Speaker Series

Sign up for the mailing list here!

Etsy Code as Craft events are a semi-monthly series of guest speakers who explore a technical topic or computing trend, sharing both conceptual ideas and practical advice. All talks will take place at the Etsy Labs on the 7th floor at 55 Washington Street in beautiful Brooklyn (Suite 712). Come see an awesome speaker and take a whirl in our custom photo booth. We hope to see you at an upcoming event!

Past Events

July 20, 2015: Laura Bell - The Anarchist's Guide to Application Security

We build amazing applications, wondrous contraptions that are helping people to solve problems and MAKE THINGS BETTER. We are doing this at a record pace, with new code pushed to production servers frequently and by many individual developers. And we are doing this on the Internet, an evil place filled with terrible people who want to do our beautiful code creations harm?

Oh dear, so what now?

Buy a CYBER device or six? Hire a specialist team of ex-hackers? Purchase insurance?

Lol. Let’s face it; this approach hasn’t worked for the last 20 years. Let’s stop wasting time and money and start surviving.

Based on a career working with some of the most dynamic and fast moving organizations we could find, let us show you how to throw out the security rule book and bring continuous, survival focused security to your world (no matter how big or small that world is).

About Laura Bell

Laura Bell is an application security specialist. A reformed software developer and penetration tester she has spent most of the past decade doing bad things to nice people’s code. Now she runs SafeStack, a specialist security firm that aims to help fast moving developers like you protect themselves and their creations online from people like her.

Laura has spoken at a range of events such as BlackHat, Velocity, OSCON, Kiwicon, Linux Conf AU, and Microsoft TechEd on the subjects of privacy, covert communications, agile security, and security mindset.  She tweets from time to time as @lady_nerd.

An amateur python developer, known troublemaker and occasional gamer, Laura lives in Auckland, New Zealand with her husband and daughter.

July 6, 2015: Laura Thomson - Minimum Viable Bureaucracy

Minimum Viable Bureaucracy

As your team grows and your projects become more complex, you’re going to need a certain amount of process. In this talk Laura will explain how to add enough engineering management to be effective without driving engineers crazy.

Topics include:

  • Basics of chaordic systems (or: how open source projects succeed without project management)
  • Building trust and preserving autonomy
  • Effective communication practices for IRC, email, and bugs
  • The meetings you have to have, and the ones you should avoid
  • Architecture design and problem solving in a less-structured environment
  • Minimum viable documentation
  • Goals, scheduling, and anti-estimation
  • Shipping and managing scope creep and perfectionism
  • How to lead instead of merely managing
  • Emergent process and how to iterate

About Laura Thomson

Laura Thomson is the Director of Engineering, Cloud Services Engineering and Operations at Mozilla, where she leads engineering teams responsible for the development, operations, quality assurance, and security of Mozilla web applications and cloud services. She has been in various engineering roles at Mozilla for the last seven years, and previously worked in jobs including Principal/VP at OmniTI, web developer, consultant, and computer science academic. Nagios sends her more email than her friends do, and she spends more time looking at graphs than pictures of her family. She has written several books on various Open Source technologies, and is trying to speak at fewer conferences. Laura lives with her family on a rustic horse farm in Maryland, where she relaxes by indulging in manual labor and other rural pursuits.

June 17, 2015: Brandon Williams - Proof in Functions

Proof in Functions

A programming language with a sufficiently advanced type system allows us to explore a beautiful idea that straddles the line between mathematics and computer science. The type system can be used to prove mathematical theorems. We’ll use Apple’s new language, Swift, and interactive playgrounds to explore this idea and come face-to-face with the strange fact that sometimes the compiler can write our code for us.

About Brandon Williams

Brandon Williams is a mathematician that works as an engineer at Kickstarter. He’s worked primarily on iOS for the past 3 and a half years, but also contributed to discovery and mobile for the website.

May 27, 2015: Kamelia Aryafar and Jerry Soung - Looking Through Camera Lenses: The Application of Computer Vision at Etsy

Looking through Camera Lenses: Computer Vision and its Applications in Etsy

Online retail is a visual experience – shoppers have particular styles that they find appealing; often images are used as first order information when making shopping decisions. There are a variety of signals extracted from the images representing those items for sale by shoppers. Amongst these, color composition, image features and various quality scores serve as important cues for visual search and image ranking. Often shoppers have a palette of favorite colors, or a mental image of what they’re looking for. Moreover, images can be used to extract meaningful information for security applications such as duplicate and tamper detection.

