As the replacement for a company founder, Chad Dickerson had to win the trust of his team. Here he talks about translating tactics into action.
Be Transparent About Change
“Nine months in as CTO, I’d made about 15 personnel changes on a team of 20. People were demanding answers: Why are you doing this? I said, ‘I’m doing it for the good of the company and the community. Six months from now, if the company is worse for it, I’m a jerk. But if six months from now the company is better for it, you’ll know I did it for the right reasons.’ I took a lot of risk, told people I was taking the risk, but told them it was going to get better.”
Find Time for the Future
“By the summer of 2009, we were losing our minds; the site was blowing up every day. I started a small group of the best engineers, and I called it the Breakfast Club. I said, ‘I know you don’t like to get up early, but I want you to come here for breakfast three days a week, and we’re going to talk about the future only, nothing about what’s going on. We’re going to build the Etsy future.’ ”
Do Whatever’s Necessary
“One year, right before the kickoff for holiday shopping, we discovered we needed a new server. We literally needed it the next day, so I pulled out my Amex and ordered the server. It was delivered to a FedEx center in Moonachie, New Jersey. I ran out of the office in Brooklyn and drove to Moonachie. I pulled the car up into the loading dock at our data center and carried it over to the guys who would install it.”