add S&P to taste and maybe a little in herbs from the usual suspects, thyme, basil, etc.That’s just middle of the road, standard, classic sauce viniagrette.For a Caesar salad, or just more flavor, make a double recipe of the above except at the beginning crush an anchovie in the mustard. And take an egg, dip it into boiling water for a few seconds just to sterilize its exterior, and add its contents to the mustard and anchovie.Sorry, Paul Newman. You weren’t very good at playing straight pool, either! And you were hopeless with the young Elizabeth Taylor (WOW!). So, to heck with your salad dressing!

          1. Lawrence Brass

            “..rub the inside with the cut surface of the garlic. Discard the garlic.” – wow!

        3. PhilipSugar

          Going to disagree. Will people be nice to you?? Take meetings with you?? But will they do business with you. I.e. give you money. NO.I watch this all of the time. People from GiantCo who were buying a ton of stuff from somebody go to SmallCo and say:I have a golden rolodex!!!Anybody can buy. Not anybody can sell. Doing business means they are willing to buy from you. Here is what I have found from everyone I’ve ever hired. DId I mention I have good judgement from experience which was gained at the expense of bad judgement.

          1. Vasudev Ram

            > DId I mention I have good judgement from experience which was gained at the expense of bad judgement.Ha ha, that quote is the tops, and so true.

          2. LE

            Well perhaps you are taking me to literally (which is not to say it’s your fault for taking me literally).As you know in certain types of sales (or in dating as I like to say) getting someone to at least listen to what you have to say is the first step in potentially getting them to buy (or agree) with you. The fact that someone will generally be at least courteous to you and hear your message has tremendous value. Can’t be understated. In all types of selling? No of course not.Let’s say for example that I get solicited by tons of people all of the time. Most of them would never get through to me and if they did I would hang up on them (which is literally what I do). I am not some corporate person who has a single job which is “listen to people selling x”. I am busy wearing many hats so I am a tough nut to crack. I hate cold calls. Now let’s say I get a call from someone who is associated with royalty (or maybe even your kid when they are older). I will not buy something from them that I don’t need (what you are saying) but I will certainly listen to what they are saying. And if I do listen I possibly might buy someone that I never thought I needed or change a purchasing habit. Because they would have a chance, a chance at least to convince me against my “don’t bother me” bias. I would listen to them and think very hard about it. Harder than with a complete stranger. Does this apply to all sales? Of course not.Look when I sold my first company I never could get any work from University of Pennsylvania purchasing. The purchasing head guy literally said “you might never hear from us”. And I never did. I had nothing unique that they needed. Same as dozens knocking on their door. Guy that bought my company, well, his uncle was a big deal attorney (and one of his investors, part owner). He had connections to the Penn board. What happened? Same company he got a contract and was able to increase business. Just like that. I am thinking the Uncle knew this when he bought the company. Board member has a great deal of pull. He almost certainly had spoken to them about this and they probably knew they could get him in because they had done it before and most importantly they viewed the uncle as an important guy to please (hey same way my daughter got her internship in NYC actually an uncle of my ex wife’s husband..)Now otoh I had always thought that when I was selling back then that knowing the top guy at a place is not as good as knowing his secretary or a lower level person (at least for what I sold which was not intel chips). Reason? Top guy doesn’t know enough to answer lower level person when they say “this shit won’t work”. Doesn’t want the blood on his hands. Depends on his people to handle things and doesn’t want to overrule them.Anyway this is all nuance as I am sure we both have examples. Depends on the particular situation. (Why I hate blog posts and comments hard to address every particular case when the thought is on target or not).

  4. JimHirshfield

    Note how the “video of the week” segment is not available on a cable box.

  5. creative group

    Contributors:Garry Emmanuel ShandlingNov 29, 1949- March 24, 2016The Larry Sanders Show 92-98(Comedian Robin Williams guests stars and higher than a kite) Man 2 (2010)Captain America (2014)

  6. jason wright

    can an Etsy survive the blockchain revolution?

  7. Lawrence Brass

    00:13:20 – “If you imagine a world where in your neighbourhood there are drones flying around dropping packages, but no one is talking [to] each other in the street, we think that is a rather sad world..” – Chad Dickerson

    1. sigmaalgebra

      See my post here today outlining what is so far apparently a solution to my computer hardware problems we discussed!

      1. Lawrence Brass

        I will Dr. Sigma, once the easter bunny goes to bed.

