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Scaling startupsChad Dickerson, CTO / chad@etsy.com / @chaddickerson
What do we mean by being       “at scale”?
The past 15 months were amajor growth period for Etsy
> 1 billion page views / month
$300+ million in sales in 2010$41.1 million in December alone
> $1000 / minute
8.5 million items in the marketplace
400,000+ active sellers
Business in over 150 countries
engineering team grew     ~4x in 2010   (about 60 now)
success means growth
servers
people
legacy code and systems
But you want to stay a startup!
What makes a startup a startup?
moving fast
high impact per person
risk-taking
default: “yes, we can”
When startups become “successful”
they slow down
harder for individuals to have high impact
they become risk-averse
more: “maybe we can do that”
We didn’t want to be that way.
You shouldn’t either.
Here’s how we scaled
real, tangible mechanismsin place to stay a startup as we grew.
We’re growing but we still   act like a startup!           Really??!!
(Don’t talk. Do!)
Commit to frequent deploys,and the tooling to support it.
(Kellan, Erik, and Mike will      talk about this)
Deploys shouldn’t be like this:
OMG! HOLD ONTOYOUR HATS! WE’RE  DEPLOYING!!!!
. . . but more like this:
http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/02/continuous-deployment.html
(we deployed 721 times in November)
Question process at every turn.
Clay Shirky
“Process is an embedded reaction       to prior stupidity.”
Once you add a process, it never goes away.
Bad process is about fear.
For startups:“fear is the biggest no-no”         - Brad Feld   http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2010/05/fear-is-a-nono.html
Practice: do blameless post-mortems.    Do blameless post-mortems.
Freaking out doesn’tPractice: do blameless post-mortems.      create helpful processes.
Peter Drucker
Drucker’s Five Deadly Business Sins (1993)
#5: “feeding problems and starving opportunities”
“All one can get by ‘problem-solving’ isdamage-containment. Only opportunities       produce results and growth.”
Fight processes that feed problemsPractice: do blameless post-mortems.       and starve opportunities.
Adjust your thinking about risk.
Peter Drucker  again. . . .
“People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”
“People who do take risks generallymake about two big mistakes a year.”
You make more mistakes when you’re tentative.
we had 6 change-related incidents      on Etsy in all of 2010
Again, 721 deploys in one month.
And we deployed a major feature on December 1
(4th biggest traffic day in our history)
Hire for immediate impact.
New engineers deploy on first day.
. . . . before they’ve filled outtheir health insurance paperwork
developers / unique deployers                                                             Devs          Deployers 70      ...
Those who deploy early. . . .
. . . . also deploy often.
deploys800                                                                   721                                          ...
Kellan will go into the how and the why!
Photo credits•   http://www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/4787141853/•   http://www.flickr.com/photos/yomanimus/102798907/•...
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Scaling startups

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My talk at Etsy's SXSW Microconference, "Moving Fast at Scale."

http://codeascraft.etsy.com/2011/03/01/moving-fast-at-scale-sxsw/

For companion talks (this was one of four), see http://codeascraft.etsy.com/2011/03/19/moving-fast-at-scale-slides-and-reprise/

Published in: Technology
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Scaling startups

  1. Scaling startupsChad Dickerson, CTO / chad@etsy.com / @chaddickerson
  2. What do we mean by being “at scale”?
  3. The past 15 months were amajor growth period for Etsy
  4. > 1 billion page views / month
  5. $300+ million in sales in 2010$41.1 million in December alone
  6. > $1000 / minute
  7. 8.5 million items in the marketplace
  8. 400,000+ active sellers
  9. Business in over 150 countries
  10. engineering team grew ~4x in 2010 (about 60 now)
  11. success means growth
  12. servers
  13. people
  14. legacy code and systems
  15. But you want to stay a startup!
  16. What makes a startup a startup?
  17. moving fast
  18. high impact per person
  19. risk-taking
  20. default: “yes, we can”
  21. When startups become “successful”
  22. they slow down
  23. harder for individuals to have high impact
  24. they become risk-averse
  25. more: “maybe we can do that”
  26. We didn’t want to be that way.
  27. You shouldn’t either.
  28. Here’s how we scaled
  29. real, tangible mechanismsin place to stay a startup as we grew.
  30. We’re growing but we still act like a startup! Really??!!
  31. (Don’t talk. Do!)
  32. Commit to frequent deploys,and the tooling to support it.
  33. (Kellan, Erik, and Mike will talk about this)
  34. Deploys shouldn’t be like this:
  35. OMG! HOLD ONTOYOUR HATS! WE’RE DEPLOYING!!!!
  36. . . . but more like this:
  37. http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2011/02/continuous-deployment.html
  38. (we deployed 721 times in November)
  39. Question process at every turn.
  40. Clay Shirky
  41. “Process is an embedded reaction to prior stupidity.”
  42. Once you add a process, it never goes away.
  43. Bad process is about fear.
  44. For startups:“fear is the biggest no-no” - Brad Feld http://www.avc.com/a_vc/2010/05/fear-is-a-nono.html
  45. Practice: do blameless post-mortems. Do blameless post-mortems.
  46. Freaking out doesn’tPractice: do blameless post-mortems. create helpful processes.
  47. Peter Drucker
  48. Drucker’s Five Deadly Business Sins (1993)
  49. #5: “feeding problems and starving opportunities”
  50. “All one can get by ‘problem-solving’ isdamage-containment. Only opportunities produce results and growth.”
  51. Fight processes that feed problemsPractice: do blameless post-mortems. and starve opportunities.
  52. Adjust your thinking about risk.
  53. Peter Drucker again. . . .
  54. “People who don’t take risks generally make about two big mistakes a year.”
  55. “People who do take risks generallymake about two big mistakes a year.”
  56. You make more mistakes when you’re tentative.
  57. we had 6 change-related incidents on Etsy in all of 2010
  58. Again, 721 deploys in one month.
  59. And we deployed a major feature on December 1
  60. (4th biggest traffic day in our history)
  61. Hire for immediate impact.
  62. New engineers deploy on first day.
  63. . . . . before they’ve filled outtheir health insurance paperwork
  64. developers / unique deployers Devs Deployers 70 62 PMs and Support started 57 58 54 55 deploying here52.5 50 49 47 42 35 35 32 30 26 26 23 22 2017.5 15 15 10 7 8 0 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
  65. Those who deploy early. . . .
  66. . . . . also deploy often.
  67. deploys800 721 682 589600400 359 184 177200 126 125 61 50 33 0 Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov
  68. Kellan will go into the how and the why!
  69. Photo credits• http://www.flickr.com/photos/28634332@N05/4787141853/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/yomanimus/102798907/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/sercasey/514212348/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/dorlino/2135206018/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/jayscratch/4993673517/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/cozymemories/4313895482/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/allspaw/5436215259/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/divine_harvester/2119060429/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/mark_wilson/279145377/• http://www.flickr.com/photos/neilsphotoalbum/727616574/• Other photos licensed from iStockphoto

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