In this talk, we present a review of the state-of-the-art mathematical models for image processing including feature and signatures extraction, matching and classification for tag recommendation, search by color and duplicate detection among other applications. We introduce the applications of these technologies at Etsy and discuss our experience and challenges integrating these technologies with our existing models.

About Kamelia Aryafar

Kamelia is a data scientist at Etsy working for the past two years with machine learning models and computer vision tools to curate a personalized experience for users. Prior to Etsy, Kamelia was a Ph.D. student at Drexel University working on machine learning techniques for information retrieval from large-scale music data sets.

About Jerry Soung

Jerry is a staff engineer with Etsy’s Risk Engineering team. He has been with Etsy for more than four years. He is the primary developer behind SCRAM — Etsy’s internal tool for detecting fraud, abuse, and policy violations in the marketplace. Recently, he’s extended this tool, working closely with the Data Science team to incorporate machine learning and other advanced techniques into the SCRAM detection repertoire.

March 26, 2015: Adrienne Porter Felt - Building Smart & Opinionated Security Warnings

Building Smart & Opinionated Security Warnings

SSL is supposed to protect your e-mail, Tweets, and bank records from network
attackers. Most of the time, SSL keeps your data safe — but sometimes the SSL
connection setup fails. When this happens, your browser will warn you about the
risk and ask you what to do. These warnings are problematic because often
neither the browser nor the user knows whether the error indicates a real
attack. Chrome’s security team is tackling this problem by building smarter and
more opinionated warnings. I’ll talk about both challenges: first, how we’re
using design techniques to make our UI more convincing; and second, how we’re
combining client and crawler data to improve warning accuracy.

About Adrienne Porter Felt

Adrienne Porter Felt is a software engineer on the Chrome security team, where
she is the tech lead for Chrome usable security. In this role, she works on
improving how and when Chrome presents security information. Recently, she’s
focused on promoting the adoption of HTTPS and reducing the rate of HTTPS
misconfigurations. Previously, Adrienne was a research scientist on the Google
security research team. Adrienne received a PhD in computer science from UC
Berkeley. As a graduate student, Adrienne was a Facebook fellow and Anita Borg

December 17, 2014: Raffi Krikorian - Every Problem is a Scaling Problem

Every Problem is a Scaling Problem

When I joined Twitter, it was a 50ish person company. When I left, I had 400 people reporting to me alone globally. Developing “Twitter scale” infrastructure and slaying the fail whale is usually what most people talk about — but what about the lessons learned operating a team at scale?

About Raffi Krikorian

Raffi was, until August 2014, Twitter’s VP of Engineering in charge of the Platform, the core infrastructure of Twitter. He managed 400 people who worked on, amongst other things, the business logic, the scalable services, APIs, storage, core libraries, and the internal development model of all of Twitter.

Before Twitter he used to create technologies to help people frame their personal energy consumption against global energy production (Wattzon – Business Week’s “Best Idea” 2008), fueled his television habit through writing “TiVo Hacks” (O’Reilly, August 2003), and also ran a consulting company building off-the-wall projects. At one point, he also used to teach at NYU’s ITP (created the class Every Bit You Make) and spent way too much time as a student at MIT and the MIT Media Lab (Internet 0 – Scientific American September 2004).

October 1, 2014: Mat Marquis - The Past, Present, and Future of Responsive Images

The Past, Present, and Future of Responsive Images

The goal of a “responsive images” solution is to deliver an image ideally suited to the end user’s ever-changing context, rather than serving the largest potentially necessary image to everyone. Unfortunately, this hasn’t proven to be quite so simple in practice as it seems to be in theory. Small screens should get smaller images, sure, and large screens should get larger ones. Naturally, only high-resolution displays should qualify for high-resolution images, but what if that user has limited bandwidth available? Would the low-resolution image be preferable—and at what point? Explore the path to a standardized solution, look at some of the proposals that will be shaping our future work; and learn techniques we can use to start saving our users’ bandwidth today.