        1. sigmaalgebra

          Happy Easter, to you and all your little fuzzy bunny Easter bunnies!Well into our marriage, my wife still liked it when her Mom sent a wicker basket with green plastic grass with Nut Cream Eggs like she had at Easter as a child. Good time at Easter, like Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, etc. — good ways to build a strong family. “Greatest prize life has to offer”. Great congrats!One of the main coveted times of adulthood — recapitulating the good memories of childhood!

          1. Lawrence Brass

            We got together at our late 40’s, both after broken marriages and a lonely period, so we value being together and care about family, specially her. I am lucky and thankful for that, and will probably get one of those baskets as every one of “our” sons, daughters and grandkids.Happy Easter to you too Sigma!

  8. sigmaalgebra

    Well, I was surfing around YouTube today looking for something to watch (and post) this morning. Gee, for some suggestions:At…isGulf War I 1991 air campaign.At…is a whole series on WWII in Europe.The battle for France:…Ike, Bradley, and Patton:…The Battle of the Bulge:…First quantum mechanics at MIT:…Eric Lander at MIT on genetics:…But, onI was surfing around YouTube today looking for something to watch (and post) this morning.for more, as we know from”Contextual Runtimes” at at…and also from…with in part7: Search and discoveryThe internet makes it possible to get anything you’ve ever heard of but also makes it impossible to have heard of everything.It allows anyone to be heard, but how do people hear of you?We started with browsing, and that didn’t scale [have the ability to grow large] to the internet, and then we moved to search, but search can only give you what you already knew you wanted.In the past, print and retail showed us what there was but also gave us a filter — now both the filter and the demand generation are gone.So, who has the traffic, and where do they send it?How do AI, or discovery, or the platforms themselves fit into this?How much curation, and where?How do you get users? with more inBenedict Evans, “Search, discovery and marketing,” June 24, 2015, at…Well, for How do AI, or discovery, or the platforms themselves fit into this? Take away the hype, and I don’t think that “AI” fits in at all.So, sure, for a solution I’ve got my 80,000 lines of typing, 18,000 programming language statements running and in, say, alpha test.The crucial, core, some applied math with theorems and proof? Yup. Some AI? Nope. AI? Gee, and to have published in that field. What an up-chuck!AI? Another horse, maybe even “faster horse,” with a costume pretending to be something like a human.Tilt!Windows kept saying “network cable unplugged”.So, the cause, a cable unplugged, a bad cable, a problem with the cable modem? Nope.So, on Windows XP Professional, learn how to login in as user with administrative capabilities and goCtrl-ESC –> C Enter –> N Enterfind the network connection that says “unplugged”, right click on it and “Disable” it then left click in it to “enable” it, and try again.Then discover that having the motherboard temperature at about 111 F helped.Then discover that on a busy Web page, Firefox could fail with an exceptional condition.Then discover that occasionally Windows could fail and have the computer restart from the BIOS onward.Then discover that the standard memory testing program MEMTEST86 could find memory errors but that just which errors changed from day to day.Install a new computer power supply?No change.Install new main memory sticks? No change.Get a new gigabit Ethernet (GbE) network interface card (NIC) for about $10 at Amazon, follow the instructions for installation, and discover:All the problems went away or nearly so. High motherboard temperature no longer helps.Amazing.So, no longer have an Ethernet cable plugged into the motherboard Ethernet port and have Windows with that port marked as “Disabled”.So, the dance stepsCtrl-ESC –> C Enter –> N Enternow show the NIC as connection 2.Hardware Lesson: A bad motherboard Ethernet chip can make a total mess, but just leaving the chip without an Ethernet cable and not “Enabled” and using a separate GbE NIC can solve all or most of those problems.So, back to the alpha test!The testing so far shows a place to tweak the user interface. Easy enough.For the core, applied math code, programmed that twice in two very different ways and confirmed that they gave the same results. From some questionable results from a degenerate case of the input, I’m thinking that I maybe want to do that a third time.Also maybe I’ll get rid of the Windows, IIS, and ASP.NET functionality for a Web site log file and just have my own, dirt simple log server communicating with just simple TCP/IP sockets, say, very much like, but simpler, than I have for my dirt simple Web site session state server.I’m thinking that at one point, maybe not now, I might stop using SQL Server and write my own code that on the new solid state disks (SSD) could yield just some fantastic multiple of faster execution time. That Samsung now sells a 14 TB SSD is astounding. Maybe.Heck I could have written my own code in much less time then I spent with just getting SQL Server installed, indeed, less time than I spent just getting a connection string that worked for SQL Server. For me, unless I actually need something significant from SQL Server, it’s much easier and faster for me just to write my own code than even to make enough sense out of the SQL Server documentation even to use SQL Server. I’m beginning to see SQL Server as a candle not worth a match.

