The Etsy Way

Posted by on February 13, 2012

As you might imagine, we at Etsy get a lot of “can I pick your brain?” requests about how we do things at Etsy, or what we’ll call here The Etsy Way. While we take these requests as huge compliments to the work we do, we have to be somewhat protective of the team’s time. We’re proud of what we’ve been doing and believe in sharing it, so we’ve invested hundreds (if not thousands) of hours into providing public information on this blog and elsewhere. This is the best way to scale our sharing as broadly as possible. (And we’ll still meet with some people — we’ll just ask that you read everything below first since we’ve worked so hard on it!) Consider this post that first friendly conversation over coffee.

The most important component of The Etsy Way is culture and that is as difficult to teach as it is important. To get a sense of how we think about culture, take a look at Optimizing for Developer Happiness, which includes a 24-minute video of a talk I did and a link to the accompanying slides.

Here are a few more links about culture:

With the culture bits explained, below are a few other key posts in the Etsy canon. All of these are inter-related with the culture, of course, and help reinforce it (remember it’s all about culture. Did someone say “culture”?):

Quantum of Deployment (Erik Kastner). We deployed code to production more than 10,000 times in 2011. If you wonder “how did they do that?” this post will tell you all you need to know.

Track every release (Mike Brittain). Here, we write about the methods we use to track the success of every code deploy with application metrics. This is part of the not-so-secret sauce.

Measure Anything, Measure Everything (Ian Malpass). We introduce you to StatsD, the open source software we built at Etsy to enable obsessive tracking of application metrics and just about anything else in your environment. The best part is you can download StatsD yourself and try it out.

Divide and Concur (Noah Sussman and Laura Beth Denker). By reading this post, you’ll learn about all the inner workings of our automated testing setup: what software we use (with plenty of links), how we set it up, and the philosophy behind it all.

We also have tons of slides from talks we have done, all available in the Code as Craft group on Slideshare.

And last but not least, we have an Etsy Github repository with lots of goodies.

Pretty much everything we write about above is open source (even the culture) so the motivated reader will find links to tips and actual software along the way to actually set things up on his/her own. If there’s anything you’d like to know more about The Etsy Way, just let us know in the comments. We’ll add it if we have it, and probably write it if we don’t.

As you can tell, a really important part of The Etsy Way is encouraging people on the team to contribute to open source, write informative and entertaining blog posts, and put together killer presentations. If you want to join the fun, we’re always hiring.

Posted by on February 13, 2012
Category: philosophy

2 Comments

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