IAF Celebrity: Rob Kalin (Etsy Brand Culture)
Etsy and its gifted founder Rob Kalin is an interesting story of intrinsic motivation and social DNA. One that the IAF (Intuitive Alignment and Fulfillment) gift can learn from--especially when it comes to the Brand Culture of Intimate Ecosystems.
Etsy is a peer-to-peer (P2P) e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and supplies, as well as unique factory-manufactured items. Etsy has over 54 million members and went public on April 16, 2015. The company's valuation was $1.8 billion and raised $237 million in IPO proceeds.
Etsy was founded by Rob Kalin who is an IAF. The IAF's core competence and Brand Culture is Intimate Ecosystems which, in this case, was imprinted upon Etsy.
IAFs are very well known for gravitating to people on the economical, social and emotional fringes. This is because of their empathy and compassion. While the IAF is well known by many, they prefer to operate in smaller inner circles where it is all about intimacy and relational depth versus wide a social network (like the EIA). This is why Etsy has been successful. As Kalin puts it:
"We want to allow the makers of the world to claim authorship for what they're making, This is what Etsy stands for: The little guy being able to organize a better marketplace."
Intimate Ecosystems Empowering Other Ecosystems
A marketplace is an ecosystem. The IAF is able to create an intimate ecosystem that empowers other ecosystems. In this case, the Etsy ecosystem empowers the ecosystems of all its crafters in a very intimate way. This is why Etsy has so many features for the handmade entrepreneur. Kalin, as an IAF, was actually known for providing almost too many features during Etsy's development. This is because the IAf is intrinsically motivated to take care of every minute detail to ensure their intimate ecosystem aligns and fulfills their customers. Kalin is truly passionate about the makers of the world.
Kalin himself is seeking personal fulfillment. For the IAF success is not enough. They need to feel fulfilled according to a vision in their hearts. This is why they tend to be very involved in that vision. Kalin continues:
"I'm a hands-on guy, I need to be building things to feel like I'm making a meaningful contribution, and I didn't want to sit around as some kind of wall decoration-slash-mascot for culture."
Kalin also once told his team after a stint away and returning as CEO:
"I'm here to restore a sense of wonder, a sense of poetry, and a sense of foolishness to Etsy."
This is classic IAF. All of this comes from the heart which is why the other MDNA gifts are drawn to work with an IAF.
Kalin is no longer the CEO of Etsy as he was reportedly fired. While we don't like to be presumptious, we do believe, based upon public information, that the IAF in Kalin was unable to make the shift necessary to meet the demands of being a public company. It is very common, when a company goes public, that a CVS or DLF leader at the top is needed. It's not that the IAF cannot be a CEO. It is just that not every IAF is willing to move past their emotions and sensitivities into the often harsh realities of scaling execution and generating ROI that shareholders want to see. This is not an indictment on the IAF. Nor is it impossible for an IAF to lead (Steve Jobs anyone?). This is imply an observation we have made over many years of working with the IAF and Intimate Ecosystems Brand Culture. In fact all the other gifts, UCD, SSA, KWR and EIA, also need serious help (including getting over themselves) when a business grows to a certain size.
Yet the social DNA of Etsy carries on. Current CEO Chad Dickerson gets it. Here is how he describes the ethos (the heart of what we call Brand Culture) of Etsy after spending time with Etsy crafters.
"Etsy is a platform that provides meaning to people, and an opportunity to validate their art, their craft.... all commerce is about real human interaction. At the end of every transaction, you get something real from a real person. There is an existential satisfaction to that."
Please note that these are unofficial profiles only and have not been verified. Description is only based upon public information and may represent either primary or secondary MDNA profiles. This profile is intended for educational purposes only to demonstrate the possibilities of MDNA for those that have been personally assessed.