Scaling Etsy: What Went Wrong, What Went Right

You don’t become the world’s largest handmade marketplace without learning how to grow quickly. Etsy was launched in 2005 and soon had to figure out how to meet increasing demand. A novel approach was taken that gave the site some breathing room, but which—for a variety of reasons we’ll explore—ultimately resulted in an architectural dead end.

In order to survive, a course correction was made, company culture was shifted, and—thanks to battle-tested scaling strategies—Etsy’s growth is now exciting instead of ominous. Let’s look back at this turbulent period in Etsy’s architectural history and examine the cultural and technical challenges that got us to where we are today.

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