    1. Lawrence Brass

      A bad motherboard ethernet chip! Well, you hunted it down, I can imagine the frustration of the earlier tests and the sweet moment when the bug is uncovered and solved. Nice.If you are considering building core services from scratch.. go native!

      1. sigmaalgebra

        For the Web sites session state store, I didn’t see a better alternative than just to write my own code. I didn’t want to use SQL Server — likely too much overhead. And the Windows IIS solution seemed clumsy. Sure, I could have used Redis, but likely the code I wrote was easier for me even than reading the Redis documentation.What I wrote was really simple — just a routine use of TCP/IP sockets, object instance de/serialization from/to a byte array (nice functionality to have), and two instances of a standard .NET collection class, hopefully, and from Microsoft’s big-O expressions likely, AVL trees or red-black trees.For the log file, from the Web site or any server program I write, just do something similar but easier — indeed, just start with the session state server code and cut it back! So, the standard TCP/IP socket FIFO queue handles the issue of contention.There is a problem with the Windows approach: The file I get is a mess — super tough to do anything with except use some Windows viewer. Bummer. All I’m getting from the Windows solution that I want is its ability to solve the contention problem of multiple threads of Web site execution writing to the log file at the same time, but the standard TCP/IP socket FIFO queue — and can set the queue size to what should be nicely large values — handles that just fine also. So, to use the log file from Windows, I had to write a character manipulation program to rip out a lot of goofy Windows stuff and leave just the messages I wanted to write. I used all that stuff during debugging, and it’s slow, painfully slow just in debugging and just absurd for production. Bummer. As I go live, I would have to write a faster program for the character manipulation. Bummer. The TCP/IP approach is just easier, and will also work, where the Windows IIS approach will not, for the two main server programs I have for the core data manipulations.For SQL Server, so far what I am doing with it is just dirt simple. So, just a few tables, each with just a few columns, and all just simple data types. I am making use of some keys including in one case a clustered key. But I have no foreign keys, no need to think about normal forms, no real transactions, and no joins.One use, on-line, is to record some user input data, but I can do that also with a version of a TCP/IP log file server — basically just log the darned data. Another use is cute but promises to be slow. I can keep the master copy of the data in SQL Server but for production scribble it out, maybe once each 24 hours, to just a direct access file. Having that file on a solid state disk would likely eliminate what is currently the bottleneck for performance. So, net, I’d still have SQL Server but would just not be using it on-line in production.Happy Easter!I’m not for reinventing any wheels, but what I have in mind above is one or more of easier for me, faster for me, and faster for the production software and still easy.

  9. Emeri Gent [Em]

    Three things I took away from this video are:1. Etsy’s ability to adapt and expand in creative definition. This means that they have evolved from craft and embraced the maker kingdom. This evolution transforms a conversation about the history of craft to a immersion into the history of making.2. I really like Chad Dickerson’s fluid articulation of fairness. Fairness has been lost on the user and provider side and it should not be a them and us discussion. 3.5% is very fair, as is the creator involved in the other 96.5% – when Reid Hoffman talks about blitzscaling, the one thing that should not be blitzed is fairness – because fairness is not about speed but its fractal nature and in this way it is ally of speed and not a foe, self-replicating & enhancing.3. This video introduced me to the BCorp Scorecard and on first impressions, it is a very sound idea “A Scorecard for Companies with Conscience”. That kind of statement would have been contested in the past by those who recite that companies are responsible only to their shareholders and not to their conscience. Social good is now merging with profit motive and a conscience profit motive does expand the meaning of profit, and reminds us that profit itself not a linear object but that it is measured into being – to measure it is to manage it.The interesting evolution for Chad Dickerson is how much of the Etsy craft/creative culture defines its founding values and how much it moves into the maker market, which moves from soft culture of creativity to a more hard culture of innovation.… There is a point where 3D printing is individual crafting and a point where 3D printing is hardcore engineering, which is a far different culture.[Em – 26 Mar 2016]

  10. john

    In this recent TED talk they demonstrate and talk about how hologram technology will change our lives and get us away from 2D screens that we are spending all our time in front of.

  11. Tom Labus

    Congrats to Jay Wright and all the Wildcats on your great win last win and the Final Four. Let’s go Cats.