About Mat Marquis

Mat “Wilto” Marquis works at Bocoup; formerly Filament Group. Mat is technical editor and contributor at A List Apart, Chair of the Responsive Images Community Group and an editor on the W3C HTML5.1 specification.

He guesses this is all pretty cool, but he is still most proud of having finished Mega Man 2 for the NES—on “difficult”—without losing a life.

July 9, 2014: Marty Cagan - Continuous Innovation

Continuous Innovation

The role of the product organization is to consistently deliver significant new value to the business through continuous product innovation. Yet most teams don’t deliver that value. They just make minor optimizations to existing products. Or they continue to toss more features onto the pile. Further, most people that talk about innovation do so in the context of a new startup, but in existing businesses there are significant additional challenges as in order to innovate we must do our discovery work in ways that protect our brand, our revenue, our employees and our customers. In this talk I will describe the critical cultural and process changes necessary for your organization to continuously and consistently deliver the value your company and your customers need.

About Marty Cagan

Marty Cagan is the Founder of the Silicon Valley Product Group, where he works with and advises many of the leading technology teams in the world. Before founding SVPG to pursue his interests in helping others create successful products through his writing, speaking, investing and advising, Marty was most recently the original SVP of Product and Design for eBay, where he was responsible for creating and building the product and design organizations and defining the products and services for the company’s global e-commerce trading site. Marty began his career working for 10 years as a software developer at HP Labs, and then moved on to join a young Netscape Communications as their VP Platform and Tools. Marty is the author of INSPIRED: How To Create Products Customers Love, and publishes a popular blog for product teams at www.svpg.com.

April 22, 2014: Giovanni Kincade - Experiment Driven Product Redesigns

Or, How Etsy Tested 14 Versions of their Listing Page on the Road to Shipping the Largest Experimental Win in Their History.


In Giovanni’s own words, “You want to throw out all the code. You want to make a brand new thing. You will probably fail. Come hear about how we failed not once, but more than a dozen times. Come hear about why we’re doing it, again.”

About Giovanni Kincade

Gio is a product engineer on the Buyer Experience team at Etsy, focusing on the Shop and Listing Page experiences. He spent many years working on Search and Search Infrastructure, and in a prior life was a Product Manager and amateur DBA.

March 27, 2014: John Resig - Analyzing Japanese Art with Node.js and Computer Vision


Using Node.js and Computer Vision techniques John has been building tools and libraries to analyze Japanese art and art data. In this talk he will dig into the history of Japanese woodblock printing and the tools that he’s built and how they’ve been helping art historians, researchers, and collectors better understand all the data that they deal with.

About John Resig

John Resig is the Dean of Computer Science at Khan Academy and the creator of the jQuery JavaScript library. He’s also the author of the books Pro JavaScript Techniques and Secrets of the JavaScript Ninja.

John is a Visiting Researcher at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto working on the study of Ukiyo-e (Japanese Woodblock printing). He has developed a comprehensive woodblock print database and image search engine located at: Ukiyo-e.org.

February 25, 2014: Steve Klabnik - How Balanced Applies the Open Source Philosophy to How We Work


Open Source has radically changed the way that companies do software development. We used to live in a world where each company re-built everything from scratch, but openness has allowed us to collaborate on common components, reducing duplication and driving down costs. Can we apply these same lessons to other areas? Balanced thinks so. In this talk, Steve will talk about the “Open Company Initiative,” which applies similar kinds of openness to product development, pricing, and other business practices that are traditionally fully closed. He’ll also show an example of how this openness actually changed some of the code Balanced has written.

About Steve Klabnik

Steve is a prolific Open Source contributor, member of the Ruby on Rails team, and Balanced’s philosopher in residence. He’s the author of several books: “Designing Hypermedia APIs,” “Rails 4 in Action,” and “Rust for Rubyists.

December 5, 2013: Marcus Barczak and Laurie Denness - Integrating multiple CDN providers at Etsy


Join us as Marcus and Laurie reprise their highly acclaimed talk first presented at Velocity Europe.

