DIY

Etsy's Response To Our Most Recent Episode

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Etsy's senior manager of public relations, Nikki Summer, sent the following email in response to our latest episode. I'm posting it here in the interest of transparency.

Hi Julie,

Thanks for sharing the link. And thanks for including us in the discussion of these topics, which we take seriously and try to approach as thoughtfully as we can here at Etsy. We’re eager to engage with our community on these and other issues. I did want to clarify a few points:

Starting at 5:30, you introduce the topic of how Etsy “weeds out the bad actors,” including those who violate Etsy policies and those who violate IP laws. Heather then goes on to discuss how Etsy does that with our engineers, community-generated flags, etc., referring to items that are flagged for violating Etsy policies, not for violating IP. As I mentioned to you in my follow-up email to you after the interview, Etsy cannot remove items for IP infringement until and unless we receive a proper takedown notice from the IP rights holder. From 5:30 to 7:10 in the segment, the issues of removing items for violating Etsy policies and for IP reasons are conflated, which is confusing and misleading to listeners.

It’s important to acknowledge, as you did, that IP as a whole is “squishy,” but it would have been helpful to your listeners to refer to the stats from our transparency report, or at the least mention the transparency report.

We’ve heard, and continue to hear, from our sellers about our policies allowing sellers to work with outside manufacturers. We know it is a sensitive issue for many, and we’re so grateful to have such a passionate, invested community. For many sellers, working with an outside manufacturing partner has allowed them to grow, expand and diversify their businesses in a way they couldn’t have done before. The Rendered segment, however, features none of those voices.

It’s also worth noting that as of June 30, we have approved 4700 sellers (out of 1.5 million total active sellers) to work with outside manufacturers.

When discussing the fact that Etsy reviews outside manufacturing applications, that would have been a terrific opportunity to mention that we have a whole team, the Responsible Seller Growth team, made up of maker specialists who review each and every application to ensure the seller is adhering to our principles of authorship, responsibility and transparency.

As you say in the segment, our sellers are the lifeblood of Etsy, and we cannot overstate how much we value them, their perspectives and their incredibly hard work. If you’re planning to explore any of these issues further in depth and give them the breadth of discussion they deserve, we’d love to work with you.

Thanks.

Best,
Nikki

Rendered #7 Etsy Speaks

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image credit: Marc Wathieu via Flickr, Creative Commons
Show: 
Rendered
Guests: 
Heather Jassy, Senior Vice President of Members & Community at Etsy
Guests: 
Miriam Gottfried, Wall Street Journal reporter

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Back in April, we talked about the online crafty marketplace Etsy going public, how the company has changed over the past 10 years, and what all of that means to the makers who sell their goods on the site. But there was an important voice missing from that show. (I couldn't interview anyone from Etsy because the company was in the mandated “quiet period” ahead of the IPO.)

Today, we get some responses to sellers' concerns about the direction the company is taking with Heather Jassy, Senior Vice President of Members & Community at Etsy and check in with Wall Street Journal reporter Miriam Gottfried to discuss the erratic performance of Etsy's stock over the past four months. We'll also talk about the looming threat on the horizon: a handmade marketplace on Amazon.

Special thanks to Etsy sellers Abby Glassenberg and Susie Ghahremani along with former Etsy seller Grace Dobush for lending their insights to this developing story.

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Rendered #3 Etsy: DIY to IPO

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An image from Etsy's prospectus, filed with the SEC
Show: 
Rendered
Guests: 
Miriam Gottfried, Wall Street Journal reporter
Guests: 
Grace Dobush, writer, crafter, former Etsy seller
Guests: 
Abby Glassenberg, blogger, crafter, Etsy seller
Guests: 
Susie Ghahremani, illustrator, Etsy seller

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On April 16, Etsy became a publicly traded company. This episode explores what that means for makers who use the site to sell their wares, and for Etsy's reputation.

Over the past decade, Etsy has honed its image as the place to go online to buy goods directly from the people who made them — from hand-knitted sweaters and custom furniture to more bizarre items like soap in the shape of a Thanksgiving turkey and jewelry made from dentures. But the company has also waded into some thorny issues, like how to define "handmade."

Etsy's policy changes and rapid growth have alienated some sellers, like Grace Dobush, who recently decided to shut down her store after many years on the site. But others like, Abby Glassenberg, say Etsy is a valuable tool for a crafty business-owner. Susie Ghahremani has been on Etsy from the very beginning and she says she'll stick with the site, but she's also re-launching her own online store because she's unsure about where Etsy is headed in the future and what that could mean for her business.

You'll hear from all three of these sellers on this episode, along with Wall Street Journal reporter Miriam Gottfried as well as writer/performer Jason Rouse, who served as the voice of Etsy. The words you hear from Etsy in this episode came from the Etsy prospectus, filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March. (Etsy couldn't speak to me for this episode because they are in the mandated quiet period.)

You can also listen back to my 2011 interview with April Winchell about the now defunct Regretsy. And if you're wondering what April thinks about this whole IPO thing, she wrote about it for Motherboard.

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Our Name Change Is Official!

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Rendered logo

Destination DIY is now Rendered. You may have some questions. I will do my best to answer them:

What happens to my podcast feed?
The podcast feed remains the same and you may have noticed it has already updated with the new name and logo. There is no need to resubscribe.

