Etsy CEO Chad Dickerson On Having A System—Any System

Etsy's CEO has created an intricate system to keep everything organized and never forget details about new connections. He's even taught a class about it to his young employees. Here's what he wishes someone taught him when he was 22.

The CEO of Etsy doesn't sit in a lofty corner office, out of touch with his 500 employees across seven cities.

He takes time to find out what they need--even when they don't know it themselves. When Chad Dickerson, who's been with the online maker's marketplace since 2008, asked his employees about their workflow--what keeps them organized, productive, and on-task--many didn't have an answer. "It doesn't matter what your system is," he said. "You have to have a system."

For networking, especially, he has the system down. When Dickerson meets someone at an event, he puts their contact information in his address book with a few context notes. "Met this person in March 2007. We talk about Content Management Systems," for example. The next time he reaches out to that person, he's able to recall when they met and what they were interested in; a personal touch beyond the business card title. He's capitalizing on the connections of strangers.

"I wish, when I was 22, someone had come to me and said, 'Here's an entire system . . . here's what you do.'"

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  • i just wish that @chaddickerson would do a better job at customer service @etsy - they closed our store, and no one will talk to me about it - I find it funny that he says no one uses the phone anymore - as that is my only complaint about etsy, I get a stock email - and no one to call and really talk me - a seller for over 2 years - here I am - @bryancroft - if you care like you claim to - take the 4 minutes to call me.

  • Thank you for writing this article! It's heartening to see a CEO so involved in helping his employees improve their workflow and organizational skills. However, being organized, productive & on-task is only valuable if you are doing the right things. It's extremely important to ensure that all employees can link their day-to-day activities to the corporate strategy and goals, as I wrote about in reaction to this article:

    Joel Trammell