Relying on a single content delivery network for your site can impose a number of flexibility limitations. By diversifying your CDN providers you can put the power back in your hands, allowing you to get the best of both worlds in terms of performance, reliability and cost. In this talk Marcus and Laurie will present Etsy’s recent work integrating multiple CDN providers to their site delivery infrastructure.

October 22, 2013: Derek Featherstone - The Fine Art of Accessibility


Building web sites and applications is a pursuit where we learn a great deal and can be reasonably successful in a very short period of time. But to become true masters of our craft, we investigate subtleties and nuance in an effort to perfect our work, aiming for constant improvement. We specialize in areas of performance, scalability, maintenance and more. It is part of what we do as dedicated professionals who are committed to our craft. Accessibility is one of many areas where details matter.

In this talk, Derek will guide you through a tour of design and development decisions that we make that ultimately play a significant role on the utility of an interface – more significant than we think. You’ll see examples that will help you question standard practice and convention as you see first hand the impact our decisions make.

About Derek Featherstone

Derek Featherstone is an internationally-known speaker and authority on accessibility, inclusive design, user experience and web development. He is the lead of Simply Accessible Inc., a leading firm that delivers insightful and creative accessibility consulting to Fortune 500 corporations, educational institutions, public utilities, government agencies and other private sector clients.

October 10, 2013: Cameron Moll - The Cross-Screen Experience


Oh, the elusiveness of “One Web”. And yet, increasingly users treat the web as one experience — add a product to your cart from your phone during the morning commute, and finish the transaction in the afternoon at work from your desktop computer. This discussion examines what’s required to present a consistent, delightful experience to users regardless of where the experience begins, continues, and ends. You’ll learn to avoid development mistakes committed by even the most seasoned among us, and you’ll see plenty of examples from teams big and small doing it right.

About Cameron Moll

Cameron Moll is the founder of Authentic Jobs, a targeted job board for web and creative professionals. He’s the co-author of the best-selling CSS Mastery (2006, 2009) and author of Mobile Web Design (2007), a self-published title. Cameron’s work or advice has been featured by HOW, Communication Arts, PRINT, Forrester Research, National Public Radio (NPR), and many others. One of his letterpress type posters, the most recent of which can be seen at ColosseoType.com, was the recipient of the HOW 2008 In-House Design Award. Cameron resides in Sarasota, Florida, with his wife Suzanne and four sons.

August 20, 2013: Nicholas Zakas - Scalable JavaScript Application Architecture


Building large web applications with dozens of developers is a difficult task. Organizing the engineers around a common goal is one thing, but organizing your code so that people can work efficiently is another. Many large applications suffer from growing pains after just a few months in production due to poorly designed JavaScript with unclear upgrade and extension paths.

Learn the tips, tricks, and techniques that allowed large sites such as My Yahoo! and the Yahoo! homepage to continue to grow, scale, and change over time without throwing away previous work.

This talk isn’t specific to any JavaScript library, rather, it gives you new ways to apply the libraries you’re already using. The principles of good, loosely-coupled design apply to any system, and you’ll learn how this can help your application today.

About Nicholas Zakas

Nicholas C. Zakas is a front-end engineer, author, and speaker. He currently works at Box making the web application awesome. Prior to that, he worked at Yahoo! for almost five years, where he was front-end tech lead for the Yahoo! homepage and a contributor to the YUI library. He is the author of Maintainable JavaScript (O’Reilly, 2012), Professional JavaScript for Web Developers (Wrox, 2012), High Performance JavaScript (O’Reilly, 2010), and Professional Ajax (Wrox, 2007).

Nicholas is a strong advocate for development best practices including progressive enhancement, accessibility, performance, scalability, and maintainability. He blogs regularly at http://www.nczonline.net/ and can be found on Twitter via @slicknet.

May 21, 2013: Daniel Tunkelang - Search as Communication: Lessons from a Personal Journey with


When I tell people I spent a decade studying computer science at MIT and CMU, most assume that I focused my studies in information retrieval — after all, I’ve spent most of my professional life working on search.

But that’s not how it happened. I learned about information extraction as a summer intern at IBM Research, where I worked on visual query reformulation. I learned how search engines work by building one at Endeca. It was only after I’d hacked my way through the problem for a few years that I started to catch up on the rich scholarly literature of the past few decades.