What about the Destination DIY archives?
We are keeping all the old Destination DIY episodes here and on SoundCloud.

Why the name change?
The team and I have gotten a lot of input from people, most recently from the Maximum Fun Listener Panel, that having the letters "DIY" in the name was confusing. Though we've always believed that DIY encompasses more than just home improvement and crafts, the reality is that those are the associations most people have with those three letters, thanks to the likes of Bob Vila and Martha Stewart. Obviously, what we're doing is different from what Bob and Martha are doing and, as a result, we often found ourselves defining the show by what it is NOT. Bottom line: it became clear that having "DIY" in the title was a barrier between the show and a wider audience. (Once I realized that, it seemed crazy that I'd never actually considered changing the name. Seriously, I can't tell you how much time and energy I've spent explaining to people that DIY can apply to all kinds of things — funerals, space travel, relationships, fitness — only to be met with quizzical looks.)

Why Rendered?
We considered a LOT of ideas for the new name. Thank you to everyone who made suggestions here on the MaxFun site, on Facebook, Twitter, email, and in person. "Rendered" was the right fit because it connotes "making" without boxing us in. It's a word with a wide range of associations that have to do with creativity — cooking, film, comics, graphic design, video games, even audio editing!

Who suggested the new name?
I wish I could say that the name came from a listener suggestion. Truthfully, I added it to the list of names to consider while flipping through an issue of the Whole Earth Catalog for inspiration.

What about the Destination DIY theme song?
We will be retiring Grey Anne's beloved theme song along with the name. But you can always listen to it here if you're feeling wistful.

Is the show going in a different direction?
The ethos of the show will remain the same. We're curious about interesting and surprising stories driven by creativity and creative people. We're most interested in the kinds of projects people are doing on their own, without the help of a large institution of some kind. And even more important than the project itself is how making stuff and doing things creates meaning in the world and changes people's lives in big and small ways.

Destination DIY Detour with Nick Jaina

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photo by Michelle Christiance
Show: 
Rendered

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Musician and writer Nick Jaina's new book Get It While You Can takes an honest, humorous, and heartbreaking look at what it means to live a life committed to creative pursuits. Tune in to hear about unsent love letters, an earnest question from an inmate at Folsom Prison, and Nick's affinity for Brussels sprouts.

This is also the last episode that will carry the name "Destination DIY." There's a longer explanation below about why it's time to change the name. Tune in February 24 to the new incarnation of the show — Rendered. There's no need to re-subscribe; your podcast feed will automatically switch over.

Thanks for listening and for taking this bold, next step with us!

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Destination DIY Jan. 2015 - Conductorless Orchestra

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Poster for 42nd Parallel's summer concert series
Show: 
Rendered

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A group of musicians in Chicago is rethinking the classical music experience — for audiences, and for themselves. 42nd Parallel plays in some unusual venues — one of their first concerts was in a burlesque theater — and they make decisions democratically, without a conductor to steer them in one direction or another. This month's story comes from producer Ben Spies.

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Destination DIY Detour With The Doubleclicks

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Show: 
Rendered
Guests: 
Angela & Aubrey Webber

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Sisters Aubrey and Angela Webber are The Doubleclicks. They make music about dinosaurs, geek girl realism, Star Trek, internet trolls, burritos and many other things that will warm your nerdy, little heart.

In addition to creating beautiful harmonies for their clever lyrics, the Webber sisters also book their own shows and record a lot of their own music. They also had a massively successful Kickstarter in 2014. We talked about their recent tour, the worst thing they've ever made, and what it's like to work closely as siblings.

Here's a video for their charming song "Dimentrodon" (also the title track from their latest album):

Their song "Nothing To Prove" went viral earlier this year.

(The "Home on the Range" parody mentioned in the interview seems to be missing from the internet.)

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Destination DIY Listener Credits Mashup!

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Thanks to all our wonderful listeners who made 2014 great for Destination DIY! Here's a mashup of some of the terrific folks who did our credits throughout the year. (With apologies to the ones we couldn't fit into the mashup.)
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Destination DIY Dec. 2014 - The Meat of DIY

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Show: 
Rendered
Guests: 
Camas Davis, founder of the Portland Meat Collective

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Butchering your own meat has become, for lack of a better word, kinda trendy. But it's also a basic survival skill that dates back to the stone age. And it gets at the heart of DIY itself — taking matters into your own hands, both literally and figuratively. This episode is not for the faint of heart.

Learn more about the Portland Meat Collective and the Meat Collective Alliance. Read about them in the New York Times.

And here's Camas Davis on This American Life talking about that time some animal rights activists stole a bunch of Portland Meat Collective rabbits before a slaughter class.

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A Thanksgiving Detour with Destination DIY

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Show: 
Rendered

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Destination DIY host Julie Sabatier tells a story live on stage about that time she cooked potatoes for her Idaho in-laws. Watch the video here or catch the audio on the podcast. This story was part of the Back Fence PDX live storytelling series. The theme of the evening was "Recipe for Disaster."

Julie Sabatier at Back Fence PDX from Back Fence PDX on Vimeo.

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