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Code as Craft

Why We Relaunched Code as Craft main image

Why We Relaunched Code as Craft

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A few weeks ago, we relaunched our engineering blog, Code as Craft, and I want to share the story of why we did that. If you’re new to Code as Craft, here’s a quick before and after:

In the very first Code as Craft post, written about twelve years ago, former Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson wrote:

“At Etsy, our mission is to enable people to make a living making things. The engineers who make Etsy make our living making something we love: software. We think of our code as craft – hence the name of the blog.”

I was still a college student when the blog was first published. In the sea of tech companies that I would be applying to for internships, “Code as Craft” made Etsy stand out. I had loved how wonderful and weird the marketplace was, and that same spirit seemed to be celebrated in the engineering culture. I didn’t get the Etsy internship at the time, but I kept following the company and came to work here years later.

About a year ago, looking at Code as Craft with my colleague and friend Erica Greene, we noticed that our blog – which at one point felt innovative, enticing, and unique – didn’t really feel fresh or aspirational to us anymore. Opening the site felt like stepping back into those college days, and I recalled the anxiety of preparing to enter a workforce that mostly didn’t look like me. Only about 12% of my graduating computer science class identified as women, a situation mirrored in the branding of many major tech companies at the time. Engineering blogs – including Code as Craft, whose look was unchanged since its creation – tended to be committed to abstraction and devoid of personality, catering to a version of the tech world unwilling to see diversity or honor its member’s lived experiences.

Now, at Etsy, 36% of our US-based software engineering team are women and marginalized genders, well above industry benchmarks. We’re a company that’s diverse in gender, culture, engineering experience, and much more, supporting a similarly vibrant community of buyers and sellers. Erica and I thought it was time for the public face of our engineering work to convey that fact, and our pride in it.

It might seem shallow, or beside the point, to dwell on the look and feel of an engineering blog. But the notion that engineering should somehow be beyond such concerns – especially at a company like Etsy – is exactly the problem that we're trying to solve. At its core, Etsy is a marketplace, one that brings people together around a shared delight in making things (as Chad Dickerson pointed out in that quote a dozen years ago). We’re rebranding with the intention of amplifying and supporting that central truth. The prior version of Code as Craft might never have hosted an article such as this one. But we want this blog to feel as accessible to bootcamp graduates as it does to PhDs in data science. We have a team of brilliant engineers who are connected to the world around them, and who can express that connection in ways that are thoughtful and open, that spark conversation, and keep it human. We want our writers and our readers alike to see themselves represented here.

We’ve heard from many people that Code as Craft is one of the reasons they aspired to join Etsy. For me, our team’s ability to recognize areas for growth and support changes such as this one are reasons why I stay here. We hope this is a platform where our employees, all of them, will be proud to share their work with you. We hope it will capture the full breadth of content that we’re capable of. Thank you for reading our blog.

Thank you to Etsy leadership, specifically Mike Fisher and Megan Oppenheimer, for readily sponsoring this initiative. My extreme gratitude goes out to Marissa Colantonio-Ray, Leah Schatz, Morgan McCrory, and Renee MacDonald for working on the project. Last but not least, this was made possible by my partner in many crimes, Erica Greene.