As a result, I developed a point of view about search without the benefit of academic conventional wisdom. Specifically, I came to see search not so much as a ranking problem as a communication problem.

In this talk, I’ll explain my communication-centric view of search, offering examples, general techniques, and open problems.

About Daniel Tunkelang

Daniel Tunkelang is Head of Query Understanding at LinkedIn, where he previously served as Director of Data Science. Before that, he worked at Google on local search quality. He was the Chief Scientist and part of the founding team of Endeca, a leading vendor of search applications for enterprises that Oracle acquired in 2011 for $1.1B. He has also worked at the IBM T. J. Watson Research Center and AT&T Bell Labs. He currently serves as an advisor for LoopIt, Maana, and Origami Logic.

Daniel pioneered the annual symposium on human-computer information retrieval and wrote the first book on faceted search. He was an undergraduate at MIT, double majoring in math and computer science. He completed a PhD at CMU, developing new algorithms for graph layout. He was born and bred in Brooklyn, and lived in New York City most of his life before moving from Brooklyn Heights to Mountain View in 2010 — where he’s still looking for a good bagels and a great karaoke joint.

May 14, 2013: John Allspaw - Owning Attention: Alert Design Considerations


We get alerts all of the time in this connected world we live in. As engineers, we build alerts to tell us when things are not going as expected. There’s a wealth of knowledge from many non-internet fields that we can learn from in this topic. I’ll talk about alert design from the perspective of Human Factors, and the cognitive costs of alerts: data overload and underload, numbness, and trust in automation. We’ll talk about a few hints on making progress on designing alerts to be useful, not a pain in the ass.

March 5, 2013: Brad Frost - Beyond Media Queries: An Anatomy of an Adaptive Web Design

Beyond Media Queries: An Anatomy of an Adaptive Web Design

Media queries may be responsive design’s secret sauce, but we know there’s a whole lot more that goes into crafting amazing adaptive experiences. By dissecting an example of a mobile-first responsive design, we’ll uncover the principles of adaptive design and highlight some considerations for creating contextually-aware Web experiences. We’ll go over emerging mobile Web best practices and responsive patterns that can assist in our journey toward a future-friendly Web.

About Brad Frost

Brad Frost is a front-end designer located in beautiful Pittsburgh, PA. He is the creator of This Is Responsive, a collection of patterns, resources and news to help people create great responsive web experiences. He also created Mobile Web Best Practices, a resource site that lays out considerations for creating great mobile web experiences. He curates WTF Mobile Web, a site that teaches by example what not to do when working with the mobile web. He is passionate about mobile and is constantly tweeting, writing and speaking about it.

January 16, 2013: Bruce Schneier - Trust, Security, and Society: Human Society runs on trust


Trust, Security, and Society: Human society runs on trust. We all trust millions of people, organizations, and systems every day — and we do it so easily that we barely notice. But in any system of trust, there is an alternative, parasitic, strategy that involves abusing that trust. Making sure those defectors don’t destroy the cooperative systems they’re abusing is an age-old problem, one that we’ve solved through morals and ethics, laws, and all sort of security technologies. Understanding how these all work — and fail — is essential to understanding the problems we face in today’s increasingly technological and interconnected world.

About Bruce Schneier

Bruce Schneier is an internationally renowned security technologist, called a “security guru” by The Economist. He is the author of 12 books — including his latest best-seller Liars and Outliers: Enabling the Trust Society Needs to Survive — as well as hundreds of articles and essays, and many more academic papers. His influential newsletter “Crypto-Gram,” and his blog “Schneier on Security,” are read by over 250,000 people. He has testified before Congress, is a frequent guest on television and radio, served on several government technical committees, and is regularly quoted in the press.  Schneier is the Chief Security Technology Officer of BT.

December 19, 2012: Dan McKinley - Design for Continuous Experimentation

Design for Continuous Experimentation

The design and product process must adapt to accommodate data. This is a tour through the joys and woes of product development when experimentation and measurement are center stage. It is a case for baking honesty and humility into our methods. This is a reprise of a talk originally given at the Warm Gun 2012 conference in San Francisco.